Farlow Announces Retirement

1997 is a year many in rugby league circles remember. It was the year the competition was split in two, with twelve teams competing for the Optus Cup of the Australian Rugby League, while the other eight were chasing the Telstra Cup of the breakaway Super League. It was also the year Darren Albert scored that unforgettable try seven seconds from fulltime in the ARL Grand Final to break the deadlock and hand Newcastle the Premiership. But for the Penrith Referees Association, 1997 marks the year that then 14 year old Jay Farlow first walked through the doors to undertake his preliminary referees ticket.

Last Thursday Farlow (now 34), announced that he would close the curtain on an outstanding career, which spanned close to twenty years and saw him reach the pinnacle of rugby league as a first grade match official. Farlow made his debut in the National Rugby League in Round 24 of the 2012 competition, which saw him become NRL match official number 119.  

For many years he was a leading referee within the Penrith District and presided over countless fixtures across all levels. He began officiating in the local junior league and before long had worked his way up to become one of the most reliable and consistent referees in the area. These traits and his commitment to officiating saw him rewarded with the Association’s top on field honour in 2006, becoming the 24th A Grade Division One Grand Final referee in the district.

During this time Farlow was also part of the New South Wales Rugby League Referees Associations (NSWRLRA) Junior Representative Squad where he regularly officiated in the Harold Matthews, SG Ball and Jersey Flegg competitions. In 2008 he was appointed as the touch judge for the SG Ball Grand Final and soon after joined the NSWRLRA graded ranks as member 935.

This was just the beginning of a remarkable tenure with this squad where he would go on to amass countless representative and finals appointments and become one of the squads leading specialist touch judges. In addition to reaching the NRL in 2012, Farlow was appointed to a total of four NSW Cup Grand Finals as a touch judge (2012, 13, 15, 16) and another as an in-goal touch judge in 2011. He was also a touch judge for the 2009 Arrive Alive Cup Grand Final, the 2009 Australia v Great Britain Schoolboys Test Match, the 2010 Jim Beam Cup Grand Final, the 2012 Under 20’s State of Origin, the 2014 Ron Massey Cup Grand Final and  the 2016 Australia v England Schoolboys Test Match.

Farlow’s standing within the Penrith Association has been further highlighted through the numerous awards he has received. He was twice the recipient of the prestigious Bob Kandelas Trophy, voted the ‘referee’s referee’ in both 2003 and 2004. He also won the Michael Grady Junior Merit Award in 2000, the Joe Beacroft Memorial Trophy in 2006 and the Ray Steele Memorial Trophy in 2007. During his active tenure with the Association, Farlow served on both the Board of Management and Social Committee 

In announcing his retirement on Thursday Farlow said, “The time is right. I’ll never be able to thank everyone who has played a part in a career where I achieved more than I ever dreamed was possible.” Friends, family and colleagues past and present took to social media to congratulate Farlow on his incredible career and wish him well.

The Penrith Referees Association sincerely thanks Jay Farlow for his service to rugby league and congratulates him on his achievements over the past twenty years. We wish him all the best for the future as he embarks upon the next chapter in his life.


Year Joined Penrith Referee’s Association: 1997

Year Graded to NSWRLRA: 2008

NSWRLRA Grade Number: 935

NRL Debut: Round 24 2012, Parramatta Eels v Sydney Roosters, Parramatta Stadium

NRL Number: 119

Total NRL Appearances: 3

Career Highlights: NSW Cup Grand Final Touch Judge (2012, 13, 15, 16); NSW Cup Grand Final In-Goal Touch Judge (2011); Ron Massey Cup Grand Final Touch Judge (2014); Jim Beam Cup Grand Final Touch Judge (2010); Australia v Great Britain Schoolboys Test Match Touch Judge (2009); Australia v England Schoolboys Test Match Touch Judge (2016); Under 20’s State of Origin Touch Judge (2012); SG Ball Grand Final Touch Judge (2008); Arrive Alive Cup Grand Final Touch Judge (2009).