The RFL Officials Course that has been taking place across the Barrow area over the last few weeks concluded with a practical session at Cavendish Park last Sunday, which was helped along by a Super League touch judge.

Ulverston’s Curtly Etchells stepped in at short notice after Grade One referee Gareth Hewer was called away due to work commitments and he helped the juniors through their decision-making, along with RFL officials tutor and Cumbria development officer Barry Hartle.

Etchells gave a tutorial of how to officiate foul play, the different types of calls referees make in games and even to make sure something as mundane as the play the ball was properly completed.

After that, it was into the great outdoors where those on the course put what they had discussed into practice, taking turns in acting the referee during different scenarios.

Etchells said: “I knew it was going on because I was attending it, but I only found out I’d be planning and organising it on the Friday. It’s a good turnout and hopefully some of those here will push on and actually start refereeing. These are all brand new people, so it’s up to them whether they go on to take it seriously and just have to support playing.

“We watched some clips on touch judging, stripping it right back to basics, in terms of what responsibilities are and then looking at incidences of what has happened during games.”

Etchells himself came through this kind of course just over five years ago and rapidly rose through the ranks to run the line in Super League for the first time this season.

Giving some insight into what his job entails, Etchells said: “We’ve got fitness training that we have to do and then there’s meetings in Leeds once a month that I have to attend.

“Before each game, you’ve got to preview the game, so you learn the players’ names and learn players’ traits, to understand the context of the game.

“Then after each game, you’ve got to spend time reviewing it, so that means watching the DVD back and commenting on the decisions that were made.”