RUGBY League lovers from around the region are being urged to pick up a whistle and become referees, in light of declining numbers.
Last season, Group 4 had 62 registered referees for senior and junior competitions, while Group 19 had 86 and Group 21 had 27 referees.
In 2020, Group 4 may only have access to four first grade accredited referees, which has prompted the region's referee's representatives to search for new blood to help fill out the ranks.
North West NRL referee development officer Ryan Schmiedel said there were a number of benefits to becoming a referee.
"I would have to say, the camaraderie you form with your fellow referees is one of the true perks of the job," Schmiedel told the Leader.
"I've been doing this for six years and I have been to a lot of different places and met some really great people.
"I was pretty lucky with my family being heavily involved with the game to know a lot of people before I came onboard.
"But even for new people, there is a lot of support to help them settle in and form new bonds."
Group 4's proposed 2020 expansion to include a six-team Premier League competition could stretch referee numbers across the Group.
However, Schmiedel said both parties had been "regularly communicating" to ensure each game would be properly officiated.
"Adding more games could make things a little bit more difficult, but we are looking at ways to work around that," he said.
"Group 4 has been really supportive, a few years ago their decision to not split games and have all of each club's teams play on the same day, at the same place, was really helpful for us.
"That formula looks to be the way this new Premier League competition will work, which should make it pretty easy for us to supply enough referees.
"As well as that, the NRL has launched a new mobile app which allows volunteers to become an accredited touch judge in just 20 minutes.
"The app will allow more club volunteers to take on the touch judge role, which should help us spread our resources further.
"Either way, I'm certain all first grade games next year will have a full allotment of referees."
All three groups will be hosting a foundation referee course in the new year, with the first in Tamworth on February 15, Muswellbrook on February 22 and Inverell on February 29.
"Registrations for the courses will be available by late December," Schmiedel said.
"Registrations to the associations will be open by January.
"Anyone interested in becoming a referee can contact me via email@example.com.
"It's a lot of fun and we'd love to have some new blood in our ranks."