Jared Maxwell has refereed more than 275 matches at the game’s top level, but his next appointment may be the toughest assignment of his career.
He’ll step into the role of referee’s boss, overseeing both the on-field officials and the ever-controversial bunker.
“Jared was a leading referee for over a decade, then transitioned into coaching second-tier referees, before being appointed bunker manager last year and becoming a member of the match officials’ appointments committee,” the NRL’s Graham Annesley said.
“Jared knows our referees well and the referees know Jared well. He understands the game and its clubs, but importantly has some innovative ideas to enhance the way our match officials prepare for a game.”
Maxwell replaces Bernard Sutton in the role, after Sutton’s often controversial two year tenure ended recently.
Earlier this year, the NRL created a seven-man referees appointment panel, seemingly in response to criticism that Sutton had the power to appoint his brother, Gerard, to big matches.
“It’s an honour to be appointed to such an important role. Our match officials did an outstanding job last year adapting to the new rules and I’m looking forward to taking that to the next level in the 2021 season,” Maxwell said.
“We all want to see fast, entertaining rugby league and I’ll work closely with all officials to ensure the players are given every opportunity to achieve that.”
Earlier this month the NRL announced a host of rule changes for the 2021 season, including two-point field goals, and the extension of the six-again rule for 10-metre infringements, while the single on-field referee, which was re-introduced this year, will again be used next season.
Sutton’s reign also included the controversial 2019 grand final, that saw referee Ben Cummins involved in the controversial ‘six-again’ call that altered the course of the match.
When Peter V’landys took over as ARLC chairman, he labelled refereeing problems in the NRL the biggest obstacle facing the game.