Happy New Year! We hope you had a safe and happy break, and are ready to tear into a new season of footy in 2017. We certainly are!
2017 looks to be an incredibly exciting year for referees across Otago. Our ranks are stronger than ever, but as always, we are actively seeking new talent to join us. Already we have made a strong start to the year, with four referees being named in the New Zealand High Performance squads, including the addition of Jono Bredin and Stuart Curran. These referees both had strong premier and representative seasons and will be pushing hard for higher honours, alongside current members Mitchell Will and Adam Morrison.
Otago’s leading referee Adam Morrison completed a strong Mitre 10 Heartland Championship season which sees him retain his position in the development squad as he continues his apprenticeship toward Mitre 10 Cup. He will be featuring as an Assistant Referee when the World 7’s Series comes to Wellington on January 30. Also at the tournament will be former ORRA member James Doleman, who is enjoying his first season on the HSBC 7s circuit.
Dunedin Premier Rugby
Adam will then return to join a competitive Dunedin premier panel, which Appointments Officer Jim Thomson describes as “the strongest ever”. Alongside our four HP referees, there are a number of experienced heads, and a number of talented up and comers who will all be vying for a chance in the middle each week.
High Standard of Refereeing
In Dunedin and throughout Central and South Otago we are excited to provide an extremely high standard of refereeing throughout the grades. We cannot wait to share our technical and physical progress with you. We hope better referees will help create better rugby. Thomson remarks on this “If we can upskill and supply better referees to all levels of rugby, then the experience for the players is going to be enhanced and the standard of rugby is going to improve. It is a win-win for everyone.”
Scholarships and Initiatives
Thanks to our sponsors we will once again be providing three tertiary scholarships to aspiring referees to aid with their progress either studying or in an apprenticeship. We are one of a few associations to provide this fantastic opportunity and look forward to casting another phenomenal group of applicants in 2017. The relationship with our sponsors is perpetually developing to enable us to offer an increasing level of first class support to our referees.
The ORRA website continues to develop and expand. We will be providing a heightened level of engagement with our referees and the rugby public to provide information, news and education on current rugby and refereeing matters. An example of this is an upcoming clarification by Otago referees on how the updated tackle laws will be applied in games across Otago. By providing more frank and transparent assessments of these issues we aim to increase the level of understanding and consistency in our game.
What’s more, we are introducing a refreshed online registration system which will make it faster and easier than ever to get involved. The potential for aspiring rugby referees in Otago is huge and we are committed to uncovering talent throughout our communities, and helping grow excellent men and women of our game. Please, if you or someone you know could be interested in jumping in to the best seat in the house, we encourage you complete and easy online registration. We will provide all the equipment and training you need to get out there!
2017 looks to be another bumper social calendar, with many social opportunities for referees to enjoy each others company and interact with other members of the rugby community. From aftermatch functions to Lonstar get-togethers, bbq’s to prizegivings, training sessions to road trips, the ORRA is a great opportunity to network and make new friends. There is no doubting refereeing can be lonely and intimidating at times, but we operate as a team and together support each other to be better. Check back on our website calendar for upcoming social functions.