A National Rugby League initiative aimed at recruiting former defence personnel into officiating is set to give back to the communities along Flinders Highway later this month.
The camp, named 'Go West', has been designed as part of the NRL officiating program Battlefields to Footy Fields and with joint funding from the QRL Northern Region, is stopping in at Hughenden, Richmond, Julia Creek, Cloncurry and Mt Isa from November 24 through to November 30.
Within each community, a League Tag community gala night will be played, with all members of that community being invited to try the game at no cost, with a canteen being opened by each of the junior league clubs within the town.
NRL referee development officer for North Queensland Michael Inman said it was the perfect opportunity for match officials to learn new skills whilst integrating back with the local community.
“The Battlefields to Footy Fields program is an ideal vehicle to have our former Australian Defence Force personnel integrate back in the community with the League Tag community days, while receiving on-the-spot referee training from our referee educators,” Inman said.
During the camp each of the participants will receive further education on their own officiating pathway, along with accompanying school visits during the day.
Local club involvement has been key to this, with Vicki Horton from Hughenden jumping on board straight away.
“Having this camp come through our region has given us an ability to engage with our community outside the normal rugby league season,” Horton said.
The match officials will be exposed to a higher level of referee education material during the week, learning about general officiating principals.
“Most of these match officials have been only officiating for a couple of months, and we see this an opportunity to drill down further into their roles as match officials while giving them a platform to work into communities,” Inman added.
“Starting from Townsville and finishing as part of the North West Referees presentation night we hope to expose and help our Battlefields to Footy Fields match officials to different aspects of the refereeing community."
For more information, please contact Michael Inman.
League Tag community gala nights
Monday, November 25 at 6pm – Hughenden Showgrounds
Tuesday, November 26 at 6pm - Richmond
Wednesday, November 27 at 6pm - Kev Bannah Oval
Thursday, November 28 at 6pm – Eddie Lee Field
Friday, November 29 at 6pm – Mt Isa Rugby Union Ground