Rulebook overhaul on cards in new regime

RUGBY LEAGUE

The scrapping of the NRL's controversial benefit-of-the-doubt rule and significant changes to the equally contentious obstruction law are likely to be the first items on the agenda for new referees' boss Daniel Anderson.

The former coach, who led teams to two grand finals, signalled his intention to make significant changes to the NRL rulebook after he was officially announced yesterday as the referees' elite performance manager.

In a 2012 season marred by refereeing blunders, there was confusion and uncertainty over the use and application of both rules.

Anderson said he was determined to create greater consistency in 2013.

"Benefit of the doubt will come under scrutiny - let's not be naive about that.

"I think we can clean up these areas like obstruction. We won't make it perfect but we can improve the adjudication of it," he said.

"There is such a fine line though - there is going to be errors on occasions."

Tony Archer and Russell Smith have been appointed Anderson's lieutenants as technical coaches. And both former Test referees suggested benefit of the doubt might have had its day.

"It's obviously something that we need to review," said Archer, whistle-blower in this year's grand final.

"It's something we have to look at, take in all the facts and look at the right method to take it forward next year."

Smith added: "We were criticised a few years ago for finding reasons not to award tries.

"Perhaps we have extended that too far.

"It's not deliberate - it just happens over time."

Anderson, who has stepped down from his commentating duties with ABC radio to take up his new role, said he was ready for intense scrutiny as he succeeds Bill Harrigan and Stuart Raper.

"I'm walking into this with my eyes wide open," Anderson said.

"I'm looking forward to it. It is a challenging and very much high-profile position within the game. As a lover of rugby league, I have a chance to contribute to its evolution and to have an influence," he said.

The former Warriors, St Helens and Parramatta coach said he aimed to improve communication between the refereeing ranks and NRL coaches. AAP

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