Home Sports Dr Clint Sharrad talks being top rugby league official and nuclear scientist

Dr Clint Sharrad talks being top rugby league official and nuclear scientist

staronline@reachplc.com (Julie Stott)

Can you make an atomic bomb? It isn’t the first question that top match officials normally get asked.

And “Do you glow in the dark?” It doesn’t usually crop up either in conversations with rugby league’s men in black.

But touch judge Dr Clint Sharrad hears both jokes regularly, plus a whole raft of others, thanks to his day job.

The 42-year-old, who has run the line at seven Grand Finals, two Challenge Cup finals plus World Club Challenge games, is a nuclear scientist.

He lectures at Manchester University and the list of publications and studies to his name would frankly be mind-boggling to the average fan.

But Aussie-born Sharrad admits he’s well used to the reaction when people discover his surprising fusion of jobs.

Dr Clint Sharrad is a senior lecturer at the University of Manchester

He laughed: “I usually try not to mention the nuclear thing because it scares people away.

“If people ask I’ll tell them I’m a chemist because that’s what my PhD is in but if they delve a bit more I’ll mention that I’m a nuclear scientist and engineer.

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“That’s when they think you’re going to glow in the dark or ask if I can make an atomic bomb.

“Some people think it’s kind of cool at first because of Breaking Bad but then they realise it’s actually quite dull.”

Clint with a colleague at the conclusion of an academic workshop at the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute

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But when Sharrad is mixing in academic circles, there is also a similar intrigue if anyone discovers what his second job is.

The man who grew up in Ipswich, Australia, idolising local hero Alfie Langer, said: “They will ask me which code and I always say the better one!”

Although time consuming, father-of-one Sharrad says the combination of the two jobs gives him the perfect balance.

He said: “It’s good to have a release and do something different. In some respects it’s healthy as a match official to be able to go to another job.

“There are quite a few academics amongst the officials and guys who have jobs that I think are more interesting than mine.

“Basically as a nuclear scientist I’m looking at ways of managing the nuclear legacy, improving nuclear energy as a whole by making it more sustainable and more acceptable to the public as a carbon energy.

“There are a lot of intricacies and specifics but we’re looking very much long term, 20-30 years down the line, looking at ways of making it better for the environment.”

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Sharrad’s two jobs seem worlds apart but he insists: “You would be surprised how much crossover there is, especially nowadays with the nature of assessment and reviews of matches.

“In both fields we can sometimes try to over complicate things when simple is often the best way.”

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