QRRA Referees Assemble for Squad Development Weekend

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by Chris Woodhouse

Preparation for another busy Rugby season continued on Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th February when Queensland Rugby Referees’ Association members selected in the Queensland Rugby Union State Referee Committee Senior Development Squad gathered for their inaugural intensive development weekend at Anglican Church Grammar School, East Brisbane.

Covering a diverse range of topics, the enthusiastic group of Referees and Referee Coaches participated in a series of theoretical and practical sessions incorporating new ARU material.  This was supplemented by the informative and insightful presentations of guest speakers, including QRRA National and Premier Panel representatives.

QRU Game Development Manager Lachlan Parkinson provided the official welcome to the program, with Squad Managers Peter Gofton and Dick Byres outlining their expectations of, and commitment required from, each member of the group.  Newly appointed iRB Match Official Selection Committee Member, ARU National Referee Coach and former Test Referee Andrew Cole then provided an overview of the additional opportunities available to Match Officials in 2014, with a refresher on the ARU Referee Profile and associated changes to Referee Coaching.

Relocating outdoors, a series of practical drills were completed.  Designed to replicate the mental processes required to be executed under fatigue during a match, each Referee had to memorise and complete a route through an agility course, observe and make decisions based on an image and recall details from an intricate visual scenario.  The aim of the exercise was to complete the course in the quickest time with the least number of errors.

TNT Express National Women’s Panel members Rachel Horton and Chyna Howlett then provided a presentation on the law changes for 2014 and a report on the previous weekend’s ARU National Referee Camp in Sydney.  With emphasis on the elements of the new Crouch-Bind-Set cadence, a practical Scrum demonstration was lead by experienced front rower and current QRU SRC Senior Development Squad member Shaun Rigby. 

Exploring the core themes of the ARU Referee Profile, Queensland Premier Rugby Referee Paul Haydock shared his experience and knowledge with the squad during a presentation on game understanding, empathy and the escalation process.  Saturday drew to a close with a video review session lead by former Test Referee Dick Byres.

One of the best Portuguese players of his generation, Queensland based SANZAR Panel member Rohan Hoffmann started proceedings on Sunday with an inspiring presentation on the expectation, dedication and sacrifice required to succeed at Rugby’s elite level.  Fittingly, senior QRRA Referee Greg Milne followed up, explaining the framework and goal setting process to assist squad members in reaching and exceeding their potential this season.

Physical preparation, another key component of the ARU Referee Profile, and Nutrition were the subject of QRRA Trainer Pat Rae’s presentation to the squad.  After completing a questionnaire to determine the appropriate diet for each individual, a personalised nutrition plan was developed to enable consistent peak performance at training and during matches.
With the Senior Development Squad also set to complete a significant number of crucial Assistant Refereeing appointments throughout the season, Queensland Premier Rugby Referees Simon Moore and Luke Moloney lead the group through a best practice refresher.  The development weekend concluded with current QRU SRC Senior Development Squad members Harrison Tait and Andrew Twist facilitating a discussion on the principles and practical application of Advantage.

QRRA President Mark Hogan said “Thanks must go to the QRU for supporting this initiative, and for the extensive preparation by Squad Managers, Peter Gofton and Dick Byres, which made the weekend such a great success.”

Members of the QRU SRC Senior Development Squad also wish to thank the QRRA and Paul Evans for the provision of lunch and refreshments, Michael Willis and Anglican Church Grammar School for the organisation of the venue and each guest presenter for making themselves available to share their experiences. Education continues for Queensland Match Officials with the QRRA Law Changes and Game Management Presentation at Anglican Church Grammar School on Sunday 16th February, followed by the Season Launch function at the Lord Stanley Hotel.  Members of the QRU SRC Pathway Development Squad have their development day on Saturday 1st March.

Queensland Rugby Union State Referee Committee Senior Development Squad 2014
Referees: Tim Aistrope, Tim Clough, Brett Cronan, Rupert Dingle, Cameron Foley, Rachel Horton, Chyna Howlett, Sam Rasmussen, Shaun Rigby, Cameron Stanfield, Harrison Tait, Andrew Twist, Chris Woodhouse
Referee Coaches: Paul Evans, Mark Hogan, Pat Rae, Craig Taylor
Squad Managers: Dick Byres, Peter Gofton