Byline: David BURKE Rugby League Correspondent
AUSSIE coach Wayne Bennett has stoked up the flames for tonight's clash by claiming Adrian Morley and Terry Newton are instigators of potential flashpoints.
Bennett has refused to back down in slamming the decision to appoint inexperienced Kiwi Glen Black as the referee at the City of Manchester Stadium.
Bennett blasted: "Great Britain have two players who have a pretty extensive judiciary record.
"The referee last year showed great courage to send Adrian Morley off on the first play of the game.
"The English were very excited about Brian Noble being the coach and he's an Englishman who will fire them up.
"I don't think David Waite did a bad job last year with Morley. He came out fired up. If they're any more fired up than that, I don't know what to expect."
"I want my players to play football and stay out of it. If we have to revise that somewhere down the track, we will."
But RL referees supremo Stuart Cummings has jumped to the defence of Black who referees in New Zealand's domestic competition.
Cummings said: "It's our policy to seek neutral referees and it was agreed well before the tournament that one referee from each country would be appointed to a panel.
"Glen Black has more than surpassed the fitness standards that are required of Super League referees in this country.
"The referee appointment should not be allowed to become the centre of attention and he should be left alone to continue his preparation for this very important match."
But Bennett stepped up the row accusing Britain of seeking an unfair advantage and warned that players will take matters into their own hands if Black fails to keep control.
Bennett added: "If I don't speak up about it, then I let my players down.
"We'll have guys lying all over the ruck area, which is going to lead to frustration and bitterness, and that's going to lead to a situation where the game could become unnecessarily over the top or aggressive.
"Why do Britain pursue this? It's the first time we have had a neutral referee in 20-odd years.
"If he can't keep pace with the game then obviously what's going to suffer is the 10 metres so the Lions aren't going to be back as far.
"There's also going to be a lot of interference and slowing the play-the-ball down which they would like because our game is built on those fundamentals - being fit enough to get back the 10 metres and off the defensive line. "His decision-making is going to be affected because of his own fatigue. …