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'Attitude, aptitude and gratitude' key to Wise hitting 300 NRL games

Queensland match official Michael Wise will run his 300th touch line in the NRL when Gold Coast Titans and Brisbane Broncos clash at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday.

The milestone is more than 30 years in the making for Wise, who first picked up the whistle in 1993. He said he loved doing it then and still loved doing it now.

Wise, match official #35 in Queensland Rugby League's High Performance Unit, said he was "very excited" to be the first Queenslander to hit 300 NRL games.

"There's been a lot of football," Wise, who has also officiated 176 Cup games in the middle, said.

Wise on the touch line. Photo: NRL Imagery
Wise on the touch line. Photo: NRL Imagery

"It's pretty special... not a lot of people get to 300 games so to be able to get there is something pretty unique and special.

"It's probably something, when you first start out in the NRL, you don't think about getting there, but to achieve it is pretty cool."

The 46-year-old finance manager, reflecting on when he first started officiating at the now Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League Referees Association, laughed "it wasn't this century". 

"It was 1993 I got into it, as a young teenager... that makes me feel really old... we didn't have a team.. we were getting beaten up by all of the Gold Coast teams, so our team disbanded and a friend a mine asked if I wanted to take up the whistle," Wise said.

"The next thing, at the end of that year, they gave me a cheque for probably $400, which I thought was pretty good... getting paid for the gig.... continued along ever since."

The husband to Letitia and dad to Mason, 13, Eli, 11 and Harper, 2, said a love for the game, mateship and getting to experience some pretty unique things kept him working hard week-in, week-out.

"While 300 is good... the journey has been excellent as well," Wise said.

"I enjoy the mateship and the adrenalin rush, running out onto the big stadiums.... no matter how many games you do, you still get a kick every time you run out. It's just great fun.

"My wife Letitia does a fair bit of the heavy lifting. She's obviously a tremendous help, ferrying the kids around and doing pick-ups and all of it when I'm on away games and going to training... cooking dinners... all of the stuff that can go unnoticed, but for me to succeed I need that to happen in the background. I appreciate it."

Wise said the highlights for him so far included State of Origin and the World Cup in 2017.

"The Broncos and Cowboys games at Suncorp Stadium.. they're always good too, in front of a full house," Wise said.

In action. Photo: NRL Imagery
In action. Photo: NRL Imagery

"Magic Rounds, the ANZAC Day clash between the Roosters and St George is always a real key one... ... so many unique experiences to rugby league."

Wise encouraged people to get involved in officiating; his son Mason is one of the faces of QRL's 'if they're wearing green, they're under 18' campaign this year after he followed in his dad's footsteps and picked up a whistle.

"It's one of those things that if you persist with it, you get the rewards out of it," Wise said.

"Along the way there has been a lot of disappointments, but if you keep persisting, eventually doors open and you get the opportunity to do some pretty unique stuff. 

"I got to referee a game in the Super League a few years ago which was just something I always thought I'd love to do when I was younger... unique atmosphere.... doing Test matches in Papua New Guinea... a lot of doors have opened."

QRL officiating high performance manager Andrew Wareham said Wise was "an incredibly hard worker and highly intelligent".

"At his age, to be still in week-in, week-out is no mean feat," Wareham said, noting Wise had officiated the third most amount of Cup games in addition to his NRL milestone.

"It really is a fantastic achievement, fairly remarkable. Everything he does is to the highest standard... his attitude, aptitude for the game and gratitude are all things that got him to where he is and keep him there."

Acknowledgement of Country

Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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