Phil Clarke has joined the 'enemy camp' as he helps to recruit more Rugby League match officials.
Clarke - a former Wigan and Sydney Roosters star and currently a Sky TV pundit - has become an honorary member of the St Helens Rugby League Referees' Society for this season.
“Rugby League needs new referees, so let's find them together,'' said the one-time Great Britain and England international and winner of two World Club Challenges during his time in the Cherry and White colours.
The 47-year-old said: “The importance of referees and the work of societies like St Helens is crucial to securing the future of our sport.”
The former GB captain and team manager accepted an invitation to speak at a society meeting in November and experienced something unexpected.
"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.”
Phil was pleased to be offered honorary membership by St Helens RLRS to help boost their objectives to recruit, develop, mentor and retain referees for the benefit of all levels of rugby league.