Ivan Cleary may no longer be No.1 NRL coach-in-waiting after taking up a position as a consultant with NRL head office.

The former Warriors and Penrith head coach has been appointed to work with referees and the match review committee after recent discontent about their efforts.

Cleary's name has been among the first mentioned as a possible replacement for two coaches under pressure this season, the Warriors' Andrew McFadden and Wests Tigers' Jason Taylor.