Zayden Martin is only in his third year of refereeing, but already the Gold Coast teenager is climbing the grades.

A former junior player with the Nerang Roosters, Zayden hasn’t looked back since taking up the whistle.

This weekend, the Merrimac State High School student will head to Darwin with Pittsworth’s Marcus Fitzgerald to officiate at the National 12 Years Carnival.

“I’m very excited to get this opportunity,” Zayden said.

“I actually haven’t really set a goal yet. My first goal was to get selected and just to learn and gain more experience.”

One of Zayden’s strengths is his ability to “learn quickly”, a trait that certainly rings true when you look closely at how his young refereeing career is progressing.

The 16-year-old recently refereed the final of the Queensland Under 12 Championships at Runaway Bay.

While in Darwin, Zayden will have the chance to work with some of the country’s most experienced coaches.

“He will have the opportunity to be around Steve Clark,” said QRL Game Development Officer Glen Richardson, who will also mentor the young referees in Darwin.

“Our goal is for all of our referees to perform at the best of their ability. For Jayden, this will be a great opportunity for him to referee the best 12 year olds in the country.”