NRL: Warriors' touching tribute to retiring referee Matt Cecchin

NRL CEO Todd Greenberg has praised the Warriors for paying tribute to outgoing referee Matt Cecchin after their 20-4 win over the Newcastle Knights on Friday night.

Cecchin announced earlier this month he's hanging up the boots at the end of the season, after revealing he and his family received death threats following last year's World Cup.

His troubles began last November when he made the call that Tongan fans blame for their 20-18 loss to England at Mt Smart Stadium.

Forward Andrew Fifita lost the ball just a few metres short of the try-line - Cecchin called a knock-on without video review, others saw it as a strip. International Rugby League later confirmed that he had indeed made the correct call.

"My son got hit, my partner got hit, and my mum got hit with death threats," he told the Sydney Morning Herald.

"I started thumbing through my phone, and there were more than a thousand messages. They were vile. I've never had that before in my whole career, even after Origins and grand finals.

"When I got home to Sydney, our house was put on alert. I was picked up from the airport by the AFP. It was really, really serious. I don't like attention as a referee. I want to do my job without any fuss and then leave.

"The reality is that after that game, and for the first chunk of this year with all the noise that's been out there, it's been tough. Really, really tough."

As a way to thank the experienced referee for his contribution to the game, the Warriors invited Cecchin into their team huddle.

The Warriors tweeted a photo of the moment, along with the message: "Respect over everything. Congratulations on a fantastic career Matt."

The tweet was noticed by CEO Greenberg, who praised the Auckland club.

"Great respect and acknowledgement from the Warriors."

It's not the first time the Warriors have paid homage to a departing member of the NRL, as they have done the same with players who have announced their retirements.

The Warriors also paid tribute to outgoing Knights forward Chris Heighington on Friday.

Newshub.