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NSW Country Officials hone their skills in the Newcastle Sevens

By Vittorio Travan

An end of season sevens tournament is usually a time for players to enjoy one last hit out before enjoying their summer break. But for ten members of the NSW Country Referees panel, the Newcastle Under 20s sevens tournament provided one last opportunity to further develop their craft.

It was a real opportunity to learn not only from the four NSW Country Referees in attendance – Paul Ryan, Jim McBride, Ian Richardson and Ron Mancell. With every referee getting watched by a referee coach after each game, it was a chance to learn and identify the things they do well but could also work on during the day.

Team of five for the Cup Final. (Bottom Row L-R: Xavier Edwards, Max Fulton, Jarryd Logan; Top L – R: Nik Gaal, Jared Lynch)(Source: Ron Mancell – Facebook)

But with ten referees from right across the country region descending on the Hawthorne Club at Maitland it was also a chance for referees to learn new skills and techniques off each other. Ron Mancell, Referees Development Officer for NSW Country, said the there was a real sense of everyone wanting to build their knowledge for the season ahead.

“One of the biggest difficulties in the country region is that our referees do not always have that same level of and consistency of coaching. We get hamstrung by the distances we have to cover and reduced number of referee coaches that actually work within the country area compared to the Sydney area. So, it’s important at these tournaments that when we have identified referees, we want to give them as much feedback as possible.”

“Without identifying work-ons, referees don’t have the opportunity to learn and progress further with their craft,” said Mancell.

For Jim McBride NSW Country Referee Coach, it was also an opportunity to see referees from other zones he simply had not worked with before. He said, by getting to witness different referees it not only helps coaches but also helps the guys in the middle, as it helps them adapt and better understand how they operate in the middle.

“For us to see referees we haven’t been exposed to it’s really beneficial for us and them. We get to be a fresh set of eyes and watch how they can make their job easier out on the field,” McBride said.

He added that the coaches ask the referees questions to get them to think about why they made decisions and why they do what they do. It helps the referees understand where and how the coaches reflect and view their games, in a way that helps the referees self – reflect on their own skills.

“Ultimately, we want to make sure we are providing them with the advice that can help them progress as far as possible. Yes, we want to challenge them by getting them to think, but if they don’t reflect or think, there is no opportunity to learn,” McBride said.

List of all NSW Country Referees and Referee Coaches in Attendance:

Referees: Max Fulton, Nik Gaal, Jarryd Logan, Jared Lynch, Xavier Edwards, Ben Fisk, Harry Martine, Vittorio Travan, Declan Meagher, Ian Spicer

Coaches: Paul Ryan, Jim McBride, Ian Richardson and Ron Mancell

Newcastle Referee Association Assistant Referees: Peter Meagher, Jackson Bartley and Michael Wallace

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