NSWRL Referee High Performance squad member Ben Teague will make his NRL debut in the Round Four game between Manly Warringah Sea Eagles and Canberra Raiders at Glen Willow Oval in Mudgee on Saturday.
Teague, who began refereeing with the Newcastle Coalfield Referees Association in 2004, will become NRL Referee #160 after being chosen as one of the touch judges for the match.
Teague was first graded into the NSWRL High Performance squad in 2014. He has been a touch for 223 games in NSWRL Major Competitions including 127 appearances in the NSW Cup.
“It’s been a long journey, coming from Newcastle and having to put in that extra travel and level of commitment to make it to training each week,” Teague said.
“To be a referee it comes with some sacrifice, you put life on hold and miss out on big things like birthdays and weddings to make footy a priority, to make it happen.
“It helps when you have a great support network at home as well as the team around you that you do it with. The days spent carpooling with your friends from Newcastle to get to training and games each week, we all appreciate the work and commitment and support one another.
“You can only make it so far on your own and I couldn’t have done it without those around me, the journey has been a team one and it is rewarding when you’re offered these opportunities.”
Teague will maintain his regular preparation claiming there is no need to change a successful routine.
“I will stick to the norm, get to Mudgee nice and early sit-down with a tea and relax,” he said.
“There is nothing I hate more than being rushed.”
NSWRL Referee High Performance Manager Stuart Raper congratulated Teague on his achievement.
“I know it has been a number of years of hardwork but his dedication, his training and his performance has been second to none in our squad and this is most deserved,” Raper said.
“Considering he has been travelling from Newcastle for training each week and also for games it is many years of sacrifice to make it to this level.
“Myself and the team are all proud of Ben and I am looking forward to watching him on debut this weekend.”