Thaler and Sutton to referee first two games of Kiwi series

Super League Grand Final referee Ben Thaler and Australian referee Gerard Sutton will officiate game one and game two of the International Series between England and New Zealand.

Thaler, who refereed this year’s Grand Final, has been awarded game one of the series at the KC Stadium, Hull, on Sunday November 1.

Sutton, who was in the middle for the all-Queensland NRL decider, will take charge of the second game on Saturday November 7 at the Olympic Stadium, London.

An appointments panel will review the performances of Thaler and Sutton to determine who will officiate the series’ climax at the DW Stadium, Wigan, on Saturday November 14.

The panel consists of: Steve Ganson, Chairman of the Match Officials Appointment Panel; Luke Watts, the New Zealand National Referee Development Officer; and Thierry Alibert, Head of Match Officials, France.

Ganson said: “We are delighted with the two referees we have appointed – both are very experienced referees to take charge of the International Series.

“Ben refereed the Challenge Cup final and the Grand Final this year as a reward for his consistency throughout the season and has previous international experience during the Rugby League World Cup in 2013.

“Gerard is another referee who has bags of experience on the international stage, in Grand Finals and also State of Origin matches in Australia. I’m sure both will make it a difficult decision for the panel to determine the referee for the final game.”