Veteran NRL referee Matt Cecchin has announced his retirement from the sport of rugby league.
Cecchin has officiated a staggering 350 games, beginning his refereeing career in the top flight of Australian rugby league in the early 2000s.
48 years old, Cecchin told The Sydney Morning Herald that it was a recent game between Cronulla and Newcastle that made his decision final, after admitting he was ‘scared to leave his hotel room’.
“Not because I felt threatened, but I wanted to prevent any incident that could make it a drama,” Cecchin said.
“Nobody gave me that feeling, but I didn’t want someone to make a comment in the lift or the foyer.
“When you’re younger, you look for the big decisions to show everyone you can do it. I’m running around now just thinking I want to get through it.”
Cecchin has also been a touch judge and video referee for over 200 more NRL games.
He was in charge of the England versus Tonga semi-final of the World Cup which caused a great deal of controversy when he called full-time on Tonga’s attack as Tonga appeared to score following a ripped ball.
That led to a huge backlash against Cecchin, from which he took a break from the game, only to return. Now, though, he has retired for good.