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The Sydney Morning Herald


Date: 29/06/1988
Words: 838
          Publication: Sydney Morning Herald
Section: Sport
Page: 48
Great Britain captain Ellery Hanley has signed to complete the Winfield Cup season with Balmain.

Hanley will join Balmain when his British and representative commitments are completed and will be available for the Tigers' last three premiership games against Manly, Penrith and Brisbane.

He will also be available for the finals series, including the grand final, should Balmain proceed that far.

Coach Warren Ryan said last night that Hanley would fill a definite need and had already impressed by his attitude.

Balmain have lacked pace and penetration in the backs throughout the season.

"Ellery has said he would take a bit of time to look at our training before he starts," Ryan said.

"That is a terrific sign."

Hanley has impressed on the tour with his flair, speed and strength.

The executive chairman of the Australian Rugby League, Ken Arthurson, wants a peace conference to prevent a third Test bloodbath between Australia and Great Britain on July 9.

But last night he virtually ruled out the possibility that Frenchman Francis Desplas would be sacked as the Test referee.

Desplas has been widely criticised for his display in Tuesday night's second Test at Lang Park and there have been calls for his replacement.

Arthurson said he would recommend that the ARL, the referees' association, Desplas and the managers, coaches and captains of both teams meet next week if necessary to avoid a repeat of Tuesday night.

Australia retained the Ashes by beating Great Britain 34-14 in a match marred by frequent head-high and late tackles and other illegalities.

Australian captain Wally Lewis labelled the British "headhunters". Opposition coach Malcolm Reilly responded by calling the Australians"whingers" who had committed high tackles of their own.

"I was disappointed at the amount of head-high tackling," Arthurson said. "We've done our best to stamp it out in Australia."

He was not blaming one particular side. "People can make their own judgments, but it has got to stop," he said.

Arthurson said that Desplas had been fair and impartial and it would be an extreme reaction to sack him. The touch judges had to shoulder equal blame.

"I never saw them running on," he said.

Indeed, touch judges David Manson and Ian Irwin seldom ventured on to the field. They missed several blatant fouls, including a late, high tackle which flattened Lewis after he had given the pass for his team's second try.

Arthurson said the ARL would meet next week and he would raise the matter of getting all the parties together. The ARL had faced a similar problem in the State of Origin series and that had been resolved by getting the two parties together.

"You've got to get to the people that matter (the coaches and captains),"he said. "They're the blokes that really count."

Arthurson said those who supported a return to the biff-and-bash days were living in the past.

"That sort of thing puts the game backwards," he said. "The game was televised nationally and we've got to make sure we cut it (the head-high tackling) out."

It is International Rugby League Board policy that neutral referees are appointed to Test matches.

The ARL had to choose from several referees submitted by France, Papua New Guinea and New Zealand. Arthurson said Desplas was chosen because he impressed the Australians when he refereed them in Paris during the 1986 Kangaroo tour.

He said theoretically Desplas's lack of English shouldn't be a drawback because there was a set of universal refereeing signals, although English would obviously be an advantage.

Arthurson said he could not pre-empt an ARL board decision, but he would prefer to see the problem solved without the question of Desplas's sacking being raised.

"That would be a gross discourtesy to the international board and the possibility is fairly remote," he said.

* The ARL has called for a report from the Queensland Rugby League on a message which was flashed on the scoreboard before the second Test.

The message said: "Bullfrog. Shame our favourite No 7 isn't here."

Bullfrog is a nickname for Peter Moore, Canterbury-Bankstown's chief executive and the NSW and Australian team manager.

Moore was angered by the message. He interpreted it as a reference to Canterbury halfback Steve Mortimer, although others thought it was a suggestion that Moore had some influence in NSW halfback Peter Sterling's Test selection over Queenslander Allan Langer.

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