As Wigan Warriors, Warrington Wolves, Hull KR, Leigh Leopards and Catalans Dragons fight with Champions St Helens for the Super League trophy it is easy to forget that other people are battling to make the Grand Final.
These are of course referees who are battling for the honour of officiating at Old Trafford in the Grand Final.
Based on the referees involved in the play offs, the short list is Jack Smith, Ben Thaler, Liam Moore and Chris Kendall.
Liam Moore has taken charge of the last two Grand Finals whilst Kendall was in charge of the 2023 Challenge Cup Final and the 2019 decider.
Ben Thaler has bags of experience but for Jack Smith it would be an Old Trafford debut.
Hull KR v Leigh Leopards
29th September, KO: 20:00
M Com: G. Kershaw
Referee: J. Smith
Reserve Referee: M. Griffiths
Touch Judge 1: M. Craven
Touch Judge 2: L. Rush
Video Referee: C. Kendall
Reserve Touch Judge: T. Gibbs
Time Keeper: D. Milburn
St Helens v Warrington Wolves
30th September, KO: 12:45
M Com: P. Smith
Referee: B. Thaler
Reserve Referee: A. Moore
Touch Judge 1: C. Worsley
Touch Judge 2: R. Thompson
Video Referee: L. Moore
Reserve Touch Judge: C. Charnock
Time Keeper: N. Hope
This news comes after three Super League players, and two head coaches, have been fined for recent breaches of the Operational Rules relating to criticism of match officials.
Luke Gale of Wakefield Trinity, Sam Lisone of Leeds Rhinos and Jake Trueman of Hull FC have each been fined £500, with £250 suspended until the end of the 2024 season, for breaching Operational Rules D1:1 (b) – Improper Conduct, and C2.10 – Behaviour Standards.
In each case, the criticism appeared on social media.
Letters to the players include the following explanation: “Please be aware that your position in the game as a Super League player clearly gives you significant standing within the sport and you should be more considered when discussing such matters.”
Salford’s head coach Paul Rowley has been fined £4,000 – £2,500 of which is suspended until the end of the 2024 season – for his comments following the Betfred Super League fixture against St Helens on August 6.
Huddersfield’s head coach Ian Watson has been fined £500, suspended until the end of the 2024 season, for his comments following a Betfred Super League fixture at St Helens on August 13.