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Cecchin overlooked

Thursday, November 30, 2017

MATT Cecchin has been overlooked as referee for the Rugby League World Cup final with Gerard Sutton getting the nod.

Cecchin was embroiled in controversy at the end of last Saturday's semi-final when he declined to refer a Tonga try to the video referee which could have given the tiny island nation a last-gasp win.

Tongan prop Andrew Fifita lost control of the ball under the pressure of an Elliott Whitehead tackle before regathering and rolling over the tryline in the dying seconds.

Fifita protested he'd had the ball pulled from his grasp however Cecchin made the on-field ruling of no try and decided not to send it upstairs. Tongan coach Kristian Woolf said he was shocked Cecchin did not at least send the incident to the video referee to be examined.

England ran out 20-18 winners and Tongan fans took to the streets of Auckland on Sunday and Monday nights to protest the result.

World Cup head of officiating Tony Archer on Sunday came out in support of Cecchin, saying he'd made the correct ruling and was in contention to officiate the final.

Sutton — who refereed the 2017 NRL grand final alongside Cecchin — got the final nod however Archer praised both for performing admirably during the tournament.

"It was obviously a difficult decision to pick the referee for the final after Matt Cecchin's and Gerry's excellent performances in the semi-finals and throughout the tournament," Archer said.

"But I'm confident were have chosen the right person to do job.

"I've been very satisfied with the performances of our officials."

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