2008 Scholarship Holders
Ryan Arblaster - Swimming
Corey Bowen - AFL
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
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
Erin Collis - Swimming
Lee Corey - Football (Soccer)
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
Peter Gough - Rugby league
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)
Darren Grimsey - Volleyball
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
Matthew Kellahan - Rugby union
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
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.