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NQ referees look ahead to presentation night

That time of year is upon us again to celebrate the illustrious moments that 2018 brought to all North Queensland referees and match officials.

This Saturday (September 29) is the date for the annual referees presentation night.

This night is a combination of award presentations, individual recognition and highlights of all things good to great about this memorable rugby league season that is currently drawing to an end.

In an attempt to grasp the importance and significance of such a presentation evening, past recipients were asked to express their views.

Responses were overwhelmingly positive as to the impact this evening has on the North Queensland refereeing community.

Lou Bartley, a referee of 44 years and life member of both the Mackay Referee Association and North Queensland Referees, can recall when things were not quite as formal and "this annual get-together was a backyard barbecue".

The growth of this night has allowed a further recognition of the repeated and sometimes unnoticed efforts rugby league referees put in on a weekly basis.

Bartley went on to emphasise the significance of this night where guests were able to "get together with new and old colleagues" and also shared how proud he was to receive his honourable life membership.

From influential figures of the past to new up-and-coming prospects, this night puts on show everything that is great about being a referee.

Wyatt Raymond, a current referee who is showing exponential growth within the sport and who has recently travelled to Sydney to officiate in the inaugural NRLW, Women's National Rugby League, views this presentation night as a great opportunity.

 "Separate associations and individual competitions to come together to celebrate the achievements, accomplishments and journeys of both referees and officials," Raymond said.

He places a strong significance behind awards such as the Gavin Morris Medal which he was awarded in 2016 for being the highest performing referee in North Queensland.

Perhaps the highlight of the night is the presentation of the prestigious Nick Euclid trophy for the best A Grade referee in North Queensland.

Although having not yet received this award, Raymond holds it in high regard as one of the most honourable achievements, with names such as Michael Inman being the first recipient in 2009 and Chris Nitsopolous in 2013.

"Winning the Nick Euclid medal was my proudest achievement, especially because Nick had such a significant role to play in my development as a young country-based referee," Nitsopolous said of the significance of the award.

The North Queensland Referee presentation night is an occasion for all well established and aspiring referees and officials to come together and celebrate the game and the contribution that each individual has made.

This night is an opportunity for the wider rugby league community to pay tribute to the role that referees play within our game and to acknowledge their integral role in keeping rugby league the premier winter sport in both Queensland and NSW since its introduction in 1908.