Noble not happy with ref

Great Britain coach Brian Noble has reacted angrily to the appointment of Englishman Russell Smith as referee for Saturday's Tri-Nations final.

Neutral officials were used for all six group matches and Britain favoured New Zealander Glen Black for the final.

"We're the only ones who haven't been refereed by Russell Smith which I think puts us at a disadvantage," Noble said.

"I think he's an outstanding referee, I just don't want him to feel he's under pressure to do anything for Australia."

Smith was this week named as the international referee of the year.

He was in charge when Great Britain lost 64-10 to Australia in Sydney in 2002, and last year's third Ashes Test in Huddersfield, which the Kangaroos won 18-12.

Noble's concern is that Smith will subconsciously favour Australia so as not to be seen to be biased towards Britain.

"In a lot of respects it's human nature," he said.

"So the guy in the middle has got to be really tough with himself but I'm confident that he can be that."