Rugby league needs more referees, says Phil Clarke

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josie andrews
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Rugby league needs more referees, says Phil Clarke

Post by josie andrews » Fri Mar 01, 2019 10:36 am

Sky Sports pundit Phil Clarke has joined the St Helens Rugby League Referees Society (StHRLRS) and hopes others may follow his example.

Grade 1 touch judge Innes Arnold welcomed Clarke to the society earlier this week and the former Great Britain and England international has put his support behind the recruitment drive for more match officials.

Since 2004, over a dozen St Helens members, boys and girls aged 14-18 have taken charge of Challenge Cup Final curtain raisers at Wembley and at the Principality Stadium.

Furthermore, the current professional ranks boast 13 StHRLRS members with four having officiated across the Atlantic during the Toronto Wolfpack's 15 home games.

The Sky Sports commentator said: "Rugby League needs new referees, let's find them together! The importance of referees and the work of Societies like St Helens is crucial to securing the future of our sport."

Clarke attended a society meeting in November and admits he was surprised by the perspective he gained of rugby league match officials, adding: "I went along to share a few funny stories and anecdotes about my career involved in many aspects of rugby league, but I came away having learned much more.

In a whole lifetime in the sport, I was amazed that I had not engaged with many match officials or noticed just how passionate about the game and hardworking they are.

"We all know the saying that without a referee we would have no game to enjoy, yet fans, players and coaches are quick to criticise their work. Despite having flack thrown at them from all quarters, they love the game.

"Like players, they work so hard at fitness, positioning, communication and teamwork, and how to stay calm enough to manage conflicting interests under pressure."

Now, having collected his honorary membership by St Helens RLRS, former GB captain and team manager Clarke is determined to help boost the sport with the influx, retention and mentioring of referees at all levels of the game.

He said: "It is vital for the future of the Sport to find and encourage new officials. Whether men or women, boys or girls, whether former players or those who wanted to play but never got a chance: all followers of the game can consider having a go with a whistle or a flag.

"It's the same all over the country. If there are rugby league fixtures being arranged, there is an insatiable demand for officials. There are never enough.

"If anybody wants to give it a go, the opportunities are there for them, and everybody with the game's future at heart must do everything possible to encourage them."

For more information on how to become a rugby league match official, click here. ... h_official ... hil-clarke
Anyone can support a team when it is winning, that takes no courage.
But to stand behind a team, to defend a team when it is down and really needs you,
that takes a lot of courage.

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