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Mini Maroons: Young Central Highlands referee turns mentor for peers

Not only is Alexis Codrington impressing in the referee ranks in the Central Highlands, the 14-year-old is doing her part to mentor her peers to help boost their confidence.

The Emerald Tigers junior, a halfback who has played since under 7s, completed a rugby league referee course last year, having experience in the local touch football competition.

Alexis is known for being a clear, loud and direct communicator for the under 7s to under 10s, a style inspired by her own experiences in the game.

"I like refereeing because you're educating little kids on the rules and you're helping them learn, so when they get older they know how to play," Alexis said.

"When I was growing up and it was easier when the referee would explain the rules to me if I did something wrong."

Alexis is lucky enough to have her referee dad Anthony as a major influence and mentor - and on the weekend put some of what she learned into action to help another young referee, Ethan Yates, gain some confidence.

Alexis Codrington on the sideline.
Alexis Codrington on the sideline.

"I felt good about helping him because helping people is really good. It's nice to help people out if they're unsure," Alexis said.

The under 15s player has even run touch lines for a couple of senior matches, and hopes to add to her tally.

"It was pretty nerve wracking because they're a lot older and bigger than me," she said.

"But once I was like in the middle of the game, I started to feel like I was okay. I was doing really good at it."

Alexis said she enjoyed playing and refereeing equally and hoped to continue both for as long as she could.

Bundaberg Brothers juniors bolster officiating ranks

An influx of Bundaberg Brothers players into the Sugar Coast Rugby League Referees' Association has been a huge win for local junior footy.

Brothers has nine players signed up to referee from its under 13s alone, along with four from the under 14s. 

While many of them picked up the skills as part of the RISE program, Brothers president Hadley Monckton - himself a referee - said children seeing their peers officiating was encouraging more to get involved

"I think they saw me do it and then they started seeing a few of the others, then there was a couple of little ones that started to do it," Monckton said.

"Some do jump on board and then have to bail because it's not for everyone, but most of them jump on board and at least still hang around even if it is just for the junior grades."

Sugar Coast Rugby League Referees' Assocation Northern junior coordinator John Orpin said most of the clubs in his area had a few participants and said they were all very willing to learn.

"We just sort of try to do our best with them and give them a good environment to referee in and we look after them," Orpin said.

"They're always really good to deal with and willing to learn and take feedback on."

It is hoped the young referees can continue to develop and officiate the International age groups.

Main image courtesy of Megan Gimm

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Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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