Referee Alistair Payne watches as James Goodger kicks the winning penalty for Marist in the 2020 final. PHOTO/FILE


Today’s Chris ‘Moose’ Kapene Memorial Cup final will be referee Alistair Payne’s seventh consecutive final in charge, but the excitement hasn’t diminished for the experienced whistleblower.

“Each year brings a new personal challenge, trying to maintain and lift standards while evolving with the different aspects such as interpretations and new laws,” Payne said.

“It is important that this game is about the teams and players. The focus of our role should be around how we can contribute to let the players play as they wish and have a fair contest out in the middle.”

Payne, who brought up his 150th premier match in the Carterton-Gladstone semifinal last Saturday, has been impressed with the standard of club rugby, which he felt was improving from season to season.

“It is great to see new players with different skill sets and abilities who have strengthened the competition, and I have been impressed with the intensity shown in most games and closeness of results.”

Greytown and Carterton have been the two form teams throughout the championship, playing positive attacking rugby, and Payne is confident both will adopt a similar approach today.

“I think it will be really contestable upfront.”