For Brenda Twomey, becoming a referee was about staying involved in the game she loves.
Northern NSW Football is celebrating Newcastle Permanent Referee Recognition Week from July 20 to 26, thanking the wonderful match officials who make playing football across northern NSW possible.
Twomey has been a match official with Hunter Valley Football for five years, which has allowed her to remain an active football participant.
“I was always interested in becoming a referee and when I finished playing I still wanted to be involved with the game,” Twomey said.
“So I took the step to become a referee. I enjoy a challenge and being actively part of the game.
“I believe regardless of what level a referee officiates, all games are a big game. This is because players train, coaches put in a lot of time, there is so much that goes on behind the scenes for games to occur regardless of the round, the grade or the age.”
In her five years with the whistle, Twomey has been an assistant referee for a NEWFM Northern League One game and officiated in several Interdistrict grand finals.
Her goal is to continue refereeing for as long as she is able to.
“Over time I have seen many female referees rise to high levels. This has been very inspirational,” Twomey said.
“There have been many referee coaches that have imparted a lot of wisdom. Many senior referees have been a great support and took the time to explain scenarios when I’ve had questions.
“[Some of my best memories refereeing were] receiving words of affirmation from peers and clubs.
“[Some of the challenges I’ve faced refereeing are when] players and coaches are unaware of rule changes. [But for people who have never tried refereeing, it will give] people an entirely different view and appreciation of the game of football.”