THE most decorated referee in the NRL says he was already considering retirement before the opportunity to be part of the game's new elite performance structure arose.
The NRL yesterday announced former Warriors and Parramatta coach Daniel Anderson had been appointed the referees elite performance manager for 2013, with Tony Archer and Russell Smith as his assistants.
Smith has worked with the Toyota Cup referees in recent years, impressing with his work in the areas of talent identification and technical coaching.
He has also filled the role of interim NRL referees coach since Bill Harrigan and Stuart Raper were dumped as co-coaches last month.
Archer's appointment brings to an end a refereeing career that included the past six NRL grand finals, 13 State-of-Origin games, nine Tests including a World Cup and a Four Nations final. He is a three-time winner of the International Referee of the Year award.
He said despite the criticism, refereeing was "an incredibly exciting career".
"It's been an amazing experience, but I was already at a point where I was deciding whether or not to go for one more year when this opportunity arose," Archer said.
"I've spent the past few years studying sports administration at university ... this is an opportunity to be involved in two areas that I am passionate about.
"The good thing from my perspective is that I know the talented people we have coming through and I'm keen to work with them."
Anderson said he couldn't guarantee the new structure would eliminate questionable decisions that had plagued the 2012 season, but he did say he hoped it would lead to more consistency in decisions and generally a higher standard of officiating.
"I don't profess to have the answer to people arguing one decision or another. We have to accept that there will always be a bit of that in rugby league," he said.
"What I do hope to do is work closely with clubs and referees to ensure rugby league is refereed consistently, and that we build an environment which is conducive to referees performing at their best on a consistent basis."
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