Ray Hadley is urging retired NRL referees to dust off the whistle
Amid NRL referees threatening to strike over a dispute around the return to one referee, an unlikely NRL comeback is waiting in the wings.
One of Australia’s and the game’s greatest sporting umpires, retired 59-year-old Bill Harrigan said he’s ready to put on the tight shorts and pull the whistle out of mothballs if he’s needed, in a story published in the Daily Telegraph.
Bill Harrigan went on to tell Ray Hadley, “It’d probably be good for me to go out there with no crowds so I don’t get bagged and booed when I’m 40 metres behind the play sucking on my oxy reviva.”
“It’s a bit of fun, a bit of tongue in cheek but in all seriousness, I hope they get back on the field this Thursday.
“But if… they were struggling for a referee to get out there and get this game back on… I would go out and do it… I’d have a crack.”
On the topic of the two referee system, Harrigan told Ray when they first brought that in it was a model that shared the responsibility to reduce referee fatigue.
“But over the years they’ve bastardised that model to the stage where that pocket referee is… wearing himself out even more…. he’s buggered [and] makes more mistakes.”
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Harrigan’s suggestion had Ray listing some of the other retired referees he’d like to see strap on the boots again if the referee strike goes ahead.
“Here’s one of my favorites, Steven Clark. Even his wife and mum used to write to me because I thought he had something stuck down the back of his shorts.
“Buttocks Clark we used to call him… and he’d still be in the prime of life.”
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Off the back of Ray’s list, Steven Clark’s mum Judy called in and confirmed to Ray Steve’s posterior situation is from her side of the family.
‘He takes after me,” laughed Judy.
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It didn’t take long for Steven Clark himself to call in and tell Ray he gets reminded of the infamous “triple buttocks” label on many occasions.
“I read about Billy Harrigan last night and thought god bless his cotton socks… he’s putting himself out there to make the comeback and we’ll probably all get roped in over the coming days… and sure enough it only took less than 12 hours.”
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