Grace to control ?test

By GREG WHITE

GROUP 2 referee Nathan Grace will continue his stunning rise in the game when he blows the whistle on tonight's international 'test' match between Fiji Bati and Cook Islands.

Grace was originally appointed to handle the support match between Malta and Japan but was elevated when the original appointee leading NRL referee Shayne Hayne ? broke down at training.

"Shayne pulled a hamstring and could possibly have regained fitness but we decided not to take the risk," referees co-ordinator John Cullen said. "The possibility of flying in another NRL referee was discussed but after considering Nathan's outstanding record, he was given the nod."

With Grace taking the step up the ladder, Group 2's other rising referee star, John Cole, has been allocated the Malta-Japan clash, his first major appointment.

Touch judges Adam Williams and Kurt Taylor will assist Grace with Steve Tubbs and Vasco Baston assisting Cole.



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