Refs' whistle-stop tour
Portland’s Jason Whitney and Lithgow’s Chris Redding will officiate in Parramatta on Sunday while Chris Chalkley and Danny Constantine will head west to officiate the first grade and under 18s games between Bathurst Panthers and Orange Hawks respectively.
Group 10 Referees Association secretary Nathan Blanchard said the exchange program between the country and city associations would provide both parties with an invaluable learning tool.
“Both Jason and Chris are two of our most promising referees and for them to be able to experience the standard of football in Parramatta, as well as learn from some experienced officials in Sydney is a terrific opportunity,” Blanchard said.
“They’ll come back better for the trip.
“And the Parra guys coming up to referee in Bathurst on Sunday, I’m sure they’ll enjoy the experience of bush footy, too.”
This is the first time the Group 10 Referees Association has engaged in an exchange program since 2008, when two referees were sent to the Canterbury Bankstown region.
And Blanchard, who has refereed the last four straight Group 10 Premier League grand finals, was hoping this weekend’s exchange won’t be the last.
“Hopefully this will be the start of a tradition with Parramatta that will last a few years,” Blanchard said.