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Ashley Klein has waited four years for his second crack at refereeing the NRL Telstra Premiership Grand Final and as a resident of western Sydney he already has a sense of how big the occasion will be on Sunday.

After taking charge of three Super League Grand Finals during his time in England, Klein refereed the 2018 NRL decider between the Roosters and Storm alongside Gerard Sutton but will do the job solo when the Panthers and Eels meet for the first time ever in a Grand Final.

Having also been in the thick of the action in 11 State of Origin games and the fiery Rabbitohs-Roosters elimination final three weeks ago, Klein says the big-match experience helps to keep nerves under control.

"You just referee what’s in front of you and that’s dictated by what the players do," Klein said on Tuesday.

"We understand that referees are not going to win or lose a game but we have the best seat in the house and getting out in the middle there is nothing better.

"I feel very privileged to be out there rubbing shoulders with some of our greats of the game and that’s what Sunday is all about - the best two teams in 2022 fighting it out and I look forward to being part of the game.

Grand Final referees Kasey Badger and Ashley Klein with Head of Football Graham Annesley, Head of Elite Officiating Jared Maxwell and NRL CEO Andrew Abdo.
Grand Final referees Kasey Badger and Ashley Klein with Head of Football Graham Annesley, Head of Elite Officiating Jared Maxwell and NRL CEO Andrew Abdo. ©Gregg Porteous/NRL Photos

"I actually live in western Sydney and you can feel it in the street already, everyone is really excited."

Meanwhile, Kasey Badger will referee the NRLW Grand Final between the Eels and Knights and says it's a "reward for what you’ve done during the season".

"Eeveryone has ups and downs [during the year] so it’s nice to be here at the end of the year and get to experience all the different things that come with grand final week," Badger said at Tuesday's announcement.

"To see the women’s game on the stage it is at the moment and to be able to partake on the day is incredible."

NRL Executive General Manager – Elite Competitions Graham Annesley said Klein had earned his appointment to the NRL decider through his consistent performances across the entire season, including the State of Origin series and the Finals.

“Ashley has been one of our leading officials throughout 2022 and deserves to take charge of the Premiership decider,” Mr Annesley said.

“Ashley refereed all three State of Origins and has been in very good form through the Finals Series. I’d like to congratulate all officials for what they have achieved in 2022.”

NRL General Manager Elite Officiating Jared Maxwell said: “The match officials have worked hard to create an environment which allows the players to showcase their skills.

“All of our match officials should be congratulated for their commitment and for their consistency over the course of the season.”

NRL Telstra Premiership Grand Final

  • Referee: Ashley Klein
  • Review Official: Grant Atkins
  • Touch Judges: Phil Henderson and Drew Oultram
  • Standby Referee: Gerard Sutton
  • Standby Touch Judge: David Munro

NRL Telstra Women’s Premiership Grand Final

  • Referee: Kasey Badger
  • Review Official: Adam Gee
  • Touch Judges: Jordan Morel and Tori Wilkie
  • Standby Referee: Belinda Sharpe
  • Standby Touch Judge: Karra-Lee Nolan

NRL State Championship Grand Final

  • Referee: Darian Furner
  • Review Official: Chris Butler
  • Touch Judges: Cameron Paddy and Dan Munroe
  • Standby Official: Wyatt Raymond
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Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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