Referee Smith retires
Former Super League referee of the year Russell Smith, who has spent the last two years in Australia, has announced his retirement after 15 years as a first-grade referee.
The 42-year-old from Castleford has refereed 39 matches in the Telstra Premiership and hopes to remain involved in the game in Australia.
"I've loved the challenge of refereeing in the NRL and I've loved being in Australia," he said.
"It would be great if I could continue to have some involvement in the game going forward but certainly I've reached a stage where it's time to retire from the on-field duties.
"I've been lucky enough to have had a long and rewarding career and I would always encourage young people to give it a go because it really is a satisfying challenge."
Since reaching first grade in 1991, Smith refereed around 500 first-grade games, 28 internationals, five Challenge Cup finals, three Super League Grand Finals, two Tri-Nations Ginals and a World Club Challenge.
"Russell provided some valuable experience to the squad at a time when we were encouraging some young blokes coming through," Australian referees coach Robert Finch said.