Women's Nationals a success for Match Official Team

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 The Buildcorp National Women’s XV tournament was held at Runaway Sports Centre over the weekend and it wasn’t just a chance for players to impress ahead of the Women’s Rugby World Cup in Ireland later this year. It was a key opportunity for Australia’s top female match officials to impress Referees High Performance Manager, Scott Young, and Lauren Kelly who is in charge of female referee development in Australia.


“There are a number of opportunities for our female group coming up. With the announcement of the Women’s AON Uni 7’s competition, our exchange program with NZ to referee in the Farah Palmer Cup and the Commonwealth games next year it was a good chance to see how our female match officials are tracking” Young said.


The team of Match Officials arrived earlier on the Gold Coast to attend a camp in preparation for this tournament. In attendance was current Wallaroo Maddy Putz-Skiba who picked up the whistle last year, refereeing in the morning before captaining her club in the afternoon. 


“I think it’s great that a current Wallaroo has picked up the whistle. While she is still playing at the highest level she is setting herself up for a successful transition into refereeing, (whenever she decides to do that) by starting early”. Kelly said


Also in attendance was the Cup Final referee, Amber Hibbard (VIC), Tyler Miller (WA), Brittany Andrew (NZ), Lara West (QLD), Kath Little (NSW), Jane Jacobs (QLD) and Amy Perrett (NSW).

Andrew, a resident of Palmerston North, continues the exchange program set up between Australian and New Zealand to help development female referees in the region. Earlier this year Tyler Miller was selected to referee at the NZ National 7’s in Rotoura and Rach Horton and Amber Hibbard have previously refereed in the Farah Palmer Cup.  


It was a very busy weekend for the Match Official team. In between refereeing multiple games, debriefing with coaches Mel Nash and Rob Kellam, they also had to work as a team by running the line and controlling subs for each other.


“We were really impressed with the work ethic and attitude of the girls here. It was a tough couple of days but they all really stepped up in the absence of 2 of our top female match officials”. Kelly said.


Amber Hibbard who is currently on the National Official Scholarship which is run by the Australian Institute of Sport was deservedly appointed to the final between Sydney and ACT for her consistent performances over the weekend.