You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content

Retiring match official Andrew Wareham has left PNG for the last time, admitting to a lump in his throat as he waved the country goodbye.

Wareham, 44, has officiated in more PNG Hunters home games than any other QRL referee or touch judge, visiting Australia's northern neighbour 25 times.

One of the lasting memories he will take with him was of a child who met him at Port Moresby's airport for every single game he has officiated in recent times.

"This little fella has met me at the airport and the ground for the past three years," Wareham posted on social media.

"I hammer him about going to school and working hard so he greets me by telling me about his As and Bs in maths and English at school"

Wareham said that his trusty sidekick follows him to matches and, while the rest of the crowd screams "Go Hunters", he yells out "Go Andrew" above the throng.

Wareham has given him clothing and food over the period of their friendship.

"The reason we met was because he was asking me for a shirt, but he was polite and said 'please' and 'thank you'," said Wareham.

"I started talking to him about the importance of manners, how important school was, that I hoped he was attending, asking him if he had a favourite subject.

"He was a C student when we first met and now he tells me he is getting some As.

"I can't know for sure if he's telling the truth or just wants to impress, but I hope taking an interest has had an impact."

Wareham said he had found difficulty farewelling not only the boy, but also other support staff and officials involved with Hunters home games.

"I'm taking good memories of PNG and some real good people," he said.

"All the people I've met here have been so friendly. They've certainly made an impression.

"I would like to see more social justice and less of a gap between the wealthy and the poor, but I've certainly not complained about being assigned to PNG so often.

"It's opened my eyes.

"To be honest, it's a bit hard to say goodbye to everyone."