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2008 Scholarship Holders

Ryan Arblaster - Swimming

Ryan Arblaster
When Ryan Arblaster started swimming at the age of eight it opened up a whole new world not just for him, but for his parents Ian and Robyn.  All three of them have gone on to become elite swimming officials with Ian an internationally accredited FINA starter, Robyn a FINA open water referee and Arblaster an Australian referee with some major meets to his credit. At 28 Arblaster is one of the younger faces you’re likely to see officiating on a pool deck.  While he reached state level with swimming, Arblaster found greater success with refereeing. Within six years of starting his officiating career, Arblaster found himself inspector of turns at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne and described the atmosphere as “like nothing I’ve experienced before”.    He fits his refereeing commitments around his role as a senior accountant with Sunrise Dam mine, 220km north-east of Kalgoorlie, working there Mondays to Thursdays and flying back to Perth on weekends.  Arblaster says his National Officiating Scholarship will help take his officiating to the next level.  Already he is waiting to hear whether his nomination for FINA accreditation has been approved and hopes long-term to officiate at the 2012 Olympic Games, but at 28, Arblaster says, “I’ve got time on my side”.

Corey Bowen - AFL

Corey Bowen

Adelaide’s Corey Bowen is knocking on the door of AFL senior umpiring selection but his career as an umpire could have ended over an incident at an Under-9s match seven years ago.  Bowen was watching as the teams shook hands when a team manager began pushing players over alleging that one of the juniors had spat at him. The manager was later given a life ban.  Only 16 at the time, Bowen had to endure hearings, late night phone calls and the stress of testifying.  “I was thinking to myself, is it worth it?  Do I really want to do this,” Bowen recalls.  The 24-year-old took up umpiring in high school to make some pocket money and his talent was spotted and he was nominated for the South Australian National Football League Umpiring Academy. Bowen finds that his growing umpiring skills include communication and composure.  “You have to handle pressure when forty-odd thousand people are screaming at you and players as well.  You have to stay calm and relaxed so that you think clearly and make the right decisions.”  He finds that these skills have also helped him as a spare parts interpreter in the motor trade where he says he now finds there’s “no problem” in handling angry and frustrated customers. With his National Officiating Scholarship Bowen hopes to make the AFL senior umpires list and down the track to umpire a grand final at the MCG.


Robyn Boyd - Basketball

Robyn Boyd

For Melbourne’s Robyn Boyd, family dinner conversations inevitably turn to basketball.  The 27-year-old’s parents met while playing basketball and her father became a referee and later a referee evaluator for the sport. Boyd followed their example and met her husband through a basketball match.  Both she and her husband Clinton are now referees.  While she loved playing, at 169cm, Boyd says she was too small and lacked the confidence to continue to higher levels.  Ironically, she now finds herself controlling games featuring male players over 200cm tall. “I feel like I grow on court,” she says.  As a primary school teacher, Boyd says her refereeing skills help her in the classroom.  “You need strength and leadership in dealing with the children.  I was a very shy person growing up and basketball brought out a different side of me that’s helped with my teaching.” Boyd has already refereed a number of South East Australian Basketball League (SEABL) games and two Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) games and hopes to long-term consistently referee in the WNBL and the National Basketball League (NBL) “and at least one Olympics”. She hopes her National Officiating Scholarship will increase her skills and help her referee to a better standard.


Collette Brennan - Netball

Collette Brennan
For a decade Berkeley Vale’s Collette Brennan focused her energies on playing NSW State League Netball.  She also umpired at lower divisions but as her umpiring skills improved and her elite career stalled, Brennan had a choice to make.  “Once I started to get better at umpiring I couldn’t umpire at the division I was in, so I reversed my priorities. I now play a low division and my focus is on umpiring as high as I can.” Brennan says she loves playing and there are advantages to continuing to mix it up on court. “I think I’m a better umpire because I play. I think you get a feeling for the game that makes it easier to understand what’s going to happen, say like an obstruction call.” The 30-year-old has taken up a lot of casual jobs to work around her sport and maintains her off-season fitness by surfboat rowing. The balance between umpiring, work and life is important to Brennan and she cites national A umpire Kate Thornborough as an inspiration.  “Kate has five kids and has dealt with lots of things in her life but that hasn’t stopped her from enjoying netball and being a good umpire.  I admire that.”

Erin Collis - Swimming

Erin Collis
Erin Collis’s mother was a scout leader and a huge advocate of community service and Collis always knew she’d follow suit … she just didn’t expect to do it as a swimming official. The 42-year-old started in the sport when her children joined a local swimming club after the family moved from Cairns to Townsville in 1999.  Collis said she did became involved largely to meet people, but didn’t want to be stuck in the kitchen making food or sitting in the stands spectating.  Now, as her son Blake has progressed as a local and state representative swimmer, so has Collis—as an official.  She juggles her officiating with raising a family and working as a police officer in Townsville’s Traffic Branch and says the parallels between her day job and officiating are very similar. “I never realised it straight away, but with both you’re watching people, you’re examining people and you’re penalising people for doing the wrong thing.  It’s beyond reasonable doubt the same as in swimming.” With the help of her National Officiating Scholarship, Collis hopes to go to become a FINA referee and officiate at a world championships or commonwealth games.

Lee Corey - Football (Soccer)

Lee Corey

In 1999 when the South Australian Institute of Sport assessed Lee Corey as a potential soccer player, the then-16-year-old had “no idea there was such a sport or that women played it”. Lee had been a promising 200m and 400m runner and knew little else than athletics.  She quickly became hooked on the sport and looked set for great things until a debilitating knee injury in 2001 sidelined her. While recovering she was offered a chance to do a refereeing course which later led to a one-year officiating scholarship with the South Australian Women’s Soccer Association. At the end of that year she found herself being an Assistant Referee for the Women’s National Soccer League and then the following season refereeing in the middle for State men’s matches.  Achieving such a lot in a short time gave her a hunger for refereeing and now with the help of a National Officiating Scholarship, the 23-year-old hopes to push on towards her ultimate goal of becoming a FIFA official and one day referee at a Women’s World Cup.


Samantha Gooding - Cycling

Samantha Gooding
Taking up cycling as a schoolgirl “just to get out of the classroom” has set Adelaide’s Samantha Gooding on path to become an international cycling commissaire.  When she first began in the Morphett Vale High School cycling program, Gooding said she didn’t know anything about the sport and only had a “$50 bike from K-Mart” in the shed at home.  A few years later, Gooding was on the verge of national selection for cycling when a crippling knee injury “ripped the dream away”. Determined to make it to international events in her chosen sport she devised a new dream ... to become an international cycling official at major events.  The 23-year-old says she likes the challenge of proving people wrong, particularly those who say that as a woman, she’ll find barriers and resistance to reaching that goal.  She hopes that with her National Officiating Scholarship, she’ll be able to break down many of those perceived barriers.

Peter Gough - Rugby league

Peter Gough

After working his way up through the rugby league ranks to play for the Parramatta Junior Eels in Sydney, Peter Gough suddenly decided to concentrate his efforts on refereeing.  It was, says the 20-year-old, because refereeing became more fun than playing.  “It’s hard to explain, but I get more enjoyment out of it, I feel like I’m giving more to the game.  It’s not about control, but being part of the game and helping the flow.” Now studying Sport and Exercise Science at the University of the Sunshine Coast, Gough says he is fitter and more focussed than as a player.  “There’s a lot more competition for refereeing.  There are 13 positions for players on a field, but only one person can referee.  It takes a lot to push yourself up to get to the top. I’ve already gone a lot further with refereeing than I would have with playing.” Despite feeling as a player that referees were “problem makers”, Gough now hopes to referee professionally and hopes to use his National Officiating Scholarship to give more of an insight in to what is needed to make it to the top as a National Rugby League official.


Kristian Griffith-Jones - Football (Soccer)

Kristian Griffth-Jones
Sydney’s Kristian Griffith-Jones showed early talent in both soccer and cricket, but admits being critical of referees and umpires at the time.   He took up soccer refereeing to maintain his fitness in cricket’s off-season and soon changed his mind. “The most challenging time I faced was sending the wrong player off during a game just on half-time and then having to sort out the mess in the team’s changeroom at the break,” the 29-year-old said. “I have a lot of patience for any official now.” Griffith-Jones said he believed his National Officiating Scholarship would give him an advantage over his peers in their efforts to gain A-League refereeing positions by ”opening up previously closed doors and showing me lots of opportunities to expand my skills”. He hopes one day to progress to FIFA international status.

Darren Grimsey - Volleyball

Darren Grimsey

When he found out he had received a National Officiating Scholarship, Volleyball referee Darren Grimsey said he finally felt “recognised as an official”.  At 36, the Brisbane-based Telstra Centre Director has spent 24 years a club player and 22 years as a referee, moving up the refereeing ranks and last year officiating at his first international tournament—the South Pacific Games in Samoa.  He said the scholarship will help increase his skill levels and international opportunities. It’s a long way from when he first started refereeing at club level, largely to pay for his uniform and travel costs as a player. “I came from an environment where we weren’t very affluent and being a referee was the best way for me to afford to get a head in the game. I’m lucky in that I was ahead [in money terms] instead of it costing me thousands.” Grimsey is proud to “go hard” at every opportunity to advance his refereeing career in the sport that he says is his “love and passion”, and ultimately would like to referee at the 2012 Olympics.


Julie Hodges - Sport Aerobics (Gymnastics)


With degrees in teaching and psychology behind her, Brisbane’s Julie Hodges modestly says she has “reasonable people skills” as a foundation for her ongoing development as a sports aerobics judge.  Add to that a brief stint as a competitor when the sport fell under the fitness industry umbrella before moving under the auspices of Gymnastics Australia, as well as time coaching and administrating, and Hodges seems well-equipped to meet her goal of officiating at the sport’s highest level. “I believe that being involved from the start, and also being involved in many different capacities, stands me in good stead to deal with issues that might arise as I am better able to empathise with each person’s position.”  Hodges says she was excited and grateful to earn a National Officiating Scholarship and will use the support to gain judging experience at a number of competitions including an international World Series event.


Tammy Howard - Netball

Tammy Howard
Self-belief and a high fitness level are two of the most important qualities that Tammy Howard said she brings to her netball umpiring.  Perth-based Howard says a National Officiating Scholarship will take her that one step further, helping her to work harder and “take the important things from what everyone tells me to take me to a new level”.  She hopes that new level will mean receiving her All Australian umpiring badge and one day umpiring at a Commonwealth Games or World Championship. Meanwhile, the 31-year-old also keeps busy as a real estate agent and says that “dealing with all sorts of people every day helps me to deal with different personalities of players and the way that they react to things on court”.

Matthew Kellahan - Rugby union

Matthew Kellahan

When Matt Kellahan started playing rugby union at Sydney Grammar School he discovered that he loved the game but “couldn’t play it to save my life”.  Nonetheless, he was fit and could run and took up refereeing “ so I could be part of rugby without having to make a tackle”. Soon afterwards he was awarded an Australian Rugby Union (ARU) Scholarship which gives him a position as scholarship referee working full-time at the ARU and allows him to start mapping a pathway for furthering his refereeing career. The 20-year-old combines this with studying business administration and sports management at the International College of Management in Manly and says studying complements the work he does as a referee.  “You’re constantly studying the rule book ... it’s almost like a religion, particularly before the season when you go through it cover to cover.  It’s one of the things that I really like about the game because you’re always looking at things that challenge you.”  With his National Officiating Scholarship Kellahan hopes to embrace new challenges and opportunities to expand his knowledge and experience.


Mick Martell - Cricket

Mick Martell

In some ways Perth’s Mick Martell believes he has bridged the divide between cricket players and umpires.  “I am social and I get on well with players,” the 41-year-old umpire says.  “I treat players as though they’re part of a [cricket] family, not just two teams playing each other in front of two guys who happen to be standing there in penguin suits.  Now there are more umpires socialising, more clubs inviting umpires to social events ... it’s something that wouldn’t have happened five or six years ago.” Martell is passionate about the game.  He played for 25 years, but when an arm injury sidelined him, he turned to umpiring.  This hear he has already achieved his goal of umpiring a state cricket match (WA v Tas 50 over a side) and was fourth umpire at the One Day International between Australia and Sri Lanka in February. He fits in his umpiring commitments between shifts as a fireman based at Duncraig Fire Station in suburban Perth and says his skills as a fireman help him handle pressure situations “pretty well”.  With the help of his National Officiating Scholarship, Martell  hopes to consistently work as a national level umpire and to one day stand behind the stumps in an international match.


Chris Morrey - Basketball

Chris Morrey
Melbourne’s Chris Morrey believes that one of his greatest attributes as a basketball player is the ability to understand where players are coming from because he played at a similar level to those he referees.  The 27-year-old played Division 1 in the former Victorian Basketball League and was invited to train with the senior team, but saw officiating taking him further in the sport. “My goal is to push it as far as I can go. National League is my next stepping stone.” At  210cm tall Morrey says his height is another advantage in seeing the action. “I’m looking eye to eye with some of the players. They can’t force their presence on someone like me.” Morrey has already officiated at practice games for the Melbourne Commonwealth Games. With the help of his National Officiating Scholarship he hopes one day to obtain his international qualification.

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Australia has won 10 out of a total of 13 Netball World Championships

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