Match official Tony handed a place on Rugby League’s Roll of Honour

TONY Martin has become the 44th member of Rugby League’s Roll of Honour which recognises people who have made outstanding contributions to the game, both on and off the field.

The 66-year-old from Grasscroft was one of the leading officials in the game with a career spanning 34 years as a referee and touch judge.

And with a CV which is the envy of many, Tony ran the line at the 2000 World Cup final, 10 Super League Grand Finals and five Challenge Cup finals as well as officiating at various Test matches.

Tony 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.

Tony Martin on the touchline

However, he has also been a stalwart of the community game and intends to carry of officiating at grassroots level.

“You will find me this year on a Sunday morning refereeing the younger age groups which I love doing,” he explained.

“At that level, it is more about coaching the youngsters than refereeing.”

Tony, a retired heavy goods vehicle driver for British Aerospace, turned to officiating when his playing days ended – he turned out for Oldham amateur side Fitton Hill which is no longer in existence.

He said: “I was fortunate to officiate at a lot of big games, and they don’t come any bigger than the final of the World Cup.

“There were Grand Finals, Challenge Cups and numerous Test matches.”

Tony explained the Australian sides have been the ones who have impressed him most while domestically Wigan dominated with St Helens not far behind.

“It was quite a stint competing 25 years in the Super League and I thought at the age of 65 the time was right to step aside.

“And to be given a place on the sport’s Roll of Honour is special and means a lot to me.”

Steve Ganson, the RFL’s head of match officials, said: “I can’t speak highly enough of the contribution made by Tony to Rugby League over the last three decades.

“He has been a true unsung hero which is the way he likes it. He has 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 he will be staying involved in the game such is his love of the sport.”

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