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The New South Wales Rugby League sends its deepest condolences to the family and friends of former referee, Paul McBlane.

Mr McBlane officiated in 97 (6 NSWRL, 55 ARL, 36 NRL) first grade matches, having made his debut in 1994.

“Paul came from the Newcastle area as a referee and then came to Sydney,” said NSWRL Referees Association Chairman Paul Simpkins

“He had a great passion for Rugby League, and we refereed together at both NRL and NSWRL level, and then continued post-career in the system coaching referees in the NSWRL competition.”

“He gave a fair chunk of his life to the game.”

As a mark of respect following Mr McBlane’s passing this week, the referees participating in the Auckland Nines this weekend will all wear black arm bands.