60-years-young rugby league referee Ray "Sugar" Ryan inspires

Stan Gordon - Bega District News

At age 60, Group 16 rugby league referee Ray “Sugar” Ryan is an inspiration to all those associated with the game.

On any given game day during the season, he will have multiple duties from being linesman for the U18s and Ladies League Tag, to being the centre referee for both Reserve and First grades.

Group 16 Referee Association secretary Norm Ingersole said he was amazed at the stamina and commitment to refereeing shown by Ryan, particularly at his age.

Ryan himself no stranger to competitive sport having boxed in the Masters Games numerous times and also playing men’s hockey, said he really enjoyed being a referee.

“It’s rewarding, keeps you fit and you get the best spectator spot only metres away from the action,” he said. “And when you have a good game, it’s just as rewarding as having a good game as a player.”

Ryan coaches boxing three times a week at the United Fitness Studio in Bega, as well as being a coach for ACT Boxing.

He won three Master Games in the Over 55 Open Category in the 81-91kg division and Ingersole joked he defeated younger opponents because people his age were scared. 

Ryan has been with the association for 21 years, has refereed seven grand finals and is now a life member of the association. 

Group 16 always needs new referees and line judges, and anyone interested can contact Norm Ingersole on 0415 855 054.

“Not that Ray is going to retire, Ray will just keep going and going,” he said. 


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