Exciting Test, but the plus was one referee

Kangaroos debutant Shannon Boyd runs at Kiwis Isaac Luke and Kevin Proctor during the trans-Tasman Test at nib Stadium in Perth.
Kangaroos debutant Shannon Boyd runs at Kiwis Isaac Luke and Kevin Proctor during the trans-Tasman Test at nib Stadium in Perth. RICHARD WAINWRIGHT

SATURDAY'S record-breaking trans-Tasman Test in Perth was by no means a classic, but the contest provided plenty of enjoyment for Aussie fans and a reassuring glimpse into the future.

Sure, the Kiwis were disappointing in the 26-6 loss to the Kangaroos, but history tells us they will be much better once the Four Nations tournament gets under way. But the Aussies were good, and will also improve as action heats up over the next five weeks.

What really impressed about the Kangaroos was the manner in which they handled, and tamed, the much-vaunted Kiwi pack. Let's not forget that on the back of their forwards the Kiwis had won three of the past four Tests between the two countries, and are reigning World Cup and Four Nations champs.

Yet with no Parker, Gallen, Woods, Myles, Tamou or Papalii, the new-look Kangaroos pack was exceptional. And giant debutant Shannon Boyd led the assault, with the Test rookie back row of Matt Gillett, Boyd Cordner and Trent Merrin terrific.

Australia's other two debutants, Valentine Holmes and Tyson Frizell, also made eye-catching entries to the international arena and helped confirm the widely held belief that the Kangaroos could field a second-string Test team and still be competitive.

But while the performance of Australia's Test team - under what could justifiably be considered a new regime - was encouraging, for me the performance of referee Matt Cecchin was the highlight.

The chief KPI of a good referee should be the fact he is seen but not heard. And if no one - coaches, players, commentators or fans - whinges about his performance, he has done his job.

Cecchin was by no means perfect. Early on he incorrectly ruled on a ball strip against Darius Boyd and then missed a knock-on from Josh Dugan, but no great advantage was gained by either team.

What impressed about his refereeing was his decisive decision-making, which on the majority of occasions was spot on. Twice he ruled correctly on loose carries and twice on players milking penalties in the play the ball, two of the most contentious and annoying issues in the game.

And, he did it on his own. Cecchin had no one in his ear blabbing away, trying to enforce their judgment on the flow of the game. The entire responsibility was his, and as a result his decisions were concise and confident, and almost always correct.

The one-referee structure will, thankfully, operate for the entirety of the Four Nations tournament. If only the powers-that-be had the gumption to return it to the NRL.

Other aspects of interest from the trans-Tasman Test were the 20,282 crowd, a record for a rugby league match in Perth; the continued ill-discipline of the Kiwis, in particular serial offender Jared Waerea-Hargreaves; and another lacklustre display from Kiwi halfback Shaun Johnson who, for some inexplicable reason, refuses to run the ball.

But, mark my words, the Kiwis will be much tougher when they next play Australia, in Coventry on November 5.

Topics:  bunker kangaroos kiwis nrl referees tony durkin

Death threat to mayor, hospital staff assault heard in court

Peter Midgely leaves the Gladstone court precinct after getting bail.

Peter Midgely made threats to kill former mayor Gail Sellers

'Big relief': Emergency service boost with $150K fire station

START YOUR ENGINES: First officers Danny Devers, Errol Noye, Jason Polzin, Judy Ferrari, Colleen Yarrow, David Kretschmer, Jeremey Banks and Ron Barker from around the region hold up their keys to eight new Yellow Rural Fire Trucks.

"We've got it now and we won't give it up”

Santos sales boost softens blow of slumping oil price

CLAWING BACK: Santos reports a strong third quarter position off the back of bigger sales out of GLNG.

Revenue from LNG sales was $US227 million.

Local Partners

Top floor teams take out The Block's terrace week

Kim and Chris pictured on their winning outdoor terrace in a scene from The Block.

RIVALS Kim and Chris and Julia and Sasha tie in final week of work.

Bob Dylan slammed as 'arrogant' for Nobel silence

Nobel Prize winner Bob Dylan.

Singer the controversial winner of literature Nobel

Shannen Doherty reveals fear of dying in post on chemo

Actor Shannen Doherty shared this image of her lying in a hospital bed after a chemotherapy session.

Actor has been fighting cancer since 2015

Eddie Redmayne's stage fright on latest Harry Potter film

Actor Eddie Redmayne stars in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Actor felt like kid again when he got to film with a wand

Salma Hayek: 'Trump planted story because I turned him down'

Actor Salma Hayek is the latest woman who says U.S presidential nominee Donald Trump acted inappropriately.

Salma Hayek latest woman to accuse Trump of misconduct

Brisbane snake catcher shows who's the Boss

Brisbane snake catcher Julia Baker returns in season two of Snake Boss.

Hit show Snake Boss is back for another season

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June

Push to sell homes that flooded Gladstone's market

Suburban housing in Glenvale, Toowoomba, Friday, October 17, 2014. Photo Kevin Farmer / The Chronicle

URGENT push to cash-up first home buyers investing in Gladstone.

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals

Cherrabah's mega resort plans axed

PLANS for a massive development at Cherrabah have been scrapped.

What our mayor thinks of the new draft SEQPlan

The plan to use the innovative technology as part of the new Maroochydore CBD was cemented on site today when Mayor Mark Jamieson and Envac Asia Region president Chun Yong Ha formally signed the contract for the $20 million underground waste collection system.

New plan accommodates Sunshine Coast Council's vision for growth.