Rugby League match officials hanging up the whistle and flag
The RFL has paid tribute to Gareth Hewer and Tony Martin, two match officials who have given outstanding service to the sport.
Gareth Hewer has been a familiar and respected official since he joined the Grade 1 list for the 2004 season, having emerged through the community game in his native Cumbria.
His numerous big match appointments included the Challenge Cup Final at Wembley in 2016 – when Hull FC beat Warrington Wolves 12-10.
Gareth, who turned 40 last month, advised the RFL earlier this year that he would be stepping down from regular officiating at the end of the season because of a change to his shift patterns at Sellafield – although he will continue in a key role assisting in the development of match officials in Cumbria.
Tony Martin’s involvement with dozens of major matches has been as a touch judge – including the 2000 World Cup Final at Old Trafford, five Challenge Cup Finals between 2001-10, and 10 Super League Grand Finals between 2000-15.
He was a regular throughout the first 25 seasons of the Super League from 1996-2020 before stepping aside quietly at the end of last season at the age of 65.
However he has also been a stalwart of the community game in his native Oldham and well beyond, and has continued to officiate at National Conference League level this season.
Steve Ganson, the RFL’s Head of Match Officials, said: “I can’t speak highly enough of the contribution made by Gareth and Tony to Rugby League over the last three decades.
“They have been true unsung heroes, which is the way they like it. They have earned respect from administrators, coaches, players and supporters of the sport, and played a low-profile part in hundreds of matches at all levels.
“I’m delighted that they will be staying involved in different capacities, such is their love of the sport. We thank them and praise them for all they have done.”