For Jordan Way this weekend’s last round of the Buildcorp NRC represents the next step on his refereeing journey.
At 20 years of age Jordan is the youngest referee in the Buildcorp NRC and in the ARU’s Referee program, but this Saturday at Ballymore none of that will matter as he becomes the man in the middle in his first match as main referee in the NRC.
“There are some nerves there. I’ll be surrounded by a lot of Super Rugby players but really looking forward to the opportunity to being involved in such a great competition”, Jordan said to ARU Media.
“I am looking forward to extend myself and get the greater exposure to a higher level of Rugby.
“It’s (the NRC) exactly the same for referees as it is for players now. It’s the stepping stone in between Premier level Rugby and Super Rugby.
“Getting exposure to all the cameras, commentary and that sort thing, really puts that professionalism to a much higher level to club Rugby.
A product of the ARU’s Referee School Scholarship program, Jordan has been earmarked for some time as someone who had the ability to join Australia’s refereeing ranks.
The ARU’s Pathways Services Manager-Referees, Scott Young told ARU Media Jordan has what it takes: “Jordan really has proven himself to be a very capable official and his knowledge and understanding of the game through playing shines through in how he manages the game.
“His talent was identified early during his school years at St Augustine’s College in Cairns and when he moved to Brisbane two years ago to study at university we encouraged him to keep playing to improve his overall game awareness.”
For Jordan the exposure of the program has been a great help: “Being in the ARU training program I have had a lot of contact with refs,” Way said to ARU Media.
“Week to week training with them and grabbing information, well you can’t put a price on that level of learning.
“A couple of weeks ago I refereed Australia and Samoa at the Schoolboys Test in Brisbane. It was a great experience and another step into refereeing that higher grade of Rugby.
“The Schoolboys tend to listen to you a lot more than men will, but still in that high pressure situation it was a great learning experience and great fun to be involved with.”
Playing for the Easts Tigers in Brisbane’s Queensland Premier Rugby Competition, Jordan now has the benefit of having been on both sides of fence.
“I’ve always said to the refs around me that I am a terrible player to referee because now that I know all the rules I can very quickly jump on the back of any decisions that go against my team.
“I developed both with my playing and refereeing. It’s amazing how learning about both those intricacies can help both aspects.”