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Mossie blows full-time on refereeing career

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Wallsend Touch Association (WTA) refereeing stalwart and Life Member Ian “Mossie” Mosman has blown the pea out of his whistle for the last time.

And, his decision to retire over the Christmas/New Year period brings down the curtain on an illustrious sporting career that’s spanned almost four decades in the region.

Mossie’s departure is sure to leave a massive hole at the local club, too, according to Kellie-Jean Johnston.

“He’s been the true referee’s referee over his time at Wallsend,” she said.

“Nothing was ever too much trouble for him.

“He’d always happily help train the new refs or officiate any match thrown his way.

“However, the greatest testament to not only how good Mossie was as a referee, but also to how he conducted himself off the field.

“He had an impeccable relationship with many of the players here.

“Mossie has been part of the fabric of Wallsend Touch for longer than anyone can remember.

“He’ll be sorely missed by everyone.”

As for the man himself, he admitted it was time to step away from the sport he’s loved from an early age.

“I’ve been in the game since I was 16, as a player and referee, so that’s about 38 years,” Mossie said.

“At one stage, I was running five nights a week – mostly at Wallsend, but also at Maitland, Newcastle and Beresfield.

“I’ve refereed at the NSW Touch State Cup in Port Macquarie and the NTLs at Coffs Harbour, too.

“So, it’s taken up a big chunk of my life.

“To be honest, I’ve lost count of the number of matches I’ve refereed.

“Let’s just say I have done a lot of kilometres.”

Although often considered a “thankless job”, Mossie doesn’t regret his calling one bit.

“I started as a player and I enjoyed that at the time,” he said.

“Then I began doing some refereeing on the side as a prelude to warming up before I went and played.

“I thought to myself: ‘this is alright, they pay you to run around’.

“So, I got into it more.

“It’s had its challenges over the years, however there’s more positives to being a referee than negatives.

“You meet a lot of people and develop many friendships.

“And, boy, I’ve met a s**tload of people through touch football.

“I guess that’s why I’ve stayed around for so long – through that and just the enjoyment of it.

“Several people say it’s for the money.

“But, really, it’s all about the friendships.”

Ian “Mossie” Mosman is looking forward to spending more time with his family and pursuing other passions. Photo: Rod Thompson

One thing, which caught a humble Mossie off-guard, were the messages of support following his announcement to pull the pin.

“When I retired, I just wanted to go out quietly,” he said.

“Then the Wallsend Touch Association put something on Facebook – and I was blown away by the reaction and comments.

“It really caught me by surprise.

“Usually, people don’t say nice things about refs,” he added with a laugh.

“However, it was really touching.

“The Wallsend Touch Association is a huge club – and very family-orientated.

“It’s a fantastic organisation with fantastic people involved.

“They really look after you.

“It’s been a wonderful club to ref and play for.”

Mossie said he sensed his refereeing days were coming to an end.

“Unfortunately, I didn’t obtain my Level 6 certificate because the year I went for it, I broke down,” he told the Newcastle Weekly.

“I was running on one leg.

“It killed my chances of gaining an upgrade.

“And, after I recovered from my injury, I sort of lost motivation to officiate at tournaments.”

The popular official is now looking forward to spending extra time with his family and pursuing other passions.

“Recently, I’ve taken up dancing (ballroom, rock ‘n’ roll, Latin) with my fiancé Carmel,” Mossie said.

“It’s certainly a different interest outside of touch – and I’m getting right into it.

“That’s one reason I decided to hang up my whistle.

“Plus, we’re building a house at Lochinvar.

“Construction will start soon, so that will keep us pretty active.

“I’ll definitely miss the friendships I’ve made over a very long time.

“But, I’m also meeting a lot more new people through dancing.

“These days, instead of touch carnivals, we’re planning everything around rock ‘n’ roll festivals, starting with the Elvis Festival at Parkes.”

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