Fulton's outburst provokes inquiry

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Rugby League

DAVE HADFIELD

The Australia coach, Bob Fulton, has been accused of verbally attacking the World Cup referees' director, Greg McCallum, at last Sunday's semi- final against New Zealand.

Fulton is charged with approaching McCallum "in an aggressive manner" after the match went into extra time and telling him: "It's a carve up, and it's a slight on your name."

Australia have now made an official complaint about the handling of the match by the referee, Russell Smith, claiming that he only "refereed one team in the second half".

The Australian camp was furious over the penalty count against them as the Kiwis fought back from 20-6 to 20-all, but McCallum said yesterday: "I have studied the video recording of the match and can see no reason whatsoever for criticism of Russell Smith's general handling of the match.

"The heavy penalty count in the second half - 6-1 against Australia - was mainly due to their players holding down opponents at the play-the- ball."

Fulton's behaviour has been referred to the International Board's disciplinary committee, which is likely to meet on Sunday. The tournament director, Maurice Lindsay, said: "It would be a shame to detract from what was a magnificent semi-final and from the final itself, but we cannot let the matter go without investigation."

The Australians would not comment yesterday, beyond their manager, Geoff Carr, saying that the coach had his full support. The affair is the latest manifestation of the bad blood, which has gone well beyond normal Anglo- Australian parameters, during the World Cup. Although a truce was declared for the tournament, Fulton's role as linchpin of the Australian 's resistance to Super League, with which Britain has aligned itself, has never been far from the surface.

The British Amateur Association has complained bitterly about the cancellation of its match against the Cook Islands, the winners of the Emerging Nations World Cup.

The game had been planned for Wigan tonight, but the Cook Islands and their final opponents, Ireland, felt that was too soon after their match. Barla's suggestion that the game should be the curtain-raiser at Wembley had been rejected by Lindsay.

AUSTRALIA (v England, Halifax Centenary World Cup final, Wembley, Saturday): Brasher (Sydney Tigers); Wishart (Illawarra), Coyne (St George), Hill (Manly), Dallas (Sydney Bulldogs); Fittler (Penrith, capt), Toovey (Manly); Pay (Sydney Bulldogs), A Johns (Newcastle), Carroll (Manly), Menzies (Manly), Larson (North Sydney), Dymock (Sydney Bulldogs). Substitutes: O'Davis (Newcastle), Smith (Sydney Bulldogs), M Johns (Newcastle), Kosef (Manly).

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