John Percival (rugby league)

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John Percival
Refereeing information
Years Competition Apps
1968–1975 World Cup 9
1964–1980 Other Internationals 18
Source: RLP

John Percival was a New Zealand rugby league referee. An international referee, in 1995 Percival was one of the New Zealand Rugby League's inaugural inductions into the "Legends of League".

Domestic career[edit]

Percival was from the Point Chevalier Pirates club and played for the 1947 Schoolboy Kiwi side.[1]

He took up refereeing in 1956 and controlled matches in the Auckland Rugby League competition. By 1960 he was receiving provincial appointments.[1] He earned a reputation for being a dominant and "eagle-eyed" referee.[2]

Percival is credited with innovating the penalty for backchat as he regularly used to march teams for the offence before it was added to the official rulebook.[1]

The Auckland Rugby League's Referee of the Year award is named the "John Percival Memorial Premiership Referee of the Year" in recognition of Percival's service to the game.[3]

International career[edit]

His first Test match was in 1964 when the French toured New Zealand. Percival controlled 27 internationals between 1964 and 1980, the most for a New Zealand official. This included nine matches in the 1968 and 1975 World Cups. In 1995 Percival was one of the inaugural inductees onto the NZRL's Legends of League.[4] He is an Auckland Rugby League Immortal.[5]

Later years[edit]

Percival was involved on the board of the Auckland Warriors in 1995 while they were owned by the Auckland Rugby League.


  1. ^ a b c Lion Red 1988 Rugby League Annual, New Zealand Rugby Football League, 1988. p.81
  2. ^ "Graham Lowe: Sonny and Bill". The New Zealand Herald. 1 October 2004. Retrieved 7 October 2011. 
  3. ^ November 2009 Newsletter Archived 2011-07-20 at the Wayback Machine. Auckland Rugby League
  4. ^ Legends of League New Zealand Rugby League
  5. ^ Stacey Jones, Auckland Rugby League Immortal Archived 2011-07-24 at the Wayback Machine., 21 September 2003