Bill Harrigan

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Bill Harrigan
Personal information
Full name William James Harrigan
Born (1960-05-24) 24 May 1960 (age 58)[citation needed]
Sydney, Australia
Refereeing information

Years Competition Apps
1986–2003 National Rugby League 392

Bill Harrigan (born 24 May 1960 in Sydney, New South Wales) is an Australian former rugby league football referee, and former head of refereeing for the National Rugby League. Unusually for a sports official, in his long career he was accorded the same profile as some of the top players he refereed.[1][2] A policeman off-field before he resigned to concentrate on rugby league,[3] he is widely recognised as one of Australia's greatest sports umpires.[3][4] He retired with the record for most State of Origin matches officiated.[5]

Early life[edit]

William James "Bill" Harrigan was born in 1960 in the Western Suburbs of Sydney, New South Wales).[4] He resided in the south-west and greater western suburbs of Sydney for all of his childhood. While not particularly interested in academic studies as school student, he nevertheless represented his schools with distinction in every sport that he could.[3] Harrigan joined the NSW Police Force in 1979.[3] He served extensively in numerous units, including the Tactical Response Group.[6]

Rugby League career[edit]

Harrigan refereed his first game in 1977. In 1986 he refereed his first New South Wales Rugby League premiership match, between Cronulla and Western Suburbs.[3]

Harrigan holds the following Australian rugby league refereeing records[4]

Defamation action[edit]

In July 2001 Harrigan successfully sued Australian radio broadcaster Alan Jones for defamatory remarks made by Jones during a 1998 interview, resulting in an award of $90,000.[7]


After retiring from rugby league refereeing, Harrigan was a referee in Gladiators.


  1. ^ "Controversy corner". National Museum of Australia. Retrieved 21 October 2009.
  2. ^ "Bill Harrigan (NRL)". The NSW Sports Federation. Archived from the original on 20 July 2008. Retrieved 15 July 2008.
  3. ^ a b c d e "RefereeBillHarrigan". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 14 July 2008.
  4. ^ a b c "Mediaman – Harrigan". Archived from the original on 20 July 2008. Retrieved 14 July 2008.
  5. ^ David Middleton. "Records". Australia. Archived from the original on 24 February 2011. Retrieved 5 March 2011.
  6. ^ Ian Heads; David Middleton. A Centenary of Rugby League (1908–2008). Sydney: Pan Macmillan. p. 606. ISBN 978-1-4050-3830-0.
  7. ^ Alan Jones Chronology Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Four Corners. Retrieved 9 August 2011.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]