Rugby referee reaches the top

By Sean Butters

FAMED LOCAL Rugby League referee Robert Hicks has taken his career to the next level – by officiating at the World Cup.

Robert, 32, gave up a career as a solicitor in 2010 to become a full time referee andis currently officiating in the Rugby League.

And as World Cup was held in October and November, he admitted that the chance to preside over the New Zealand v Scotland World Cup quarter-final was a career highlight.

Robert, who has refereed since he was 15, said: “The World Cup has been a fabulous tournament – great crowds, good atmosphere, great rugby.

“It’s really showcased what’s best about rugby league.

“I was involved in the Super Grand Final this year but to be in an international competition in front of full houses, it’s probably the pinnacle of my career.

“I was offered an opportunity to go full-time and I think I made the right one. NorthAinley Halliwell Solicitors were very supportive and are one of the reasons I’ve got to where I am.”

Robert has previously been a touch judge at the Carnegie Challenge Cup Final and was always destined for a glittering career as he comes from a rugby-loving family.

He added: “My granddad Ken was president of Saddleworth [Rangers] and my dad Ray was an ex-player and coach in the professional game.

“I got talking to a couple of referees when I was a teenager, they said I should give it a try and I really enjoyed it.”