Another massive milestone has been achieved in the career of Parramatta Referee Ashley Klein. This weekend, Ash will bring up 150 games as an NRL referee, which equates to a combined total of 300 top flight rugby league appointments. He will referee the match between the Cronulla Sharks & the Parramatta Eels on Saturday.
Noted for his time in England as a referee in the European Super League, Ash has made a smooth transition into the NRL since debuting in round one, 2009 in the match between the NZ Warriors & the Parramatta Eels. This was a significant occasion as it was the last time in first grade, that all on-field match officials were Parramatta Referees, with Ash being assisted by Alan Shortall with Paul Holland & Gavin Reynolds on the touchline.
Ash’s journey to the top took quite a different path to most referees. He made his Challenge Cup debut on February 9th 2003 in the match between Wigan & the lowly ranked Simms Cross at JJB Stadium in front of a crowd of 3,790 (Wigan won 82-3 for those interested). His Challenge Cup debut was followed by a debut in the Super League later that season where he refereed the Huddersfield Giants & Wakefield Trinity Wildcats match at the McAlpine Stadium. From then onwards, he became a regular in England’s top flight competition.
Ash’s list of achievements continues to get bulkier season after season. Having refereed Super League matches, NRL matches, Challenge Cup (including finals), State of Origins and World Cup / Test matches, Ash has stamped himself as one of the most experienced referees in the game.
Ash’s strength is his decision making and ability to maintain calm under pressure. He is rarely flustered and portrays cool, calm and collected body language at all times. This has served him well in a number of big matches including the Super League Grand Finals at Old Trafford, the 2008 World Club Challenge, 2008 World Cup final, 2013 ANZAC test and a number of NRL finals series matches, including the 2012 encounter between the Bulldogs & Manly which was a game which required great control from the officials involved.
Congratulations Ash on a fantastic achievement, very few go on to referee 150 NRL games, let alone the list of appointments that you have achieved prior to that.