13 Nov 2009

Australians says NZ referees appointment illogical

8:18 am on 13 November 2009

The Australian rugby league camp has branded "illogical" the decision to appoint New Zealander Leon Williamson - a part-time referee - to control this weekend's Four Nations final.

An embarrassing stalemate caused by the pigheadedness of officials from rugby league's three international powerhouses ended yesterday with Williamson - whose regular gig is controlling Auckland Vulcans games in the second-tier NSW Cup - handed the whistle for the code's Elland Road showpiece against England.

Australia's top NRL whistleblower Shayne Hayne - who on Monday night was adjudged the international referee of the year - and Englishman Steve Ganson - who has refereed Tri-Nations finals and Super League grand finals - were both overlooked.

Kangaroos coach Tim Sheens says it's interesting that the biggest game in the tournament is refereed by the most inexperienced referee.

Sheens says he hopes Williamson has a good game ... we don't want to be talking about the referee after the game, we want to be talking about the best team winning the game.

The move to appoint Williamson seems to go against the directive reached by the Rugby League International Federation after the 2005 Tri-Nations tournament, when it was decided the best referees would control the biggest games regardless of nationality.