NRL pundit hits out at claims that the World Cup Final needed a “neutral” ref and that it wasn’t officiated “impartially”

Much has been made in recent weeks about the decision to allow Ashley Klein to officiate Australia’s semi-final and final in the Rugby League World Cup.

The former Super League referee, who in the past has officiated games at Old Trafford namely the Super League Grand Final between St Helens and Leeds Rhinos over a decade ago, was tasked with refereeing Australia’s semi-final win over New Zealand and their final triumph over Samoa despite being from Australia himself.

After the semi-final, he was praised for how he refereed the game with former New Zealand international Robbie Hunter-Paul conceding that his fears over him not being a “neutral” referee were not warranted based on his performance.

But some have complained especially after he made what Samoa boss Matt Parish called a “weak decision” to only yellow card Angus Crichton after he hit Chanel Harris-Tavita with a forearm.

As these complaints rage across social media, NRL pundit and Canterbury Bulldogs chief Phil Goud has hit back at the suggestion Klein sided towards the Kangaroos.

He said: “By sheer nature, a referee is impartial. What does it matter where he comes from, lives, the team he supported as a kid etc? Referees are appointed for a reason. To suggest they would favour one club, one team, or one country over another, is defamatory.”

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17 days ago

Gus has his say far too often, this is another rant and though he’s defending refs this week watch out for when he disagrees with decisions.

The real problem for refs is not that they will be biased for any side but that they’ll always be left open to accusations if they’re not neutral.

Choosing Ashley Klein was an error of judgement which reflects on the sport but not the ref himself.

Mistakes will happen, cause controversy and will always be tainted by conclusions of fans because they’re already suspicious of bias.

Don’t quote Gus, Don’t quote Gus!