Liam Rush holds no fears about telling grizzled veteran rugby league players the error of their ways – at the age of 21. Credit Gary Carter The Sun

Compared to clambering out of a car on its roof on a motorway, refereeing stars older than him is simple. Liam Rush has made the full time list of officials at the age of 21

Being the victim of racist abuse from spectators is certainly not.

Rush has been promoted to the full-time match officials’ list for 2022, meaning he could take charge of Super League matches next year.

Not bad for someone who earlier this year found himself on the M62 after a collision. Police investigations are ongoing.

“Reffing hasn’t really gone to plan,” said Rush. “2020 was cancelled because of Covid-19 and I haven’t done too many games this year because of the crash.

“It could’ve been a lot worse, though. I was driving on the M62 and three cars behind me were weaving in and out of traffic.

“I thought I’d just move over as I was coming off at the next junction, I was five minutes from home. As I indicated, I looked in the mirror and saw a car hurtling towards me.

“He flew into the back of me, my car flipped on its roof. I managed to crawl out and ended up with a sore neck and back and a severe concussion.

“I had to speak with the Rugby Football League’s doctor to get the all clear to get back involved.

“So there are no nerves about refereeing older players. You respect them, you get that respect back.”

Rush has already taken charge of matches in third tier League One and been a touch judge at about 50 Super League games.

He cannot be involved with Huddersfield matches as younger brother Kieran, 19, is a player there but he could take charge of former team-mate at Batley Boys, Leeds’ Jack Broadbent.

Rush added: “When I was 12, a woman called Sue Winner – who everything ran through – approached our team and said, ‘There’s a refs’ course on, does anyone want to do it?’

Rush did his referees’ course alongside former team-mate, Leeds’ Jack Broadbent “I carried on playing but could never really tackle, reffing seemed a better option. “Jack and I did that course and I’ve reffed him at academy level. As soon as the game starts, he’s just another player.

“I was 12 when I first reffed an Under-8s game and the more I did it, the more confident I became and the better I got.

“And being full-time, I’m in the right environment to start kicking on and making more progress.”

While Rush is ready for playful banter thrown at him from the stands – ‘Does your mother know you’re here?’ and the like – fans have crossed the line before.

Rush, who worked for his family truck mechanic firm doing admin, added: “I’m mixed race, so I’ve had a couple of incidents of racial abuse – that’s the line that can be crossed.

“It doesn’t happen often but when it does it knocks you for six.

“You never really learn how to deal with or react to it. It still hurts as if it’s the first time, every situation has been different, so there’s no regimented response to it.”