‘Touchie’ with a place in history

Brien Gately, former first grade referee, hold a rare place in history as being part of a ‘first and last’ ofa changing era.

In 1981 Brian was touch judge in the last New South Wales v Queensland match played under residential rules (State of Origin became the norm in 1982).

And in 1990 was one of the two first in-goal referees used in rugby league – during the 1990 Canberra-Penrith grand final.

Brien was still recovering after having kidney stones removed when he was visited by Northern Sydney committee welfare office Fred Jackson.

Brien became a referee in 1970 in Leeton where he was stationed with the police force but returned to Sydney to progress through the Manly juniors to be graded as a touch judge. He became one of the most successful and recognisable ‘touchies’ over the next two decades.

He officiated in many representative matches, including the Australia-France T of 1981, Origin and grand finals.

Brien is also a life member to the Manly Warringah Rugby League Referees Association and the NSW Rugby League Referees Association (No.126).

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