The Darwin Heineken ‘Hottest 7s in the World’ ran over the Australia Day long weekend year. Sixty pool games were played on Sat 26 Jan 14, along with ten games in the concurrent Territory 10s. The business end of the tournament was on Sun 27 Jan 14 with 35 finals games. A team of 40 match officials from all over Australia came together to oversee these 19 hours of fast and furious Rugby 7s. The ARU has encouraged State Unions to send some of their top talent to Darwin, as it is an excellent opportunity for talent development.
Amongst these officials, only 14 were returning from the 2013 tournament, so there were a lot of fresh faces. Included in their number were six referee coaches, led by ARU Referee Coach Michael Tanzer, who endeavoured to see a different referee on every day, to provide consistent and useful advice to each referee, and to share ideas on coaching referees (particularly for Rugby 7s) to the other referee coaches present.
The MO team started bonding on Friday night when NTRRA hosted a casual function in Bicentennial Park on the Esplanade in Darwin. Fortunately the rain held off, as it did for most of the weekend. Following that there was a briefing on Refereeing 7s from the two senior referees, Will Houston and Graham Cooper. This ensured that everyone was aware of the current trends in refereeing Rugby 7s, and was reinforced by ‘whiteboard notes’ that the coaches posted at various points during the weekend.
The team also celebrated Alex Marsh’s 19th birthday with a birthday cake and tuneful singing. As the youngest member of the team, Alex was responsible for caring for a crocodile hand puppet named ‘Kev’. Kev had some fairly hair raising adventures over the weekend.
Everyone received appointments as referee, assistant referee, in-goal judge and #4 throughout the tournament. The smooth running of each field was greatly assisted by the three Field Marshalls – Julie Skiba, Chris Howard and Scott Reed. They carried out many of the duties of the #5, ensured that everyone turned up for their appointments and made sure that the on-field team had cold towels and drinks at half-time and full-time of each match.
All in all it was a highly enjoyable tournament. The officiating was professional and fair, with many compliments paid by spectators and participants. The Cup Final was refereed by Graham Cooper, the Plate and Bowl Finals by Will Houston and Amy Perrett, and the Women’s Final by Chyna Howlett.
After the Cup Final on Sunday most of the team cleaned up and walked the (very) short distance to the Casuarina Rugby Club for some well-earned drinks and a feed, before a brief kangaroo court, presided over by Judge Ian Richardson.
While some then headed to the airport, others continued into Darwin City to enjoy the Darwin nightlife, and those lucky enough to have a late flight home the following day enjoyed a visit to world famous Crocosaurus Cove!
WA - Graham Cooper, Alex Ninkov, Patrick Davis, Kyle Burnett, Tyler Miller
NSW Country - Kath Little, Evelyn George, Kate Thomson
NSW - Will Houston, Amy Perrett, Tim Wills, Greg Johnstone, Luke Rogan, Dan Taylor, Alex Marsh
Victoria - Beau Dean Gosper, Marika Vertzonis, Amber Hibbard, Oliver Kellett
QLD - Tim Clough, Chyna Howlett
ACT - James Morris
NT - Steve Frost, Simon Scoble, Denys Stedman, Tim Biggs, Robbie Taylor, Andrew Baker, Allan Hunt, Paul Graves
Ian Hailes, Ian Richardson, Scott Rogan, Alistair Grigg, Mick Tanzer, Chandra Seneviratne
Julie Skiba, Scott Reed, Chris Howard