England head coach Steve McNamara has attempted to distance himself from the controversy surrounding the appointment of NRL referee Gerard Sutton for this Sunday’s huge clash between England and Australia at Melbourne’s AAMI Park.
The appointments for the second round of Four Nations games have been under the spotlight this week, after Australian official Sutton was tasked with the game that could see the Kangaroos’ Four Nations hopes go up in smoke. New Zealander Henry Perenara has been given the game between the Kiwis and Samoa, meaning there are no neutral officials on duty this weekend.
But McNamara has insisted he has no issue with the decisions surrounding the refereeing appointments, despite the fact that an Australian is in charge of such a huge game.
“I think it is the same for choosing referees as when choosing an international team,” McNamara said.
“In the opinion of (tournament referees boss) Tony Archer and his assistants they have deemed that Gerard Sutton was the best referee last weekend and he gets the game with probably the biggest importance this weekend which is our game.
“I don’t have an issue with it. That’s the way the rules are now, that is the path that the international games has gone down for this tournament. I’m OK with that.
“People will always questions coaches’ selections on players, I think it is the same with referees, it is a difficult job. Gerard Sutton is a good referee, Phil Bentham is a good referee also. Henry Perenara gets his first start this weekend as well.”