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Grassroots referees given elite tips at NRL workshop

More than 60 grassroots referees from South-East Queensland mixed with NRL match officials and honed their skills at a special workshop on Tuesday.

The budding whistleblowers were invited to be part of the announcement of the grand final officials before participating in drills run by NRL referee development staff at Suncorp Stadium.

"They did some activities, they got an opportunity to go through the mobile Bunker that's situated at the ground and to [also] be involved in some skill development and some education," NRL general manager of officiating development and pathways Tony Archer said.

"They had prizes, they could win tickets to the grand final and they got to engage with the NRL referees.

"So it's a wonderful opportunity for the NRL referees to recognise the contribution of Brisbane and South-East Queensland and to connect with our young community referees.

A participant at the referees coaching clinic in Brisbane.
A participant at the referees coaching clinic in Brisbane. ©Scott Davis/NRL Photos

"They went through some training drills, they had some education, they got an opportunity to ask questions of the elite referees.

"That education is really important for those young referees who are desiring to become NRL referees."

Kane Cowan, a 17-year-old referee from the Sunshine Coast, left the workshop "more inspired" to reach the top level.

"It was beneficial, talking to the high-up referees of the NRL, seeing where they came from in Australia and their road to becoming successful," said Cowan, who has refereed for several years.

"It showed that really anyone can do it and it's more how you put your mind to it and what you want to succeed in.

The NRL Telstra Premiership grand final is here!

"We saw the Bunker van. It was positioned outside where we did the function. We got to go into the stadium and experience the dugouts."

Cowan said the participants were split into "four or five groups" by referee coaches for training exercises focused on "memory work, using your peripheral vision and touch judging".

"I think it's a good thing the NRL was doing. I feel like it's bringing the Queensland referee community together," Cowan said.

"I feel like they should do it every year in different states because there were people that I didn't even know; it just brought us all together to have a chat."