NRL: Level of scrutiny biggest challenge for officials says new refs boss

New referees boss Jared Maxwell has vowed to build on the foundations laid this year as he aims to elevate the level of scrutiny on NRL umpires.

Announced in the role on Wednesday, Maxwell said there were "not many other sports worldwide" where officials are under the same scrutiny as the NRL.

The NRL has failed to come to an agreement with its referees after scrapping the two-referee system.

"It's a challenging sport," he said. "As previous people have been in these shoes they ... try and create an environment that is not about the officials and get the balance between the continuity of the sport and the compliance levels."

Maxwell takes over from Bernard Sutton after he stepped down from the job following last month's State of Origin series.

His most recent role was managing the NRL Bunker, after refereeing 275 NRL matches, State of Origin and Test matches during his career as a first-grade official.

He will be in charge of ensuring 2021's referees are prepared to implement a raft of new rule changes, which includes the two-point field goal if taken outside the 40m line.

"This year's season... it was a wonderful, exciting sport and entertainment package, which is ultimately what the commission drives," Maxwell said.

"The free flowing games we had this year were a great result. There's not not too many good news stories for 2020, but the quality of footy was tremendous."

Next year's changes will also see a penalty if players leave a scrum before the referee calls "break" when satisfied the ball is free. There will also be a play-the-ball restart when the ball is kicked or carried into touch.

Maxwell said he was eager to build on the work done this year to set a higher bar for refereeing in the NRL.

Speaking about the way Ben Cummins was treated after the 2019 grand final, Maxwell said he was keen to also improve the level of welfare provided to NRL referees.

"No official wants to go out and make errors and we have to provide that leadership for those guys to get through that," he said. "But it's hard not to dwell on it, it's very hard ... so we need to put that network around them to get through that as best as we can."

NRL football boss Graham Annesley said Maxwell would oversee both elite officiating and bunker operations in 2021.

"Jared was a leading referee for over a decade, then transitioned into coaching second-tier referees, before being appointed bunker manager last year and becoming a member of the match officials’ appointments committee," he said.

"Jared knows our referees well and the referees know Jared well.

"He understands the game and its clubs, but importantly has some innovative ideas to enhance the way our match officials prepare for a game."