Young Northern NSW referee Luke Mackney was awarded for his enormous contribution to football as a match official last night at the inaugural Football Federation Australia Australian Football Awards in Sydney.

At just 25 years of age, Mackney, from Goonellabah, was awarded the Referee of the Year Award during last night’s ceremony based on his passion and dedication to his work.

Coincidentally, today is Mackney’s birthday and he sees the award as ‘a good birthday gift’ after what was a memorable night for the young whistleblower amongst Australian football’s elite.

Mackney has been a member of his branch for the past 10 years and secretary for the past six, contributing pride into his role every step of the way.

Volunteering 40-50 hours a week, Mackney was the top referee for three years in Football Far North Coast, has also been twice voted ‘Referee of the Year’ in his zone and was the youngest centre official to be appointed to a Premier League grand final in his zone.

Pleased with the award, Mackney admits it was a pleasure to simply be in the presence of the country’s greatest football talent, while admitting the process from nomination to actually attending last night’s festivities and receiving the award happened extremely quickly.

“It’s a great thrill and an honour to get it, but great just to be there with all of the Socceroos, I wasn’t expecting it at all,” said Mackney.