Australian coach Mal Meninga has called on Four Nations Final referee Ben Cummins to strictly enforce the 10-metre rule in tomrrow’s game at Anfield, despite Liverpool’s shortened pitch.
The Anfield pitch will be nine metres shorter than the regulation size, with officials having agreed to a shortened length to ensure a three-metre gap between the in-goal areas and the surrounding fence.
Both finalists were anxious to avoid a repeat of the 2013 World Cup Final at Old Trafford, which saw players repeatedly crashing into he advertising hoardings at the edge of the field.
Meninga believes the smaller won’t be a big factor as long as the teams are taken back no more than the required distance after tackles.
“Being a shorter field, your ten metres is pretty crucial,” said Meninga.
“It’s an issue if we’re back too many (metres) because both teams will be coming off the back fence all the time during the game.”
The Kiwis have been keeping their team for the final under wraps, but Meninga isn’t too concerned, as, whoever plays, he expects them to target the middle of the field.
“That’s where most games are won,” he said.
“This is the fourth time we’ve played them this year so [not knowing the final Kiwis lineup] doesn’t affect us too much at all.
“It’s going to be a great challenge for our forwards. I’ve said in recent times that I’m really pleased with the way we’ve handled things, particularly through the middle.”