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Refereeing is the best seat in the house and great way to keep/get fit and contribute back to the great game of rugby league. There are so many opportunities available with refereeing should you wish to challenge yourself.
Big opportunities in 2021 for Auckland refs
After a 12-month period in which only a handful of countries were able to play international rugby league due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 2021 shapes as a huge opportunity for Auckland match officials hoping to make it to the world stage.
This year's Rugby League World Cup, which is still scheduled to go ahead in England from October, will draw on match officials from across the globe and presents Auckland's best referees and touch judges with a chance to take the next step in their officiating journey.
Last year the likes of Viggo Rasmussen, Joseph Green, Rochelle Tamarua, Jack Haslam, Karl Vasau and Keven Ah-Ken all took part in international matches played in New Zealand.
Tamarua said for aspiring referees in the region it's a huge opportunity to be part of an international event.
"Unfortunately I missed out at the 2017 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, but I vowed I’d come back better and try to give it my best shot for 2021," Tamarua said.
"I've refereed a few International Test matches and the World Cup would allow me to network with other female referees from around the world.
"To be considered for the next World Cup is special in itself."
There continues to be opportunities for young referees who come through the ARL mini/mod match official system run by the ARL.
In 2020 programme graduates Casey Gribble, 19, along with 15-year-old Josh Siaki earned appointments in the Auckland v Southern Zone U16 clash at Mount Smart Stadium.
A Week in the Life of an Auckland ref - Joseph Green
Joseph Green is one of Auckland's leading match officials and predominantly referees in the SAS Fox Memorial Premiership. We sat down with him to find out what it takes each week during the season – in between his full-time studies towards a sport and recreation degree – to be ready to officiate New Zealand's top club competition.
This is the day I set up what I am doing for the week. I train with (former Howick Hornets first division player) Jordan Papa at JP Athletic, so he will have a programme for me which differs depending on the week. That night around 6pm I have the Auckland Rugby League Referees' Association meeting. For the last little while I have been the training officer for the association, which means I am the one to run the training or the review session. Afterwards we have some food and focus on building culture among the referees.
Mobility work is the focus today, so a whole lot of stretching and getting the body loose. I'll usually do a light conditioning session too at about 50 percent for 20 minutes or so, at a pace you can control and still be able to hold a conversation during.
I get into the gym early in the morning because that night I typically have a New Zealand Rugby League academy training. The academy sessions usually consist of some more technical video analysis from watching either an Auckland first division game, or for higher level refs it could be watching footage from the NSW Cup or Jersey Flegg match. Afterwards we do a high intensity session of training.
I do a similar session to what I do on a Tuesday, so light mobility stuff and some stretching. By tonight I know what my appointment is for the weekend, so I'll start focusing in on that. I might speak to the referees who had the teams I'm doing the week before, just to get their thoughts on what you can do to help the game flow.
In the morning I get through my last heavy session for the week and then that night I'll do some stretching. Once that's done I pack my bag for the next day and get in contact with my touch judges for Saturday’s game just to make sure we are all on the same page.
In the morning it starts with a light stretch and a walk around the neighbourhood to loosen the legs and get focused on what's coming up in the afternoon. For a 2.30pm kick-off I like to be at the park by 1pm to watch some of the reserve-grade game, not only to support my mates that will be my touch judges afterwards, but also to help them out with some tips if they need it. I'm real big on listening to music, so in the morning it will be relaxed music to let me focus and then once I arrive at the park I'll get into some music to help amp me up. After the game I'll often go out and grab dinner with my family, which is a chance to debrief and relax.
This is a rest day for the most part, but during the season I'll also do some touch training with my club a couple of times a month on a Sunday. Later on if I can find some footage of the game I reffed the day before then I'll go over that and identify things to work on and stuff like that. In the afternoon, like many league people, I'm sat down watching the NRL with my family.
Become a Referee
Have you ever thought about becoming a Referee or a Touch Judge?
The Auckland Rugby League Referees Association are in need of referees and touch judges for the 2021 season.