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Byron Shire
September 28, 2023

401 games and counting for rugby referee

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Graham Cook was happy back in 2014, and is still looking for many more years behind the whistle. Photo supplied

Dedicated local rugby union referee Graham Cook achieved the remarkable feat of officiating at 401 first grade matches last weekend.
‘I refereed my first match in 1989, as a way to keep active and to give something back to the game.
‘It’s really good fun. You get flak sometimes, which is not much fun. But it can also be brilliant to be out there helping the players to enjoy their day.
‘There is also plenty of work involved behind the scenes, keeping up the fitness levels and staying on top of the yearly rule changes.’
Of late he has probably been pulling out the red and yellow cards a bit more often than usual but that is a function of the new emphasis on player safety from the administrators.
If anything being well known to the players keeps things running more smoothly ‘as they have learned which buttons not to push,’ he said.
Graham has no plans to slow down and notes that there are officials running around who are 71 years old. ‘I’m still agile enough’, he said.
‘Far North Coast Rugby Union would like to thank Graham for his dedication to refereeing and rugby; rain, hail or shine, week in and week out over the last 35 years,’ zone administrator Wayne Millane said.

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  1. Congratulations to Mr Cook on a magnificent achievement.
    Refereeing any sport can be a thankless task but the games cannot go on without a ref.
    Spectators need to be mindful of this and lay off their unnecessary criticism of umpires of all sports.


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