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
"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
"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
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
"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.