Matt Cecchin returns to NRL



  • Some good news.

    https://www.smh.com.au/sport/nrl/it-s-the-right-thing-to-do-matt-cecchin-returns-to-nrl-20190308-p512tc.html

    By Christian Nicolussi

    March 8, 2019 — 8.00pm

    Matt Cecchin had a good conversation with his fiance, Brent, at lunchtime on Thursday.

    Then he was on the phone for half an hour with his sports psychologist, Rosie Stanimirovic.

    And with the backing of those two people who saw him at his worst, the man most fans agree is the best whistleblower in rugby league happily committed to an NRL return.

    [
    Support: Matt Cecchin sought the advice of his fiance and sports psychologist before committing to an NRL return.

    Support: Matt Cecchin sought the advice of his fiance and sports psychologist before committing to an NRL return.Credit:NRL Photos

    Cecchin quit the NRL last season for the Super League, but was shocked when the UK government twice rejected his visa application and crushed that English dream. Sports referees were not viewed in the same light as overseas players.

    Cecchin was so committed to making the move he had sold half his furniture and had his pet dog vaccinated.

    Cecchin told the Herald last year about the death threats he received after a contentious – but correct – call during the England v Tonga World Cup semi-final in 2017, and how he was so overcome by anxiety before a game at Shark Park, he almost faked an injury. There was also the constant speculation about a divide in the ranks, including referees bosses Tony Archer and Bernard Sutton.

    But after a short time away from the game and the blessing of his loved ones, not to mention the chance to work closely with former referee and the NRL’s head of elite football operations Graham Annesley, the 45-year-old cannot wait for his second coming.

    "I met with Graham on Thursday, I left him and had lunch with my fiance, we chatted about it and we were both in agreeance the NRL would be a good spot,’’ Cecchin said.

    "I also made a call to my sports psych and had a discussion with her for half an hour and she was in agreeance as well that this was the right thing to do.

    "Coming off the England-Tonga game, there was the trauma caused by that, there was the change last year required by me to officiate in a way that wasn’t natural to me and wasn’t part of my natural game.

    "When I met Brent, it was after doing the 2011 grand final, and everything was ‘you beaut’.

    "Then I did the 2012 Origin I game in Melbourne and it all turned to custard quickly after that.

    "In the last seven years he’s seen the highs and lows, and like any partner he’s instrumental to my happiness.

    "Last year was really tough for us. I ask him how he felt about last year and the word he used was ‘helpless’.

    Last year required by me to officiate in a way that wasn’t natural to me and wasn’t part of my natural game.

    Matt Cecchin

    "There was nothing he felt he could do to help. He didn’t know he was a tremendous help, but he was. It’s no different to any other relationship. Your family and kids often suffer more because they don’t have that in-built desire and resilience to go out there and do a job you can’t explain to anyone why you love it so much.

    "People ask, ‘why do you love refereeing?’. It’s just because. It’s something I’ve done since the age of 12.’’

    Cecchin likes to think of himself as the No.1 referee in the game.

    "It’s a matter of opinion, and the reality is the difference between our No.1 referee and No.20 is subjective and minuscule,’’ Cecchin said.

    "It’s always been that way. I’m sure my first game back in the NRL, whenever that is, half the people will be like, ‘why didn’t you retire?’.

    "That’s never going to change. I’m under no illusions there. Could I be on the back page of the paper by round eight? I hope not, but it’s possible.’’

    Cecchin has kept himself fit by competing in biathlons, but will join the refereeing group for the first time on Monday. It remains to be seen if he will be rushed back for next week’s round-one action.

    He remains a fan of the two-referees system because "if I’m having a dodgy game, I’m less exposed and there’s someone else there helping me out and taking the heat for a couple of sets while I recompose’’.



  • This is great news. He is easily the best referee in the game. Glad he is back and hopefully they let he ref the game as he sees it.



  • Great news, welcome back… best referee in the game by far…



  • How does he get his visa rejected while we cop Russell Smith?

    We should offer the dodgy refs we have imported the opportunity to referee the PNG grand final on Manus Island



  • The dog got vaccinated, how does that make the story. Haha



  • More than happy to see him back in the NRL but the problems that he encountered before he left still remain,the sutton mafia still have control.I am amazed that he couldnt get a visa to the uk he would become the top ref over there easily, maybe that was the problem.



  • I think that now that Graham Annesley is back in change of NRL operations and has pushed Tony Archer aside things might change as far as the Suttons’ are concerned.



  • Lets hope so



  • Welcome back. Good man and a good referee.
    So Matt if you read this remember the Wests Tiger Fans welcome you back. That translates to a 7 to 5 penalty count to us every game.



  • Fiance Brent?
    I completely forgot.



  • This post is deleted!


  • I obviously totally forgot, and seeing the name Brent just confused me.



  • @TIGER:

    I obviously totally forgot, and seeing the name Brent just confused me.

    Me too!

    It’s funny, because I’ve heard people say that footy fans can be homophobic, but everyone loves Cecchin because he’s a good ref, and don’t tell me Manly fans didn’t love Ian Roberts.


  • Banned

    Welcome back home Chicky Cecch



  • Glad he’s staying in the NRL. We need whatever half decent referees we can get.


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