You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content
Gold Coast duo take on officiating reins on grand final day

Two Gold Coast referees will officiate on the big stage today, with Tori Wilkie and Dylan Lawrence taking charge of the BMD Premiership and Mal Meninga Cup grand finals.

Wilkie has been appointed as the BMD Premiership match official for the second year straight while Lawrence will officiate his first Mal Meninga Cup grand final, after previously taking on the role of touch judge in the 2022 Mal Meninga Cup decider and the 2023 Colts grand final.

The two have come through the ranks together and for second-timer Wilkie, she is confident Lawrence knows exactly how to handle the occasion when the Tweed Seagulls and Burleigh Bears go into battle at 12pm today.

Dylan Lawrence (right) with the 2023 Colts grand final officiating team. Photo: Zain Mohammed/QRL
Dylan Lawrence (right) with the 2023 Colts grand final officiating team. Photo: Zain Mohammed/QRL

“I think the key is just to enjoy the moment and soak it in,” she said of the day ahead.

“Dylan’s a good friend of mine. We’ve refereed together for a long time, both being from the Gold Coast, so he knows what to expect.

“He’s touch judged the Mal final previously and the Colts final so I know he’s in a good spot... It’s his first time in the middle so he needs to soak it up and enjoy it.

“It’s really good to see two Gold Coast guys that have gone through refereeing together, to see him on one game and I’m on the other, it’s a good feeling.

“It’s a lot more nerve-wrecking than a normal game but you have to go in there thinking it’s like every other game. You don’t want to be that overly nervous because it can make it a bit harder.

“It’s definitely a level up to what your normal round games are… they are a lot more intense but you have to approach it like any other game.”

For Lawrence, today’s grand final at Kayo Stadium will rank among his highest career achievements so far.

“It’s pretty humbling,” he said.

“It’s obviously a really exciting opportunity. The competition has probably gone up a step this year. They went from under 18s to 19s and I really felt it’s improved from last year with the quality of play.

“I missed out on the final selection last year and I had it in the back of my mind that I wanted to get back to this stage this year. I wasn’t working directly towards it, just trying to get better year on year.

“It’s definitely up there for me. I’ve been lucky enough to touch judge in the Mal finals and Colts grand final. I’ve done the National Schoolboys grand final too but this one might be up there, probably the best one.”

A number of senior referees have reached out to Lawrence this week or helped him in the lead up to this game, including Jarrod Cole, Nick Morel and Wyatt Raymond, with Cole giving him the advice he will carry into today.

“Jarrod gave me technical advice on what to expect but also said to just enjoy it,” Lawrence said.

“He said that you never know how many grand finals you’re going to do so work really hard for myself and as a team with my touch judges, and leave nothing out there for the betterment of the game and the teams.”

Wilkie’s game will kick off at 2pm today and she is prepared for a high-intensity battle.

“This year I felt the competition was a lot stronger, a lot more competitive and the game quality is definitely improving,” she said.

“As a referee, you’re developing as well because the competition is getting better. That’s how I felt.

“I’m just expecting it to be a quick game today where it’s just footy played.

“They’ll be a lot more competitive in the rucks and a bit more aggressive but still going to be a lot quicker than your normal round game being the two top teams.”

Tori Wilkie in action. Photo: Ben Van Moolenbroek/QRL
Tori Wilkie in action. Photo: Ben Van Moolenbroek/QRL

Wilkie – who was a touch judge in the women’s State of Origin opener - said it’s always an honour to be picked for grand final day and shows her she is maintaining her consistency.

“It helps you know that you are still improving and still at that level,” she said of her selection for the BMD Premiership grand final.

“You don’t want to be dropping as a ref, you want to be improving and being consistent with your game. Between your best and worst, you don’t want a big gap.

“You want to be as consistent as possible.”

Catch all the BMD Premiership and Mal Meninga Cup grand final action live on and Kayo Freebies.

Acknowledgement of Country

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.

Platinum Partners

View All Partners