Kangaroos back tough Tri Nations ref - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Kangaroos back tough Tri Nations ref

By Wayne Heming 13/11/2006 07:38:40 PM Comments (0)

Australia prop Petero Civoniceva has backed Saturday night's referee to take stern action if the spate of Tri Nations brawling escalates against a desperate Great Britain.

Reeling from its worst loss to the Kiwis in 99 years and needing to beat Australia for the second time in a fortnight to reach the Tri Nations final, Great Britain are expected to push the Kangaroos' discipline to the limit.

"They're very physical and I know they'll certainly come at us in that direction," said Civoniceva, keen to bury the Tri Nations demons of last year's 24-0 final loss to the Kiwis.

"I don't think there's any doubt the referee will be capable of sending a player off if he has to on Saturday night.

"No player would want to be sent off and damage his side's chances."

Saturday's referee will be confirmed on Tuesday with either English-based Australian Ashley Klein or Paul Simpkins getting the nod.

The series has already been marred by a number of nasty skirmishes which have sparked all-in brawls.

And it hasn't been confined just to the players, with a Kiwi trainer causing an uproar after squirting water in the face of Great Britain centre Keith Senior.

Australian winger Matt King, fiery forward Willie Mason and Great Britain enforcer Adrian Morley have all figured prominently in on-field blow ups during the series.

Mason, suspended for one match and fined $5,000 for flattening English prop Stuart Fielden, will miss the re-match.

But his actions in the first clash will be felt on the park on Saturday night.

"I think the 'off the ball' on Sean Long was far worse than the punch (on Fielden)," said astounded Great Britain skipper Paul Sculthorpe.

"You expect a few fireworks in Test matches but don't expect elbows on kickers off the ball and to escape a ban for that was outrageous."

Civoniceva, who expected thousands of Barmy Army cricket fans would make life difficult for the Kangaroos, said Test football brought out emotions in players.

"It's all part and parcel of what we do," said the giant Fijian who probably hasn't thrown a punch in anger in his career.

"If it wasn't, everyone would be playing it.

"It's what happens on a rugby league field. Everyone is very passionate. They're representing their country and they want to do their very best for their country."

Coach Ricky Stuart will name his 17-man squad on Tuesday with winger Matt King under an injury cloud with a calf muscle injury.

Stuart is tipped to recall centre Justin Hodges for Jamie Lyon, if Mark Gasnier is fit, while King could return at the expense of Bronco Brent Tate.

Johnathan Thurston is expected to reclaim the No.7 jumper from utility Ben Hornby with Australia taking advantage of his more robust style and his kicking game around the rucks.

Australia is already assured a place in the November 25 final at Aussie Stadium but Stuart will want to name his strongest side this weekend to give them a rousing hit-out ahead of the decider.

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