Friday 20 October 2017 / 12:24 PM

Experience of an NRL match official

Refereeing is arguably the most thankless job in rugby league. Although the NRL’s whistle-blower’s, touch judges and video referees had supporters, commentators and pundits (and no doubt Dave Smith and referee’s boss Tony Archer) tearing their hair out with some diabolical decisions in 2014, it’s worth taking a step back and remembering they’re people too, trying their best to produce the best performance possible for themselves and the game.

Daniel Eastwood, perhaps best known for having the meatiest sideburns in the NRL and for looking conspicuously like the serial killer in There’s Something About Mary, has been a first grade touch judge for seven years, officiating in 172 first grade games. His list of achievements includes running the lines for two State of Origin games and the grand final in 2011.

In this documentary by Costly Call, Eastwood talks about the challenges of being a rugby league match official, from grassroots level to the game’s top echelon.

While bemoaning the overly harsh criticism regularly doled out to NRL referees, Eastwood explains that they are their own hardest markers and accepts that their mistakes will be magnified.

But he passionately denounced the treatment of some junior referees at grassroots and junior matches, who do the job for little pay and with no support, but are subjected to abuse and intimidation on a regular basis. Eastwood pinpoints this abhorrent behaviour as the major factor turning young referees off the code.

It’s a revealing and insightful look at what our referees go through, and worth recalling when one of the men in pink inevitably come up with a major blue in 2015.

[YouTube – azsportza]

 

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About the author

Will Evans

CBS’s Editor-in-Chief and lead rugby league, union and cricket writer, Will is a Christchurch-based freelancer, also writing for Big League and Rugby League Review magazines, and The New Daily website. Will has written four rugby league books.

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