Robert Hicks was appointed as the RFL’s Director of Operations and Legal over the weekend meaning his video refereeing role at the France versus England international double header in Perpignan was his last as a full-time match official.
Hicks has established himself as one of the most impressive officials in the top flight since making the decision to go full-time in 2011, though he will remain in a part-time capacity alongside his new role.
But, just how did social media react to the news?
The overwhelming response was to congratulate Hicks on the news as well as a stellar career as a full-time official.
Congratulations on a superb career. The messages from former players, clubs and officials are a measure of your standing, respect and impact within the game 👏🏻👏🏻
— Gareth Walker (@garethwalker) October 24, 2021
Another was quick to highlight Hicks’ achievements within the game.
Good luck mate and congratulations on a fantastic career
— Jason Netherton (@netherton_jason) October 24, 2021
Former rugby league star Richie Mathers also waded into the debate.
Good luck and congratulations on a great career, always had a laugh and stern when i chirped too much but the respect was both ways. Good luck in your next role
— Richard Mathers (@RichardMathers) October 24, 2021
One fan felt it was good for the game that he was staying in rugby league.
Great job Robert. Delighted that you will still be involved in the game in a full time role at the RFL and also as a part time official. Thanks for all you have done so far for our sport.
— Chris Brindley (@chris_brindley_) October 24, 2021
Another praised Hicks for the advice he will be giving to other budding referees.
Been the best for some time now. Looking forward to his knowledge, experience and common sense being applied to this new role.
— Simon Lenagan (@SimonLenagan) October 24, 2021
Another supporter has backed Hicks in his success on the field.
I’ve cursed you many a time at live games but the truth is when I’ve watched the game back at home, 99 times out of a hundred you’ve got the decisions right, congratulations on a top class career and all the best in your new role
— Jon Lyon (@JonLyon65) October 24, 2021
Another said he would miss seeing Hicks in the middle of the field.
Congratulations on the appointment, gonna miss seeing you in the middle.
— Colin Bullock (@hosm2368) October 24, 2021
One supporter called on Hicks to help change the rules.
Good luck. Please get rid of 6 again. Stop players feigning injury to stop the game. Keep the game continuous. Police offside more closely especially at turnover or lost ball.
— David Holding (@warrior13david) October 24, 2021
Another called on Hicks to do something about the marketing side of the governing body.
Congratulations. Start with the marketing department. Seems to be non existent.
— Tom (@tomdwood) October 24, 2021
One Hull FC fan made a sarcastic joke about Jake Connor, whilst wishing him well.
At least Jake Connor won’t get sin binned as much. Good luck in your new role Rob.
— Danny Reuben (@DannyR74) October 24, 2021
One even called Hicks a “voice of reason”.
One of the most genuine people within RFL .
Sees all sides not just a blinkered view .
Great appointment moving forward a voice of reason 👏👏👏 https://t.co/ufduHUmnOH
— Mick Doyle (@chairmick) October 24, 2021
The support for Hicks has been mainly mainstream throughout rugby league.
Superb appointment, no one with the combination of knowledge of/passion for the sport, legal skills and just being a really great individual. 👏
— Matt Barnes (@barnesy5k) October 24, 2021
All the best Rob, hope to see you still occasionally officiating. You have been one if the best in recent years and always make me smile
— DW Esquire (@Dam64Worden) October 24, 2021
One Championship supporter can’t wait to see Hicks in the lower leagues.
Not all heroes wear capes, some heroes blow whistles too. Congratulations on an amazing Super League career Robert Hicks, and all the best for the next chapter of your journey.
— The Game Caller 🗣🎙📻 (@TheGameCaller) October 24, 2021