By Peter Jessup
Wellington's new stadium appears to have priced itself out of the market for league's Tri-Series, with the New Zealand Rugby League kicking the stadium trust's business plan for a Great Britain-Kiwi test to touch.
If the October 29 game was played there the New Zealand Rugby League would lose money, according to the plan, and that was not acceptable said chairman Gerald Ryan.
Christchurch, Palmerston North and Rotorua remain possible venues.
Meanwhile, the three participating countries have put forward referee and touch judge panels for the four-match series that kicks off with the Kiwis versus Australia on October 15.
The Aussies have nominated Bill Harrigan, Tim Mander and Steve Clark with the NZRL immediately replying that it would pick from Harrigan and Mander given Clark's inconsistencies.
Great Britain has named last year's test refs Russell Smith and Stuart Cummings along with the lesser-known Mike Donnelly. New Zealand has put forward former ARL ref Phil Houston and Dave Pakieto with a third to be added.
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The Auckland Warriors have re-signed wing Lee Oudenryn for two further seasons to take him to a likely career-ending age of 31. They remain in the race for St George centre Jamie Ainscough, who will decide his future once the Dragons' finals series is over.
The club is close to signing another NRL-grade backrower, an as yet unnamed journeyman with three years' experience.
Also about to be upgraded to the playing squad are development players Clinton Toopi (Otahuhu) and Henry Perenara (Glenora).
It has also finalised its Queensland Cup options for 2000, splitting with Wynnum-Manly and rejecting an approach from new club Mackay to go solely with Brisbane Souths next season.