RFL announce changes to Match Officials list

Steven Hughes
Jack Smith Match Official

The RFL have announced several changes to the names on the match officials list ahead of the 2022 season.

It has already been announced that Robert Hicks would be stepping aside as a full-time official to focus on a new role within the RFL. He will still officiate on a part-time basis.

Also going part-time in the 2022 season is Scott Mikalauskas. Mikalauskas became a full-time official in 2016. He initially took up the whistle whilst playing for North West Men’s League side Golborne Parkside.

The 32-year-old cited family reasons and long-term employment as the reason why he has stepped down from full-time refereeing.

He told the RFL website: I’ve decided to take a step back into a part time role for a number of reasons. Ultimately family comes first, and this will allow me to stay involved at the highest levels of the game but also have the opportunity to follow a long-term employment opportunity away from rugby.

“I’ll still be involved with the select group of officials as a referee and touch judge and use my experience to help the current group and hope to stay involved in the professional game on matchdays for many years to come.”

A familiar face returns to full-time officiating

Meanwhile, Jack Smith is among those to step up to a full-time role. Smith was a full-time referee back in 2016, but stepped away a year later.

Also making the step up are Liam Rush and James Vella. Rush becomes the youngest member of the full-time squad, at just 21.

Meanwhile, Vella came over from Australia and was a member of the St George society. The 32-year-old had experience in the NRL Holden Cup, with over 250 games before moving to the UK.

Head of Match Officials at the RFL Steve Ganson added: First, on behalf of the RFL and the wider game I thank Scott Mikaluaskas for his five years on the full-time panel.

“Scott has been a valuable member of our squad – and like Robert Hicks, it is very good news that he will remain available as a part-time official.

“The Full-Time Squad for 2022 has a good blend of experience and some new faces who I am sure will take the opportunities they will be presented with throughout 2022 and beyond. Liam, Jack and James will join us for the start of our off-season programme in December.”

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