The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
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Referee Shayne Hayne has been dropped for the Round 22 fixtures following a costly mistake in the Sharks and Knights encounter on Friday night. Hayne ruled a scrum to the Knights after a pass by Andrew Johns hit him in the chest. The correct ruling would have been to award a scrum to the Sharks. This rules Shayne out of any chance to referee in the upcoming Finals Series.
His replacement will be Ben Cummins, who was last seen refereeing in First Grade three weeks ago where he officiated in the Panthers and Cowboys fixture. Since then he has been touch judging but gets a call up after the dropping of Hayne. It has been a rise to fame for Cummins, who only last year was the referee in the SG Ball Grand Final.
Steve Clark will be refereeing a Parramatta Eels match for the second week straight this Friday night when they are at home to St George Illawarra. One thing is for sure, front rower Fuifui Moimoi will not be playing, as he faces a lengthy seven week suspension. Clark sent-off Moimoi last Saturday night for a high tackle on Manly?s Brent Kite.
Jason Robinson continues his return to First Grade, making the trip across the Tasman on Saturday night when the Warriors are at home to the Sharks. This match although being played at 5.30 AEST, will be screened at 9.20pm with the Melbourne Storm match against the Wests Tigers on live at 5.30pm.
Sean Hampstead will be in charge of the Storm match, as they look to post their tenth consecutive victory at home. The Storm are yet to lose a match this season at home, while the Tigers are coming off their shock victory on Sunday at Suncorp Stadium.
Paul Simpkins, the man who refereed the Tigers? last encounter, will be in charge at Dairy Farmers Stadium in Townsville on Saturday night. Simpkins has only refereed the Bulldogs twice this season, with one of those matches being the one where he sent off Matt Utai for a high tackle on Shane Flanagan from the Tigers.
Gavin Badger keeps his spot in First Grade for the third week straight when he goes down to Canberra on Sunday for the all important match between the Raiders and Broncos. Both teams have a 100% record with Badger this season with the Raiders having won two matches by one point and another match by two points with him in charge.
Rugby League returns to the Central Coast on Sunday as the Roosters move their home match to BlueTongue Stadium at Gosford against the Knights. Referee Tony Archer will be in charge after he had a sound performance last Saturday night at CUA Stadium in Penrith. Archer, who refereed a finals match in week one last year, between the Dragons and Sharks, will be in the running for a spot after Shayne Hayne was dropped this week.