Super League officials Jack Smith and Scott Mikalauskas have become part of the RFL’s full-time Match Officials team.
The pair add to The RFL’s squad of full-time referees, with their arrivals taking the tally of full-time officials up to nine.
For Smith, his appointment completes a remarkable rise up the officiating ranks, having only taken up the whistle four years ago when he was forced to retire from playing after being shot by a Taliban sniper while on duty in Afghanistan.
“I’m excited to be part of the full-time team,” said Smith
“I feel the full-time environment will help me learn more and take my officiating to the next level.
“I’m looking forward to joining a great group of people on a full time basis – they have all been very helpful and welcoming during my spell as a part time official and I’m already looking forward to seeing what 2017 brings.”
“I have a great deal to learn but I can’t wait to get started and learn from the more experienced members of the team.
“For anybody wanting to get into officiating, just give it a try,” added Smith, who made his First Utility Super League debut in June.
“I never thought I would enjoy it quite like I do – get a genuine enjoyment every time I go onto the field to officiate.
“There is a clear pathway for officials of all ages to get to the top.
“My only regret with refereeing is that I didn’t get into it sooner – it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
Mikalauskas switches from his position as House Learning Co-ordinator at Castlebrook High School to take on the role, and added: “I am very pleased to be given this wonderful opportunity to become a full time Match Official.
“I would like to thank all my family, friends and work colleagues at Castlebrook, who have all supported the decision to further my career with the RFL.
“As much as I enjoyed officiating, I never thought it would lead to being given such a fantastic opportunity,” added Mikalauskas, who took charge of the iPro Sport Cup Final at the Summer Bash this year.
“My father inspired me to take up the whistle and my aims now are to become a firm fit in the full time refereeing structure and to continue to progress and improve my performances.
“I have a lot to learn from the experienced members of the team, but training week in, week out will only help build on the foundations that I’ve managed to lay so far.”