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Canberra rugby league referees struggling

Canberra Referees chairman Matthew Hall says they need more referees. Katherine Nightingale, left, Heather Hall and Marcus Lean are part of the current batch of whistleblowers. Picture by Elesa Kurtz
Canberra Referees chairman Matthew Hall says they need more referees. Katherine Nightingale, left, Heather Hall and Marcus Lean are part of the current batch of whistleblowers. Picture by Elesa Kurtz

Canberra rugby league referees struggling

Author : David Polkinghorne The Canberra Times

Canberra rugby league referees struggling for numbers

The growth of rugby league is a massive boost for the game, but it’s putting a strain on referees.

They desperately need more numbers as they prepare for juniors to kick off next weekend.

Canberra Referees chairman Matthew Hall put out an SOS for all potential whistleblowers.

They will hold a training course at the old Canberra Raiders headquarters in Bruce – near Canberra Stadium – on Thursday.

The boom in women’s rugby league is driving the growth of the game, but it’s also putting pressure on the number of referees. More games means more are needed.

The Canberra Raiders Cup only kicked off last weekend, with round two on Saturday, while the Katrina Fanning Shield is scheduled to get under way next weekend.

Although that could change with the Monaro Women making the final of the country championships at Leichhardt Oval next Saturday. But referees are already finding themselves stretched.

Hall said they did have good numbers, but sometimes only 30 per cent were available due to work and family commitments.

It was also hard to get people to commit to a full weekend – limiting the games they could do.

Enter the Fun Zone - Timezone

Enter the Fun Zone – Timezone

“We are struggling for numbers and in the growing game that we’ve got, including extra women’s games that keep coming up every year – which is good – we are struggling for numbers at the moment,” Hall said.

Over a weekend we have about 160 games

“Over a weekend we have about 160 games, including when junior footy kicks off the end of next week, we’re having a shortage of referees.

“We’ve got about 100 members, but at one time we might only have 30 to 50 per cent available due to work commitments or family commitments. We just want to get more referees out on the paddock.”

Hall said there were a variety of reasons to become a referee: you get paid, it’s fun, you became part of a big family and you get the chance to put back into the game.

He encouraged anyone interested to get in touch via the Canberra District Rugby League Referees Association social media or the phone numbers listed on their website.

“We do have a referee’s course coming up Thursday and that’s to help get referees for the junior competition,” Hall said.

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“We want people to come and give it a try. If you love it, keep doing it. There is a supportive network of people that are able to help.

“We’re a community-based organisation and we want to provide more back to the game.

“We want to make sure that no one doesn’t have a game because there’s not a referee, but it’s very hard when the numbers are low.

“It is fun and you do get paid for it, too. We don’t do it for the money – if we did it for the money we’d all be broke – but it’s the fun of it.

“We actually enjoy putting back into the game.”

CANBERRA RAIDERS CUP – ROUND 2

Saturday: Gungahlin Bulls v West Belconnen Warriors at Gungahlin Enclosed, 3pm; Woden Valley Rams v Queanbeyan Kangaroos at Phillip Oval, 3pm; Queanbeyan Blues v Yass Magpies at Seiffert Oval, 3pm; Goulburn Bulldogs v Tuggeranong Bushrangers at Goulburn, 3pm.

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