LONG-time sports administrator and official Tony Hackett is being remembered for his dedication and love of a number of sports.
The Riverina sporting community is mourning the loss of Hackett, who passed away last week aged 68 after illness.
A minute's silence was held at a number of Wagga cricket games last weekend as a mark of respect for his contribution to the sport.
Hackett also left his mark on Australian rules, where he was made a life member of the Murrumbidgee Valley Australian Football Association (MVAFA) amid his 25-year contribution to the code.
Hackett probably made his biggest sporting mark in cricket, where he officiated more than 550 games as an umpire.
He was made a life member of Wagga Cricket Umpires Association in 2016 and is credited with guiding the organisation to a new level.
Dennis Chaplin worked alongside Hackett for a number of years umpiring and explained that the organisation would not be where it is today without his contribution.
"Tony came on board at a time where we didn't have a great deal of money, or numbers, and through his organisation he built the place up," Chaplin said.
"He was our secretary-treasurer for over 10 years and umpired more than 550 games, including some grade games in Sydney.
"He was very organised, knew what grants to apply for, built up sponsorship and was also actively involved in recruiting umpires.
"He was very respected within the NSW Umpires and Scorers Association, not just within our zone but across the state. I think they will come from far and wide to pay their respects.
"He was a great bloke. He had a good sense of humour, enjoyed having a joke and being joked on."
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Hackett played with Leagues Club, South Wagga and Mt Austin during his playing days. He won a fourth grade premiership with the Blues in 1982 before taking up umpiring in the early 2000s.
Cricket Wagga chairman Paul Habel worked alongside Hackett firstly in football and then cricket. He was recruited by Hackett into umpiring cricket in Wagga.
He said the game is poorer for the loss of Hackett.
"His contribution to cricket in general and especially to umpiring was just fantastic," Habel said.
"He was secretary-treasurer for a number of years, he obviously umpired a number of games, not just in Wagga either, his expertise was used to go and travel and do some grade cricket in Sydney as well.
"From a Cricket Wagga perspective, his contribution was second to none. He even got me into umpiring. He pestered me for a while to come and do some umpiring, which I ended up doing and really enjoyed.
"He'll be sadly missed and Cricket Wagga certainly pay tribute to him and his involvement in the game and dedication to the game."
A Cronulla and St Kilda tragic, Hackett had a love and involvement in both the football codes.
But it was the local Australian rules scene that benefited most from his love of sport and willingness to volunteer.
Hackett became the treasurer of what was then the MVAFA in the 90s and continued to serve the sport up until 2019 after spending time on both the Riverina and Farrer League competition management committees.
Former MVAFA chairman Greg Verdons remembered Hackett as a complete professional.
"Tony was a long-term treasurer (for MVAFA), he was even made life member," Verdon recalled.
"He was fantastic guy. One of the best treasurers, he always had everything up to date.
"He was a pleasure to work with. It's a real tragedy."
AFL Riverina chairman Michael Irons also paid tribute to Hackett for his dedication to the sport.
"It's sad. Tony was a long-serving, dedicated and great contributor to our competitions and his loss will be felt," Irons said.
"We feel for his family at this time."
Hackett is survived by wife Lynn and children Cameron, Aynsley and Bree.
Hackett's funeral will be held at St Michael's Cathedral at 10.30am on Monday, November 20.
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