INJUNCTION GRANTED | Parramatta Eels have issued the following statement after today's drama includi...
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Australian coach Wayne Bennett has slammed plans to appoint New Zealand referee Glen Black to next week's Kangaroos-Great Britain match in the tri-nations rugby league series.
Englishman Russell Smith will control Saturday's (Sunday NZT) clash between Australia and New Zealand at Loftus Road and it is understood the Rugby Football League (RFL) wants to use referees from neutral countries wherever possible.
RFL sources said Black, who referees in the Bartercard Cup and has refereed European Nations Championship games, will be the RFL's recommendation for the Australia-Britain clash at City of Manchester Stadium on October 30.
"Who is Mr Black?" Bennett asked at the team hotel on Tuesday.
"That will be like us bringing somebody out of the State League and putting them in the Australian team."
The RFL was due to consult the Australians over the appointment but Bennett said: "They can read it in the paper because that's what I think of it. No disrespect to the referee but this is a different level of football. It's absolutely ridiculous ... they leave themselves open for ridicule. They are going to get pasted over that."
Christchurch's Black impressed at least one influential Australian Rugby League (ARL) official last Saturday.
The ARL had former test referee Mick Stone assessing Black's performance in the Jim Beam Cup Sydney team's 18-6 win over New Zealand A at North Harbour Stadium.
Stone told New Zealand Rugby League national co-ordinator of referees Ian Mackintosh later that he had detected no errors in Black's display.
"Based on what he had seen in that game, he was prepared to recommend to (ARL secretary) Geoff Carr that Glen be given at least the first game between Great Britain and Australia," Mackintosh had said.
"We know Stuart Cummings, the director of referees in Britain, rates Glen very highly, certainly in the top two or three in the Super League, and thinks he is ready for the international stage."