Stuart confused over ref appointments - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Stuart confused over ref appointments

Steve Jancetic 06/07/2011 03:45:46 AM Comments (0)

Queensland coach Mal Meninga has accused NSW counterpart Ricky Stuart of trying to influence the referees ahead of Wednesday night's series-deciding State of Origin clash.

Fearing a repeat of the series opener in which he felt the whistleblowers had been affected by the Suncorp Stadium crowd, Stuart questioned why the referees had been altered for each of the three games.

Veteran pair Tony Archer and Shayne Hayne have been teamed up for the series decider, but each had been given one game earlier in the series, Archer with Jared Maxwell in game one before Hayne and Ben Cummins controlled game two in Sydney.

Asked if he feared the impact the referees could have on the contest, Stuart said:

"I just hope it's not like game one.

"It's very intimidating for referees. It's very hard when you have such a parochial crowd.

"It's very hard for them and I am just hoping this result is not decided by the officials.

"I respect the difficult job they have got but I just hope they don't get intimidated."

Meninga said he had been happy with the refereeing throughout the series, claiming Stuart's remarks were a deliberate ploy.

"Of course he is (trying to influence the referees), there's no doubt about that," Meninga said.

"We just hope that it's refereed fairly. We've got no qualms, never had any problems with the referees.

"I think that the two best referees should be in control of all games."

Stuart said he was in the dark as to why there had been such drastic switch between the officials throughout the series.

"I don't know why the change of referees, that is something you will have to ask (NRL referees boss) Bill Harrigan.

"That's where the pressure comes on Bill now.

"He has made a big decision. Let's hope it works for him but it's a huge call he has made."

NSW skipper Paul Gallen said he was hopeful the referees wouldn't play a part in determining the series winner.

"I've got the utmost respect for them, they've got the toughest job on the field trying to control 34 blokes trying to kill each other and then have to deal with the crowd as well," Gallen said.

"Hopefully (with) the referees it's not going to come into the game."

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