Former NRL referee Mick Stone is the guest speaker at the Gloucester Sports Awards on May 12 at the Gloucester Soldiers Club.
Mick began his rugby league career as a referee with Western Suburbs Juniors in 1978. He never actually played the game, stating “I couldn’t play for my life!” He refereed his first 1st grade game in 1981 (Canterbury v South Sydney at Belmore Oval) and, until 1989 when he retired, he was in charge of a total of 206 first grade matches.These included three Grand Finals, four State of Origins (one of which was played at Veterans Stadium in Los Angeles), four test matches, plus City v Country and World Cup matches.
After his retirement, Mick worked in radio for a year before taking up a position as NRL referees’ coach from 1991 to 2008. He was the head coach from 1992 to 1999 which included the infamous Super League era. Mick also officiated in more than 100 matches as a video referee including three grand finals and a number of State of Origin and test matches, some of which were played overseas.
Mick has been credited with the fastest send-off in the history of rugby league. It was on Anzac Day in 1986 at the SCG when Canterbury played South Sydney. According to one newspaper, Canterbury’s Peter Kelly “was dismissed so fast, that he beat the bugler, who had played the last post, off the field.”
Mick refereed the last grand final match to be played at the SCG, the first to be played at the SFS (Sydney Football Stadium) and the only grand final (1986) where no tries were scored. He was also responsible for sending off the last player to be dismissed in a grand final.
Perhaps Mick is best-remembered by Queensland supporters for his efforts during game two of the 1988 State of Origin series at Lang Park when he sent Wally Lewis to the sin bin for backchat. This nearly caused a riot, with the crowd raining beer cans onto the field. Mick stopped the game for safety reasons; it was eventually re-started and the home team came away with the win, 16-6; this incident signalled the end of beer being served in cans at Origin matches. Mick lives at Forster and is involved with the Mid North Coast Branch of the Men of League.
Tickets for the Gloucester Sports Awards are on sale at Furniture One on Church Street, Gloucester.
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