Shayne Hayne has been dumped as referee for Origin III, with Gerard Sutton to officiate alongside Ben Cummins.
Shayne Hayne has been dumped from refereeing next week’s State of Origin III, and Gerard Sutton will make his interstate debut alongside Ben Cummins.
Hayne was heavily criticised for his performance in the first two games by both NSW and Queensland.
With Hayne axed, Cummins – his officiating partner for Origin I and Origin II – becomes the lead referee.
Despite Hayne being overlooked for Suncorp Stadium on July 9, as NSW chase a series clean sweep for the first time since 2000, referees boss Tony Archer said in a statement he was happy with the 2013 grand final whistleblower.
“The change in the team is not a reflection on the performance of the referees in the first two games – we were comfortable with their performances,” he said.
“Shayne Hayne remains one of our top referees and, subject to form, I would expect him to feature in the finals series.”
The Blues camp was livid over a number of decisions Hayne made late in their epic 12-8 Game I win in late May.
He was blamed by both the Blues and Maroons for allowing the niggle that marred Game II, and for failing to police the ruck.
Assistant Blues coach Brad Fittler was particularly damning in his assessment after the game, while Queensland playmaker Johnathan Thurston repeatedly accused Hayne of having lost control at ANZ Stadium.
Archer said Sutton deserved the assignment.
“Gerard Sutton was close to selection for the first two matches and refereed this year’s City v Country fixture,” Archer said.
“He was also the standby referee for the first two Origin matches in this series.”
The touch judges for Game III will be Steve Carrall and Jason Walsh.
Bernard Sutton and Luke Patten will be the video referees.