Klein happy to referee Stuart's Sharks - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Klein happy to referee Stuart's Sharks

By Samantha Broun 29/01/2009 05:11:03 PM Comments (0)

World Cup final referee Ashley Klein says he'll have no problem presiding over Ricky Stuart's Sharks when he officiates in the NRL this season.

Klein arrived in Sydney on Thursday morning from the UK after accepting an offer to join the NRL's full-time referees squad.

The 29-year-old had a well-publicised run-in with Stuart at a Brisbane hotel after the Kangaroos' final loss to New Zealand in November which led to the Sharks mentor standing down from his position as Australia coach.

The Bathurst-born ref said he was eagerly awaiting his chance to referee in the NRL.

"Whether it's Cronulla, Brisbane, Melbourne, any of them, I'm looking forward to the challenge," said Klein, who was named international referee of the year in 2006.

"Ricky phoned me and apologised and I accepted his apology ... It's all part and parcel of the game and we're all passionate about it and that's what makes rugby league so good.

"I'm more than happy to (have another chat with Ricky), the door's always open."

Klein has spent the past six seasons officiating in the English Super League and returns home to Australia to test himself on what he believes is league's biggest stage, and to raise his young family with his British wife who prefers the Aussie climate.

"I did love my time at Super League it's a fantastic competition that is growing but the NRL is probably still the best rugby league competition in the world," he said.

"I've lived here for most of my life and Origin and NRL grand finals is something that I've always dreamed about and now looking forward to making it happen.

"I'll have to make some changes within my own game which I'm looking forward to doing, it is a challenge and a lot of hard work is going to go into the next six weeks making sure that I am ready for the start of the season.

Klein, who officiated in Jersey Flegg before he left for the UK, wasn't sure whether he would start officiating in the NRL or spend some time in the lower divisions.

"That's up for (referee's boss) Robert Finch to decide, my goal is just to get into training and learn the two referees system, I'll give myself the best opportunity to start in the NRL but it's up to him to decide what happens.

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