Well known Border-based lawyer Mike Eden is heavily involved with the growing dispute between the NRL and its referees, which is headed for arbitration on Friday.
Confidential conciliation talks between the two bodies at the Fair Work Commission on Tuesday proved unsuccessful.
The NRL has decided to run with a one-referee format, while the officials insist on having the two-referee system in place, which has stood since 2009.
"What we are doing is trying to enforce our members' rights under the enterprise bargaining agreement," Professional Rugby League Match Officials' vice-chairman Eden said.
The qualified lawyer is not representing the PRLMO at the hearings and did not attend the mediation talks.
The 21-page enterprise bargaining agreement has no written mention of the need to stay with two referees.
However, it does state the referees must be consulted on the introduction of major changes, but that consultation can take place after making a definite decision.
The referees have recently been blasted by NSW State of Origin coach Brad Fittler, amid speculation of potential industrial action
"As (PRLMO) chair Silvio Del Vecchio said all along, we have never said that we were going to strike," Eden said.
We have never said that we were going to strike ... what we are doing is trying to enforce our members' rights under the enterprise bargaining agreement.Mike Eden
The cost of using two referees has been cited as a crucial factor behind the NRL's decision, with some figures as high as $2million.
"It's between $300,000 and $500,000, depending on travel and, of course, there's not as much travel anymore (due to the effect of the coronavirus), so there's a saving there," Eden said.
"The referees have also taken a 20 per cent pay cut, like the players, so the officials have made generous concessions."
In a recent submission to the ARL Commission, the referees' union pointed to seven reasons why a return to one whistleblower required careful planning.
"The pocket referee (the second official under previous system) does 80 per cent of the four play and ruck infringement rules," Eden said.
"The main referee is looking at the 10m, talking to the players, getting them set. It's been working for the last 10 years."
The two-referee model was introduced at the end of 2008 in a bid to eliminate wrestle, but the NRL argues it hasn't worked.
"This is just my thoughts, not on behalf of the referees, but as a rugby league fan, even if if they trialled the one referee at the end of this season, with two teams out of the running for finals," Eden said.
ALSO IN SPORT:
"It doesn't make sense to bring it in when the referees haven't trained for it."
The NRL season is scheduled to start on Thursday, May 28, but it has repeatedly said it's made contingency plans.