Sutton handed the whistle for fifth straight decider

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If all goes to plan, referee Gerard Sutton won’t make a single headline after Sunday night’s NRL grand final.

The game’s highest honour for an official was confirmed on Tuesday with experienced referee Sutton handed the whistle for his fifth-straight NRL grand final, and the seventh of his career.

But after a finals series littered with refereeing controversies Sutton will be grateful to simply get through the clash between South Sydney and Penrith without being noticed at all.

“We always know there’s going to be some focus on the match officials and we’re out there to do the best we possibly can, and we’ll be doing everything we possibly can to ensure that it’s about the players,” he said on Tuesday.

“At the end of the day we want them to determine the result, and if we go unnoticed that would be great for us.”

The spotlight has been on officials during the second half of the season with head of football Graham Annesley admitting to several on-field errors in the weeks leading up to Sunday’s decider.

“There’s always pressure with every game in the NRL but it’s magnified with games like State of Origin or grand finals but that’s part of the privilege of being a part of it,” Sutton said.

The sold-out clash is scheduled to be held at Suncorp Stadium, however, the NRL is closely monitoring a COVID-19 outbreak in south-east Queensland.

NRL grand final match officials
Referee – Gerard Sutton
Review Official – Grant Atkins
Touch Judges – David Munro and Todd Smith


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