Balmain Referees Association Awards 2018

Sep 25, 2018 | By Tigers


Referees of some sort are important in order for our society to function within a framework of rules.

They come in a wide variety of forms. Our parents were the very first referees whom we encountered. From there it progressed to our teachers, police, courts, bosses and many others, all attempting to stop us and the community about us desecending into anarchy and chaos. Over time, we (mostly) learnt to accept their authority.

Rugby League referees impose a sense of order to a hard physical sporting contest during the match. The players’ athletic skills, adrenaline levels and controlled aggression would (possibly) spill over to undisciplined mayhem were they not there, a whistle close to their lips.

These thoughts occurred to me when I attended the Awards night of the Balmain RL Referees Association at Ryde-Eastwood Leagues Club, as a guest, on Saturday 22.9.18.

Referees, when you actually think about it, allow the gripping spectacle of a confrontation of 2 teams to unfold in its own way. They do not attempt to influence the outcome; get in the way of the players, by being several steps ahead of the action; allow the natural flow of the game to proceed without unnecessary interruption; constantly scan the field to detect any infringement which would give that team unfair advantage; remain detached from the partisanship of the crowd; and so much more.

I sat at a very special table. A lady (pictured), who I remembered (but, dimly), was already seated. I introduced myself and she said “I know who you are!” and then reminded me of a dinner at the home of Pat and Jack Hampstead in Rozelle which I had attended more than 25 years ago and where we had met, for the first time, this impressive lady with her husband, one of the great RL referees of his era (between 1947-62), Cliff Brown.

Mrs Gloria Brown, now 96 years of age, was a delight for all of us seated at her table. She is fresh faced, bright and enjoying her time on earth.  Inspirational, probably best describes her.

The evening was so enjoyable, many great memories in my brain’s archives were dusted off. As well, the future was revealed.

Nathan Lorenti is the young man in the photo with Mrs.Brown. He won the Cliff Brown Scholarship.

The Graeme West Rookie award was shared by enthusiastic youngsters Jackson Lansdown and Zane White, both of whom play in the Carlingford Cougars under 13 team as well as referee. They have wonderful composure and maturity for their ages.

Phillip McMahon, Chairman and Referee Manager of the Association, who mentors many of the young girls and boys, has contributed significantly to the ranks of referees of the future.

There were many revered referees present. Sean Hampstead, Graeme West, David Pickering, Bill Glynn (50 years’ member), Steve Wilson and many others contributing to a highly enjoyable event.  Matt Cecchin was on NRL duty in Sydney on the night.

Thank you Phillip and your members for taking the scales from my eyes.  I will think twice before criticising a referee’s decision in future (and would never allow anyone to abuse the man or woman in the middle)!

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