Kendall helps out the NHS

Referee Chris Kendall is among the army of volunteers across the country to have signed up to help the NHS.

The Super League match official, who took charge of last year’s Grand Final, signed up when his department was furloughed by the RFL at the start of April.

Kendall explained: “Both my girlfriend Sarah and I were in the fortunate position that we’ve been furloughed, so we’re still receiving 80 per cent of our wages.

“We’re both healthy and felt a responsibility to do something.

“We felt a bit helpless at first while doing nothing, so this is our way to give a little back.

“Our local council in Kirklees had put a scheme in place to try and take a little pressure off the NHS.

“So we’ve been doing some shopping and taking magazines round to a few of our neighbours, that kind of thing.

“We’re now on the NHS app as well, which sends us a notification if there’s somebody who can’t get to a pharmacy or buy essential items because they can’t or shouldn’t leave the house.”

Although the referees do not have set fitness programmes during furloughing, Kendall says they are all doing everything they can to be in the right condition to return quickly when the sport is able to.

He said: “None of us are naive enough to think we can take our foot off the pedal.

“We know full well that when the season does kick back in it’s probably going to be full on for everybody.

“It’s been difficult, because as referees we had our best ever season training with former Leeds forward Ian Kirke, and our collective testing was the best it’s been.

“We went into the season firing and this has put a bit of a dampener on it.

“But I’ve been doing a lot of training with Sarah – we’re both very competitive and when we get onto the field near us we’re racing each other.

“Then at home we’ve been doing some strength stuff, although that hasn’t been as easy with two playful labradors.

“It’s about trying to keep the fitness miles in your legs while you’re not in a training group; that’s the difficult thing.

“What I would say is that Ralph Rimmer and Steve Ganson at the RFL have been fantastic with us through all this. There’s been regular contact with us before and after being furloughed to check on our wellbeing and families.

“We couldn’t have asked for better line managers.”