* required fields
The 2017/18 Sevens World Series kicked off last weekend in Dubai, with both the men’s and women’s events running side by side. Anyone who watched would have seen a dominate display by our Aussie 7’s girls to claim the gold medal and a stellar men’s final between New Zealand and South Africa.
I’d imagine only people within referee fraternity would have noticed the referee in the middle for that men’s final. Probably the coaches, Neil Powell and Clark Laidlaw who both played against him. Damon Murphy, an ex Aussie 7’s player, was the man in control of this match, and his under the radar approach is what we have become accustom to when seeing him in the middle.
In only his 23rd World Series match as a referee, Murph’s rise in the referee ranks has been swift. Having made it onto the Rugby AU Match Official team and World Series panel last year, in only his second season refereeing, he’s gone on to referee a number of QLD Premier and NRC games as well as Super Rugby and World Rugby sideline appointments.
Some people might question an ex players sudden rise through the pathway, but when you have played over 154 Premier games, 4 QLD Reds games and been involved in around 20 World Series tournaments, as well as a Commonwealth Games and Captaining your country at the 2009 World Cup, as a player you have a wealth of experience that career referees just can not attain.
Murph, one of the last people you think would pick up the whistle (if you ever had the pleasure of refereeing him) was convinced by a couple of other former ex-players turned referees, Nic Berry and Rohan Hoffman. A finance broker in Brisbane, the chance to travel the world and referee at some of his favourite tournaments, such as the Hong Kong 7’s was an opportunity too good to miss for Murph.
A fullback in the 15 a side game, Murph played with and against some pretty well known players. Matt Giteau, Lote Tuqiri, Chris Latham, just to name a few, but he says the best person he has ever played with or against was his younger brother Dallan. Maybe another player who could eventually pick up the whistle?
Murph will finish this stellar year in Cape Town on weekend, before he can enjoy a very short break ahead of the 2018 season. Refereeing another 6 World Series events, including the Commonwealth games on the Gold Coast, it’s going to be another busy year.
We wish him all the best this weekend!