Robert refs Down Under for Rugby League World Cup

REFEREE Robert Hicks described it as the “pinnacle” after being chosen to officiate in the Rugby League World Cup.

The 36-year-old from Austerlands was named on the 27-strong list of officials and among a group of 10 referees.

Referee Robert Hicks (Picture by Alex Whitehead/

Officials have to multi-task so Robert is to double up as a video referee.

Robert is due to make up bow by refereeing Australia v France on Friday, November 3 and two days later he will be video referee for Italy v USA.

He said: “I have been lucky to referee some very big matches, but this will be the pinnacle, a world class event and like football’s World Cup.

“It will be a great learning experience and hopefully I will referee well.”

Robert has refereed big matches including the 2016 Grand Final and internationals between England and Australia at the Olympic Stadium, London, and England v New Zealand at Huddersfield during the Four Nations Tournament.

He has also refereed before in Australia, the Pacific Test series between Papua and New Guinea and Fiji and been touch judge in the final between Australia and New Zealand in Wellington, New Zealand.

“It was a phenomenal experience, one I liken to being involved in a Premier League football match,” he said.

Robert added that the NRL in Australia is on a different scale to the Betfred Super League here.

“When you look at the amount of money NRL clubs spend on facilities, it is on a par with the top Premier League football clubs,” he said.

Robert is based in Brisbane and arrived one week before the World Cup kicked off to acclimatise.

He took up refereeing aged 15 after realising he would never play the game to a high level – he was a junior at Saddleworth Rangers.

He was refereeing open-age rugby aged 17 saying it toughened him up learning how to manage people.

Robert and partner Amy live in Austerlands with their children Charlie, 6, and Eva, 4.


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