Up-and-coming rugby league referees Jake Whitehouse and Ethan Menchin.
Up-and-coming rugby league referees Jake Whitehouse and Ethan Menchin.

Tweed referees developing well

VALUABLE experiences for Tweed's promising rugby league referees this year will hold the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League (NRRRL) in good stead for future seasons.

Jeff Wheeler, from the NRRRL Referees Association, said the past couple of years had been very exciting for the region's 70 registered officials who are spread between Grafton and Tweed Heads.

Murwillumbah's Alex Story was recognised as a top referee of the future when he was chosen from an extensive list of candidates to officiate at the under-12 national championships in Adelaide last month.

“We are confident that Alex will learn a lot from the experi- ence and be a proud ambassador for the Northern Rivers in the process,” Wheeler said.

Kyogle's Jake Whitehouse and Ballina's Ethan Menchin were also earmarked for further refer- eeing honours when they were chosen to travel to Sydney and attend an NRL referees' training session.

Chaperoned by former NRRRL referee Matthew Hawkins, who is now part of the NRL squad, the young gun referees experience first-hand training and field drills with top-level umpires.

Both were offered the opportunity to be in attendance at the third State of Origin game and associate with NRL referees.

The duo also attended the Friday night NRL match between South Sydney and Eastern Suburbs at the Sydney Football stadium with VIP status.

“The entire week was an outstanding success for both members, as the experience has placed them on a higher level of understanding of what the code is all about, which can also be passed on to younger referees throughout the ranks in the Northern Rivers,” Wheeler said.

The NRRRL Referees Association kicked off the year back in February, when 10 members attended the NSW Country Referee's Association annual seminar at Wollongong.

“This annual event allows those present to engage in both theory and practical aspects of the code,” Wheeler said.

“During the course of the weekend participants attend numerous lectures conducted by senior rugby league mentors from various levels throughout NSW Country, NSWRL and NRL, coupled with field training sched- ules similar to those experienced by top-level NRL referees.

“The entire weekend training package focuses on both on-field application and self discipline aligned with the psychological requirements and attributes essential to becoming a balanced referee.”

Wheeler said the development of Northern Rivers referees came at a financial cost and would not be possible without the fundraising of association members and sponsorship.

He said Southern Cross Credit Union and Twin Towns Clubs and Resorts were both big supporters of the association.

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