Ellen Dunger – The Northern Daily Leader
Connor Cooke making name for himself as league referee
Connor Cooke’s decision to switch from playing to officiating rugby league has more than paid off.
The up-and-coming referee took charge of a host of matches at the School Sport Australia under-12 rugby league championships last week.
Cooke gave away playing the game after the sport outgrew him, and he never looked back.
“I was too small to play so there was a course that came along at training one day and I took it up,” the Glen Innes High School student.
“I played one more year of footy while I refereed and then I didn’t really want to go up to play under-16s because I would get pummelled so I stuck to refereeing.”
His refereeing took him to the under-11 and under-12 state championships, and from there he was selected as one of country NSW’s representatives to take the reins at the national championships.
He also earned the right to be one of the two sideline officials in the grand final of the tournament.
He “jumped for joy” when he received the call-up for the nationals and said it is a good pathway to him hopefully reaching the highest levels of the sport.
SUCCESS STORY: Connor Cooke (far left) is joined by other young referees at the under-12 national rugby league championships last week.