Auck­land Rugby League ref­eree a road war­rior

Central Leader - - HEALTH & BEAUTY - SAMHEWAT

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.

SUPPLIED

Hone Kareko is an Auck­land Rugby League ref­eree who drives seven hours ev­ery week­end to of­fi­ci­ate.

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