Cameron Smith won't have undue influence: refs

He's been labelled "Referee Smith", but the whistle blowers are adamant Melbourne captain Cameron Smith won't have undue influence over them in Sunday's grand final.

Matt Cecchin and Gerard Sutton will reprise their pairing from this year's State of Origin series when they control their third decider at ANZ Stadium.

Smith is already the most dominant player in the game, but several league luminaries believe his influence extends too far via his relationship with the match officials.

Cronulla coach dubbed him "Referee Smith" in June, while former whistle blower Bill Harrigan recently claimed he would have sin-binned the Storm skipper for constantly being in the face of the refs.

However, lead referee Cecchin said Smith did not get any special treatment and would continue to be treated like every other club captain.

"As referees, we're all different and players are all different and captains are all different," Cecchin said.

"Captains are allowed to approach a referee at certain times during a game when there are stoppages and at other times they are not allowed to.

"I treat Cameron as every other captain."

Asked if he was more vocal than the other 15 team captains, Cecchin said: "Not really. Cameron is an incredible footballer and an amazing player and a very smart human being. When he does approach us, he does it in a manner that is acceptable.

"As referees, we welcome a healthy relationship with the captain because often the captain can communicate with one of the players better than we can.

"If a player is getting a little bit hotheaded or working outside the rules, often a quiet word to the captain can sort that out. As long as it's done at the right time of the game and the right tone, as referees we welcome that opportunity."

Referees boss Tony Archer said Smith did not overstep the mark in his interactions with the men in the middle.

"As a captain, he has some dialogue with the referees," Archer said.

"I watch all the games and it's nothing over the top with those communications with the referees."

NSW police issued Cecchin with a public apology as part of a confidential settlement after posting a meme on social media depicting him in a Queensland Origin jersey. While the post was done in jest, Cecchin said a line was crossed.

"In my opinion they did. They handled the matter very, very quickly," he said.

"I'm very satisfied with the outcome, the outcome is confidential. Part of the outcome was an apology on Facebook. They dealt with it very quickly and I'm satisfied with the outcome. My concern was that it attacked my integrity and that's the only thing I can guarantee as a referee.

"I can't guarantee that I'm not going to make mistakes this week. The likelihood is that I will, I do every game.

"But what I can promise everyone, I can vouch for the integrity of every NRL official on the weekend.

"Whether it's on the field or off the field, you question my integrity and there will be consequences. It's something, unfortunately, that I referee in a sport where I could referee any country, regardless of where I'm from. I've refereed Australia in a number of Tests and a number of finals and that's because the best referee gets the job regardless of where I come from.

"That's because our integrity has never been questioned. I'll do whatever I can to maintain that."

There have been concerns that playmakers haven't been adequately protected after Brisbane's Adam Blair hit Melbourne's Cooper Cronk late in their finals match. Cecchin and Archer believed the matter was handled appropriately when the Storm was awarded a penalty.

"From review, we made the right call and dealt with it accordingly," Cecchin said.

This story Cameron Smith won't have undue influence: refs first appeared on Brisbane Times.