Some of Australia's best female rugby referees were in action at the ARU National Women's Championships held recently at St Ignatius College, Riverview.
The referee team consisted of Sarah Corrigan (ACT), Amy Perrett (NSW), Rachel Horton (QLD), Chyna Howlett (QLD), Kath Cherry (SA), Amber Hibbard (VIC), Kath Little (NSW Country), Tyler Miller (WA) and Hayley Goodacre (NSW). Every game across the three match days was officiated with an entirely female team of referees, assistant referees and #4 officials.
Referee Coaches present were Dick Byres (QLD), Rob Kellam (WA), Frank Meiklejohn (NSW) and Marika Vertzonis (VIC).
With funding support from the Australian Sports Commission, the ARU held a full-day workshop of education for all 13 tournament participants in preparation for the Championships. The highlight of the day was a presentation on mental toughness from Prof. Justus Potgieter, a sports psychologist and emeritus professor at the Department of Sport Science at Stellenbosch University. Justus is a former rugby referee himself, and accompanied the South African team to the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000 as the official sport psychologist – the first such appointment in South Africa.
The group also received presentations from two Super Rugby Referees, Angus Gardner on "Empathy and Changing Player Behaviour", and regular IRB touch judge James Leckie on "Assistant Refereeing".
The final of the tournament, between Queensland and Sydney, was refereed by former Women's World Cup Final Referee Sarah Corrigan. Sydney won 22-3.