Nepean Referees Group (NRG) has had three locals accepted for the 2017 national football referees talent pool.
Local referees Nick Farmer, Emma Kocbek and Ebony Humphrey will one day potentially officiate on either the W or A league after being nominated by the NRG. Kocbek and Humphrey – as well as Isaac Barnes from Glenbrook – have also been accepted into the Football NSW Referees Academy.
NRG referees manager Graham Chapman said the news was a coup for the group after starting just three years ago.
“This makes NRG the second biggest contributor to the national talent pool for 2017, which is an incredible effort,” he said. “They will remain refereeing in our local region but will now embark on bigger experiences outside of this region and ultimately officiate at national events.”
The NRG is owned by Nepean Football Association and has been set up to support the district to develop the game.
While the group aims to “recruit, retain and continuously develop” qualified referees to service the needs of the Nepean Football Association, it also aims to have locals refereeing at the highest levels.
“Our management team remains determined with the support of our ruling body to achieve our goal of having a local officiate in the A league or W league within 10 years and if we can achieve this goal faster we will,” Mr Chapman said. “Refereeing is an exciting career path or a great challenge for the weekend. I am especially excited how many young referees are now joining the NRG and this positions us incredibly well for an exciting future.
“The greatest reward for us is seeing young people by weekday focus on school or work and then on the weekend they are real leaders in our community, refereeing 22 people and dealing with the challenges that arise from both players and spectators alike.”
Head of NSW Football referees and A league referees, Kris Griffith-Jones, said NRG was now the “benchmark” for other associations and referee groups.
“They continue to develop and show terrific energy towards the growth of referees of all ages,” he said.
Nearly 300 referees are part of the group. Anyone who would like to become a referee should visit www.nepeanrefereesgroup.com.au.