Phil Bentham: Ex-Super League referee resigns from dual role

Phil Bentham took charge of seven major finals during his refereeing career, including four Challenge Cup finals and two Grand Finals
Phil Bentham took charge of seven major finals during his refereeing career, including four Challenge Cup finals and two Grand Finals

Phil Bentham has resigned from his dual Super League referee-overseeing role.

The 49-year-old ex-Super League referee took on the role of match officials coach after being forced to retire from officiating because of a neck injury sustained during a game in 2018.

He had also been acting as head of match officials since Steve Ganson went on an extended period of leave due to an unspecified medical issue.

The Rugby Football League says a recruitment process is now under way.

A statement said: "Phil Bentham has informed the RFL that he will leave next month to pursue other career opportunities outside the sport.

"We thank Phil for his fine refereeing career and the work he has done since, as a match officials coach and recently as acting head of match officials.

"A recruitment process is in place to fill two match officials coach roles."

Widnes forward Chris Houston got a two-game ban following the incident that forced Phil Bentham to quit as a referee with a neck injury in 2018
Widnes forward Chris Houston got a two-game ban following the incident that forced Phil Bentham to quit as a referee with a neck injury in 2018

There is no timescale yet on if and when Ganson can return to his head of match officials post.

Bentham, from Leigh, took charge of seven major finals during his career, including the 2011 and 2014 Super League Grand Finals, as well as four Challenge Cup finals and the 2014 Four Nations Final in New Zealand.

His refereeing career came to an end in 2018, when a collision with Widnes forward Chris Houston resulted in him suffering a slipped disc in his neck.

Bentham also suffered a fractured tibia in an incident with Hull KR's Shannon McDonnell in 2012, and pulled a hamstring while touch judging a cup match between Leeds and Huddersfield in 2015.

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