The RFL today paid tribute to Gareth Hewer and Tony Martin, two match officials who have rendered exceptional service to the sport.
Gareth Hewer has been a known and respected official since joining the freshman roster for the 2004 season, having emerged from community play in his native Cumbria.
His many big-game nominations included the Challenge Cup final at Wembley in 2016 – when Hull FC beat Warrington Wolves 12-10.
Gareth, who turned 40 last month, informed the RFL earlier this year that he would retire from regular officiating at the end of the season due to a change in his working hours at Sellafield – well that he will continue to play a key role in helping the development of match officials in Cumbria.
Tony Martin’s involvement in dozens of major matches has been as a linesman – including the 2000 World Cup final at Old Trafford, five Challenge Cup finals between 2001-10 and 10 grand finals in the Super League between 2000-15.
He was a regular in the first 25 Super League seasons from 1996 to 2020 before quietly retiring at the end of last season at the age of 65.
However, he has also been a mainstay of community play in his native Oldham and far beyond, and has continued to officiate at the National Conference League level this season.
Steve Ganson, Head of Match Officials for the RFL, said: “I cannot speak highly enough of Gareth and Tony’s contribution to the Rugby League over the past three decades.
“They were true unsung heroes, that’s how they like it. They have earned the respect of administrators, coaches, players and sports supporters and have played a low-key role in hundreds of matches at all levels.
“I am delighted that they remain involved in various capacities, such is their love of the sport. We thank them and praise them for all they have done. “