CI News has been reliably informed that a referee from Auckland Rugby League Referees will manage the showdown between defending champions Avatiu Nikao Eels and Titikaveka Bulldogs at the BCI Stadium in Nikao.
This follows criticism against some of the decisions made by the Rarotonga-based referees in the competition this year.
Some fans and club officials were infuriated with a couple of calls which were deemed controversial in last week’s final playoffs between the Eels and Tupapa Panthers.
Eels eventually won the match 26-24.
The local referees association was expected to be relayed the news of an overseas-based ref officiating the main final, at their meeting last night.
Bulldogs coach Meti Noovao earlier this week called on the Cook Islands Rugby League Association to provide them with top-class refereeing.
Reiterating on last week’s incidents, he said the finalists deserved top quality refs in the showdown.
“Both teams, Albert (Nicholas) and me, and the players deserve quality officiating in the final,” Noovao said.
“We have worked really hard to come this far and the last thing we would want is our effort being ruined by poor officiating.
“No offence to the referees, we understand they are human beings and tend to make mistakes like we all do, but for important matches like the final, we can’t afford such let down.”
Noovao said the final would be an exciting one as both teams would be putting their bodies on the line to claim the title.
“At the end of the day, the coaches want to bring the best out of the players and this should surely lead to a spectacular match.
“It’s going to be a high skilled game and we expect a high skilled referee to take control of this match.”