Robert Hicks

Date: 26/10/16 (Photo Credit

An international panel has announced the match official appointments for the first two rounds of the Ladbrokes Four Nations.

The opening weekend will see two Super League referees appointed for the first two games of the tournament. Ben Thaler will take charge of the opening fixture on Friday night between Australia and Scotland at the Lightstream Stadium in Hull and Robert Hicks will referee the game on Saturday between England and New Zealand, in front of a capacity crowd at the John Smith’s Stadium in Huddersfield.

Two NRL referees will take charge of the second round of Ladbrokes Four Nations games, the international double header at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry on Saturday 5 November. Gerard Sutton will take charge of England v Scotland and Ben Cummins will be the man in the middle for the game between New Zealand and Australia.

For the first two rounds games have been graded according to world ranking, with the Super League and NRL Grand Final referees (Hicks and Cummins) allocated the ‘top’ two games. As the more experienced international referee Ben Cummins has been awarded the highest ranked game between New Zealand v Australia and Robert Hicks the next game between England and New Zealand.

The match official appointments for the third round of games and the Ladbrokes Four Nations Final at Anfield, will then be awarded on merit, based on the performances of the four referees in the first two rounds of games. The three-person panel making these decisions consists of Steve Ganson (RFL Head of Match Officials), Tony Archer (NRL General Manager Officiating) and Luke Watts (NZRL National Referee Development Officer).

It has also been confirmed that Australian Bernard Sutton will join the Match Officials group as a Video Referee along with Touch Judge Anthony Elliott from New Zealand.

Speaking about the appointments, Ladbrokes Four Nations Tournament Director, Jon Dutton, said: “A tremendous amount of work and thought has gone into the appointments process and I am very grateful to Steve, Tony and Luke for their vision and collaboration.

“The tournament has appointed four high performing world-class referees who will be joined by an excellent team of support officials. The decision to award matches based on merit rather than country neutrality is a progressive move by all concerned and shows the confidence we have in officials and the focus on recognising and rewarding good performance.”

The 2016 Ladbrokes Four Nations featuring England, Australia, New Zealand and Scotland starts on Friday, October 28 and more than 50 per cent of tickets are priced at £25 or less. Buy tickets here or call the Rugby League Ticket Hotline on 0844 856 1113 (calls to this number will cost 7p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge.)

Full 2016 Ladbrokes Four Nations schedule is as follows:
Friday October 28 (8.00pm): Australia v Scotland, Lightstream Stadium, Hull
Saturday October 29 (2.30pm): England v New Zealand, The John Smith’s Stadium, Huddersfield – GENERAL ADMISSION SOLD OUT
Saturday November 5 (5.30pm): England v Scotland, Ricoh Arena, Coventry
Saturday November 5 (8.00pm): New Zealand v Australia, Ricoh Arena, Coventry
Friday November 11 (8.00pm): New Zealand v Scotland, The Zebra Claims Stadium, Workington
Sunday November 13 (2.00pm): England v Australia, The London Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London
Sunday November 20 (2.30pm): Final, Anfield, Liverpool

A full list of Match Officials for the first two rounds of the Ladbrokes Four Nations
Fixture Referee Touch Judge Touch Judge Reserve Referee Reserve Touch Judge Interchange Video Referee Match Commissioner Time Keeper
Australia V Scotland B Thaler M Craven J Smith G Sutton J Roberts G Dolan B Sutton T Randerson S Williams
England V New Zealand R Hicks J Child A Elliott B Cummins P Brooke S Kilpatrick B Sutton G Kershaw M Heptinstall
England V Scotland G Sutton C Kendall M Craven R Hicks J Smith P Brooke B Thaler D Hayes F Hawley
New Zealand V Australia B Cummins A Elliott J Cobb R Hicks P Brooke J Smith B Sutton P Taberner A Barnby