Welcome to the Otago Referees AGM for 2018.
In many ways 2018 marks a new era for the Otago Referees Association.
Last year saw two of our most experienced referees move on from the region, and others take up new opportunities. We continued to operate across the grades from U14 up, and had another strong cohort selected for representative honours.
Jim Thomson made the decision to step down as REO and appointments officer and this year will move into the role of Head Coach across our panels.
We have been lucky to welcome back James Doleman to the region as our new Referee Education Officer. James has returned to Otago after a few years in Auckland and will be a fantastic asset to our association. He brings a wealth of experience and high performance knowledge as a member of the national squad and as a World Circuit 7s referee. Welcome back James.
We continue to have sufficient numbers to stay afloat, but again we will be stretched to cover all games throughout Dunedin and the regions. I want to say a huge thank you to all of you who continue to turn up each year and give your time so generously, both on and off the field.
At a representative level, both Stu Curran and Jono Bredin were retained in the Wider Training Group for 2018 and will work towards the Jock Hobbs Memorial U19 tournament later in the year.
Eden Brown was selected to referee at the South Island U18 tournament, whilst Fraser Hannon and Caleb Neilson were selected for U16’s. All three of these referees represented us very well and impressed the NZ coaches.
As you know, last year our major sponsor, Delta, pulled the pin, which has left us in a very tough situation regarding sponsorship. We are yet to secure a sponsorship package big enough to keep us going… and sponsorship is now our number one priority. As chairman, along with the executive, I am doing my very best to ensure we secure our future financially and continue to advance as an association.
Above all, we have a fantastic group of committed individuals across the grades, who I know will continue to once again deliver for our communities. Let’s stick together and make 2018 one to remember.