Grand final referee Matt Cecchin has revealed he is gay.
A closely held secret among parts of the rugby league community for the past six years, Cecchin has chosen to go public after his teenage son completed his HSC [school leaving certification] last year.
Engaged to be married 13 years ago, Cecchin told family and friends about his sexuality after reading a copy of retired NRL star Ian Roberts' book Finding Out.
Cecchin becomes the first NRL [national rugby league] official or player since Roberts in 1995 to declare he is gay.
"Like a lot of people, I thought to be gay you had to be feminine, you had to go to nightclubs and you had to be in the scene and I was never into that," said Cecchin, who has refereed 116 NRL games and four Test matches.
"I played sport, I loved rugby league, I liked going to the pub with my mates.
"It wasn't until I read Ian's book that I started to tick a few boxes. In the early days when people found out, I would tell my mates to ask me every question they wanted answered.
"And there were some good ones, especially after a couple of schooners.
"Sure, sometimes it was uncomfortable. My old man played reserve grade for Newtown and comes from far North Queensland.
"I thought he'd take it really, really badly, but he was fantastic."
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