Auckland Rugby League referee a road warrior
Like every rugby league hopeful, Hone Kareko has dreams of being in the NRL - but not as a player.
Kareko is an Auckland Rugby League referee, and despite claiming he’s not one of the best, he’s up there as one of the most dedicated.
Kareko drives seven hours every weekend - from Rotorua to Auckland and back - just so he can officiate games.
He first started refereeing rugby league eight years ago in Manawatu before moving to Bay of Plenty and Waikato. Eventually, he knew he’d have to start officiating in Auckland if he wanted to progress.
‘‘It was always a dream to go to Auckland, but how I was going to do it took a bit of time and I had to tick a few boxes off,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s the best place to be, with all the history and the number of teams.’’
Kareko currently refs reserve grade in the Fox Memorial - Auckland Rugby League’s (ARL) premier competition - as well as the Sharman Cup - the second tier. He wants to keep progressing and eventually make the NRL.
He credited his wife Jacque who had supported him throughout his refereeing career, driving up with him from Rotorua every weekend.
Steve Jelicich, referee development officer for ARL, said Kareko was praised by Association coaches both on and off the field.
Hone Kareko is an Auckland Rugby League referee who drives seven hours every weekend to officiate.