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Rugby league ref great dies aged 100

AAP logoAAP 3/09/2016

Australian rugby league's oldest former first-grade referee Robert Culkin has died aged 100.

He passed away on Saturday morning and the NRL paid tribute to Culkin, who was the oldest surviving whistle blower to have officiated a grade match.

"Every time you spoke to Robert you could tell how passionate he was about officiating and about rugby league," NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg said.

"He took his refereeing tickets with him to official functions and spoke with so much pride about his achievements."

At a special ceremony to mark his 100th birthday in July, he was given the honour of presenting referees Gerard Sutton and Ben Cummins with their jerseys ahead of State of Origin III.

NRL referees boss Tony Archer said match officials would wear black arm bands in honour of Culkin during the weekend's final round.

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