Grand final referee Matt Cecchin has revealed he is gay, becoming just the second official or player in the Australian NRL to come out.
Cecchin has gone public in the Australian media after his teenage son has finished his high school exams. He told family and friends about his sexuality after reading gay retired NRL star Ian Roberts' book, Finding Out.
"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," Cecchin has told the Herald Sun.
"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.
"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."
Cecchin said he had never been sledged by NRL players, coaches or officials and didn't expect to be.
"I'd be very surprised if I was the only gay person in rugby league.
"But me coming out has nothing to do with other people in rugby league.
"It has to do with the youth who are growing up today and may be going through a whole world of hurt and fear.
"My experience is they don't need to be. People are OK with it now."