Rod Hobbs is as respected as they come. He holds life memberships with the Tamworth Junior Soccer Association, East Tamworth Soccer Club, Tamworth Soccer Referees Association, Primary Schools Sports Association (Tamworth Zone) and Tamworth Historical Society.
Sport has benefited from the presence of Rod Hobbs.
For more than six decades throughout Tamworth and the North West, Hobbs has been a influential figure in soccer, rugby league, cricket and the school sport arena.
A teacher by profession, Hobbs embarked on his sporting journey by chance in 1954.
“I was teaching at Tamworth High School and one of the school house soccer games was looking for a referee,” Hobbs said.
“So I took the whistle and it went from there.”
Despite being “76 and three quarters”, Hobbs was still officiating games in 2016 and remains a passionate devotee of the round-ball game.
Asked how many games he has controlled during the years.
“Probably around 1500,” Hobbs said.
“I did six junior grand finals in one day at Belmore Park in 1968.”
A fine player, Hobbs spent eight seasons as captain of Hotspurs, all while holding a series of administrative roles off the field.
He later proved a key figure in the establishment of the Tamworth Soccer Referees Association and was in charge of many big matches, including at state league level.
Hobbs spent 51 years as the recorder of the Primary Schools Sports Association athletics recorder, a role replaced ‘by a computer’ in 2014.
He assisted with draws for nearly two decades for the annual Peel Schools Rugby League carnival and was a handy cricketer with Loomberah and Attunga.
Back in 2017, Hobbs was the was a recipient of the Sportsman’s Warehouse Tamworth Community Sports Award.
Bob Barber, who presented Hobbs with the award, paid tribute to the volunteer’s sterling contribution to sport.
“There’s no more fitting recipient of this award in my opinion,” he said.
“Rod actually put me through my (soccer) referees course and I looked up to him.
“He was a respected referee, respected teacher and a respected figure in sport.”