Gavin Badger got fired...?

I fondly remember yelling at Gavin Badger on multiple occasions when he had seemingly got a call or two wrong.

But now I feel a little bit sad that the man with the fluffy beard is no longer going to be controlling NRL games.

That's right, Badger has been given his marching orders with this weekend's match between Penrith and Canterbury to be his last, in which he will be a touch judge. Sadly, this isn't just 10 in the bin, this is a full send off.

The news broke on Wednesday when Badger's daughter Shante, took to Instagram to pay tribute to her Father.

The last line tells us that it wasn't Badger's decision, he's obviously been fired.

Let's face it, the referees always get shit wrong. In fact, if you're in the bunker, you're probably prone to more stuff ups than most, I think the statistics back that up.

It begs the question, why Badger and not the blokes who keep getting all the calls wrong in the Bunker...?

Badger always seemed one who had great respect for the players, happy to have a laugh on the field and his longevity points to the fact that he obviously did a good job.

18 seasons, 354 games and now he's no longer part of the NRL's 22-person referee squad. It's a tough call.

Sorry, Badg but we had to play the clips of you taking a tumble.

Badger, who's wife Kasey also referees, was apparently told earlier this season that his contract would not be renewed in 2021. That'll be an awkward dinner table.

Badger was of course recently praised, and very rightly so, for his bravery in opening up on the sexual abuse he suffered as a child. Why did Badger come forward and tell his story? Because he wanted to raise awareness and stop other children from having to endure what he did at just the age of 11. That makes Gavin Badger a good man.

I don't know how this one sits with me. Referees are often under-appreciated, check that, they're always under-appreciated and everyone is guilty of getting stuck into them at some point. But there was more to Badger, not just his off-field work, but his ability to listen to and respect the players in the heat of battle.

Did he get every call right? No he did not, but 18 years in the same job under weekly microscopic criticism for your performance is a tough thing to do, I take my hat off to Gavin Badger.

Could someone get this article to Badg and pass on my best? Appreciate it.


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