Sheens slams politics over ref call - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Sheens slams politics over ref call

By Steve Jancetic 09/11/2009 09:18:53 PM Comments (0)

Kangaroos coach Tim Sheens has hit out at the international rugby league politics which could prevent Australian referee Shayne Hayne being appointed to control Saturday night's Four Nations final against England at Elland Road.

Despite being a front-runner for the international referee of the year award - to be presented at Monday night's RLIF dinner in Leeds - Hayne has been largely snubbed so far this tournament with his only game in charge being New Zealand's massive win over France in Toulouse ten days ago.

Sheens claimed Hayne's nationality should not be a factor in deciding the official for the tournament final, just as it wasn't when English referee Steve Ganson was handed the Australia-England preliminary game in Wigan.

"There's obviously some politics being involved here, and in my opinion a lot of it's designed about a much slower game which suits sides when you start to talk about playing Australia," Sheens said.

"The decision about who's going to referee has got nothing to do with me - there's not much we can do about it really.

"There's a panel and obviously the Australians are going to want the best referee, that's all.

"If the best referee happens to be the international referee of the year and he's an Australian, well so be it. We just want the best referee.

"It would be disappointing for Shayne and disappointing for the tournament if technically what I would argue is the best refereeing system in rugby league and the referee nominated by us who has been nominated for the referee of the year can't get a game, then something's wrong.

"It's politics, there's no doubt."

All four countries competing in the tournament nominated referees to officiate in games, though it was assumed the two best credentialed figures - Hayne and Ganson - would be handed the marquee matches.

Ganson was awarded the earlier match between Australia and England - which the Kangaroos won 26-16 - due to the fact Australian officials were concerned the two neutral refereeing options, Kiwi Leon Williamson and Frenchman Thierry Alibert, were not up to the task.

Alibert was then surprisingly handed the England-New Zealand game last Saturday night ahead of Hayne, a match which was a virtual semi-final.

Despite questioning several of Alibert's decisions and interpretations, the Kiwis refused to blame the referee for the 20-12 loss, but it is assumed his inconsistent display cost him any chance of securing a final berth.

Australian hooker Cameron Smith did his best to sidestep the referee issue, saying it was up to the tournament favourites to adapt to whatever conditions and interpretations they were presented with.

"The refereeing situation is out of our control as players," Smith said.

"If it's Ganson or if it's Shayne Hayne or whoever it is, we've got to adapt to whoever it is and the style of refereeing they have.

"We've had two games with Ganson now so I think we've got to learn what we can get away with and what we can't."

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