JOSH Ganson is taking initial steps into his dad's world - rugby league match officialdom.

His St Helens-born father Steve refereed professional rugby league for 18 years before taking on the role of Rugby Football League head of match officials in 2013.

Josh, 21, has come to the end of his playing contract with Widnes Vikings after previously playing in the top flight with Wigan Warriors.

Now he is refereeing some games during the off season to get a feel for the role.

Josh has already officiated four matches, including the recent junior fixture between Wigan sides Orrell St James and Ince Rose Bridge.

“I love playing and I’ll see what playing opportunities come up for next season in either Super League or Championship, but I am quite enjoying refereeing at the minute,” he said.

A growing number of players and former players are considering careers as match officials.

This Saturday the former Huddersfield Giants academy player, Chris Kendall, will referee the New Zealand versus Great Britain Test match in Auckland, having already officiated last weekend’s Lions clash with the Tonga Invitational XIII and the recent Betfred Super League Grand Final.

Now the RFL is urging more former players to consider carving out new careers as match officials.

Liam Moore, RFL recruitment and development manager, and match official, said: “It’s a tremendous boost for the game to see people with rich playing experience joining our ranks and we are keen to recruit even more.

“The opportunities are greater than ever, with career pathways in place for emerging match officials to progress all the way to the top of the game.

"Anybody who’s interested can find out more on our website. You can also test yourself on the laws of the game.”