League: Review call after Kiwis released for Anzac test

By Peter Jessup

Brent Webb played well and scored a try as Leeds beat Bradford 40-26 in Cardiff, and he is now on the plane to Sydney with coach Brian McClennan's approval.

"He goes with our best wishes. We hope it goes well for him," McClennan said as his side took a clear lead in Super League.

He said clubs supported international football but the poor timing of Friday's Centenary test against a knock-out Challenge Cup round was a problem.

The England Rugby League will abide with the Rugby League International Federation ruling on releasing Webb and Thomas Leuluai but would seek review of the situation when the federation meets in Sydney this week ahead of the test, said CEO Nigel Wood.

"What this situation clearly shows is that the current RLIF rules regarding international call ups need reviewing to take into account the modern game and the Rugby League calendar.

"It was particularly disappointing that the NZRL went ahead with their selection of two players against the request of the RFL and the player's clubs," Wood said.

The NZRL will want assurance out of that meeting that players in Super League will be cleared for release before it agrees to further mid-season tests against the Aussies, who now appear to be on their side, mostly so as to ensure a competitive team and a good financial return.

The Kiwis began assembling at their Bondi hotel yesterday. They have no new injury concerns following round eight of the NRL. Kangaroos centre Justin Hodges pulled out of the game against Wests Tigers on Saturday with bone bruising to his shoulder and is in doubt for the test. Darren Lockyer must pass a fitness test on the knee on which he had surgery off-season.

Meanwhile, Kangaroos coach Ricky Stuart continues to talk up the aggro, claiming Carl Webb and Paul Gallen were "both men who are up for challenges, won't take a backward step and who are up for war. Because that's exactly what this game will be."

Stuart said in his column in Sydney's Sunday Telegraph that he expected Friday's test to be the biggest challenge since he took over as coach in 2006. Kiwis captain Roy Asotasi and his teammates had a major motivation in wanting to prove they were right in forcing a coaching change away from Gary Kemble.

Just 6000 tickets had been sold by the weekend though officials are hoping for a crowd in excess of 25,000 at the 40,000-capacity Sydney Cricket Ground. England's Ashley Klein will whistle the Anzac game.

- NZ Herald

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