Leeds coach Brian McDermott has accused World Club Challenge organisers of going back on their word after it was decided Friday’s game against Melbourne will be officiated by two referees.
McDermott says he received assurances that the game at AAMI Park, which will be live on Sky Sports Arena, would be played under international rules and therefore have the one-referee system used, as it is in Betfred Super League.
“It’s not good,” McDermott said. “I don’t think there’s anything sinister from the NRL but their competition plays with two referees and our competition plays with one.
“There’s been all sorts of dialogue over the last few years about whether we should move to two and therefore we know enough about it.
“But we’re not happy that this has been almost forced upon us.
Melbourne Storm vs Leeds Rhinos
February 16, 2018, 8:30am
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“We agreed in England some parameters of how we’re going to play the game such as the rotations.
“The NRL play with eight and we play with 10 and we agreed to go with 12.
“The term that was used was international rules and international rules are that you play with one referee. We’ve just been informed we’re playing with two.
“We’ve got nothing to hide and I don’t think the referee is going to find any cynical play from us. I just hope they don’t showcase two referees and it becomes a penalty-ridden game.”
Leeds agreed to become only the second Super League club, after Wigan, to travel to Australia for the annual clash of the champions when Melbourne declined to make the trip to England.
The Rhinos still have an injury doubt over stand-off Joel Moon, who missed last Thursday’s league game against Hull KR with a hamstring problem, but second rower Brett Delaney has recovered from a head knock sustained in that match.
“Brett Delaney had to see a concussion specialist while he was out here and he’s been given the green light,” McDermott said.
Brad Singleton is hungry for his first World Club Challenge win when Leeds Rhinos face Melbourne Storm on Friday
“Joel Moon hasn’t trained so far this week – he’s still having some issues with his back – but we expect him to play.
“Moony is one of those players who doesn’t need a whole raft of training. There’s no guarantee he’ll play but we’re hopeful.”
Back rower Carl Ablett also sat out training on Wednesday after struggling with a groin injury but is expected to recover in time.