In one of the more left-field NRL stories on the eve of the new season, it has been reported that the referees will ditch their infamous pink jerseys, as it is believed the colour pink undermines their authority.
It’s all part of a grand scheme by the NRL to try and assert more power and influence on referees, with the switch from pink to either blue or red – dependent on the colours both teams are wearing in a game – believed to hopefully increase a more disciplined culture.
“One of the arguments about this is that a stronger colour denotes a more disciplined culture so therefore a navy blue would promote more discipline than a pink,” said Tom Heenan, a lecturer at the National Centre for Australian Studies.
And the crazy news doesn’t stop there. Lead referees will now sport a captain’s armband in a similar fashion to football, which will remind players that they are the controlling official due to a lack of clarity over who the lead official was in 2014.
“There is a team leader appointed each week, who will referee a minimum of 80 per cent of the game,” refs boss Tony Archer said. “He will be the controlling referee, he may be positioned on the ruck at different stages if the game requires him to be on the ruck and if the game requires him to be on the 10 metre position, he will be on that position.
“The lead referee will have an armband similar to a soccer captain and that is how he will be recognised as the leader. Externally some people didn’t know who the lead referee was last year but he will be recognised publicly and some clubs didn’t even realise who it was at certain games. We need to understand that and sell that.”