The 2018 Pre-Season is well and truly underway in the UK with several games already played and plent...
4 days ago
Australia's distaste for controversial New Zealander Glen Black - who is "uneasy" about refereeing his own country - has ended international rugby league's policy of using officials from neutral countries.
The Tri-Nations Trophy holders were unhappy with Black during last year's tournament and their refusal to play under him means they are likely to have English referee Steve Ganson for a third time in the series - in a match against Great Britain.
"To avoid conflict over referees, we have formed an appointments committee comprising the referees bosses from the competing countries," ARL chief executive Geoff Carr said.
"It is my understanding they have decided who is going to control every game up to the final."
Carr had no comment on Black but the man himself said he had been barred by the Australians and was uncomfortable about presiding over a Kiwis Test.
"Australia wouldn't accept a New Zealand referee unless they were in the Super League full-time or the NRL full-time," he told the League Correspondent.
"The Australians will accept me for a second-tier Test (against France on November 12) but not the top one. It's very frustrating, to be honest.
"The neutral referee bit has gone out the back door. It was not ideal me doing the Kiwis. I felt a bit uneasy doing them.
"(British referees boss) Stuart Cummings put up a big argument on my behalf and said I would be in their top two or three. But the Australians always seem to win these things."
The compromise means the Australia-Great Britain matches are likely to be split between NRL grand final whistler Tim Mander and Ganson.
Mander would also do the Great Britain-New Zealand game at Huddersfield's Galpharm Stadium on November 12, with yesterday morning being Black's only appearance in the tournament.
Ganson's performances in the opening two Tri-Nations games have received widely varying reviews but Australia coach Wayne Bennett said: "I reckon he's just out there enjoying himself.
"He says 'I'm coming to this game too. I'm just going to let it happen, you boys sort it out, I'll blow the whistle every so often' which is fine because he lets it happen."
More info: www.tri-nations.com.au Discussion: Tri-Nations Forum at http://forums.leagueunlimited.com/forumdisplay.php?f=130