“The darkest days of my life” – Robert Hicks reveals impact of controversial Challenge Cup Final decision

In light of the clash between Leeds Rhinos and Huddersfield Giants as the two battle for a play-off spot with Warrington Wolves, Hull FC, Hull KR and Salford Red Devils which saw Marcus Griffiths sadly have to deal with homophobic abuse online, it is important to remember the importance of supporting officials.

This is even more important now that former official Robert Hicks has highlighted the difficulties he had after the 2019 Challenge Cup Final between Warrington Wolves and St Helens where he disallowed an early try from Morgan Knowles without consulting the video referee.

Hicks has now spoken about how the decision haunted him on The Bench podcast:

“It was the 2019 Challenge Cup Final with the St Helens vs Warrington game and it’s an infamous try. Morgan Knowles thinks he’s scored a try and I disallow it and run away.

“I was absolutely convinced I was right and in the lead up to that final we had been talking about not using the video referee as much, trying to be confident in decision-making.

“And I just thought straight away live, it’s just no try so I ran away and gave a 20-metre restart and we restarted the game.

“For 20 minutes I never thought anything of it, but then we had a scrum 20 minutes and the BBC are replaying it on the big screen.

“I only looked up because there was an injury to a player and it was on the screen. I was looking for the time and they showed that and then I knew that try was wrong from that moment.”

He explained that he regrets not going to the screen in what was a crucial game in the play-off race:

“If I had my time again, I would have gone to the big screen. That was probably the hardest moment of my career because it was actually easy for the next 60 minutes to get it out of your head because you’re in the middle of a cauldron. It was one of the best games I ever refereed from an intensity point of view.

“But the next two days were probably the darkest few days of my life.”