NRL referees are set for a 30 per cent pay rise by 2022 with the competition’s leading whistle-blowers to earn over $300,000 a year.
It comes after negotiations between the NRL and the Professional Rugby League Match Officials Union, with the historic four-year agreement avoiding industrial action from the referees’ union.
NRL.com also report that the average annual wage of players in Australia’s premier competition will rise to $330,000 in the same time period.
This is expected to see a further widening in the gap to the average wage of a Super League player, making it a more lucrative option for England’s leading stars to move Down Under.
The news comes just days after Matt Cecchin returned to the NRL officiating ranks, with his proposed move to England as the RFL’s ‘Two Referee Technical Executive’ cancelled.
There were reports NRL referees were set to hold a strike for round one this weekend as they were unhappy that their salary did not match that of officials across Australian sport.
That will now not happen though after an agreement was reached two weeks ago, with the new NRL season now all set to kick-off this Thursday night.
“It’s important that we acknowledge just what a critical role our match officials play in the Telstra Premiership week-in and week-out,” said NRL head of elite football Graham Annesley.
“We know that it’s a much-maligned job and brings with it lots of criticism.
“But we simply can’t have a credible Telstra Premiership without professional match officials helping to ensure that our game reaches the level we expect.”