League refs sin-bin spectators
? AT just 15, Aaron Geddes is one of Rockhampton's rising rugby league referees.
Preparing for his second year in the middle, Geddes has welcomed new powers this season to stamp out abusive spectators at games.
Any person who threatens referees under the age of 18 can now be referred to the Department of Child Safety ? Rockhampton Rugby League Referees Association co-ordinator Steve Hamilton believes the statewide move will help curb unruly behaviour towards his team of young referees in 2006.
"Our biggest loss in refereeing is in the junior ranks.
"This is going to protect these kids,'' Hamilton said.
Two seasons ago, Rockhampton Junior Rugby League mini-mod games were abandoned due to parent behaviour on the sidelines and as a result a code of behaviour was introduced and ground officials were put into practice.
"The senior and junior rugby league backed us and since then there have been no major incidents,'' Hamilton said.
"Last year was the highest retention rate we've had.''
Hamilton said Geddes had a bright future in the game.
"Aaron is one of the most rapid rising referees I've seen ? we've been very impressed.''
Rockhampton referees return to the field next week for a threeday training camp at Central Queensland University, which starts on February 3.
Among the topics to be focused upon at the camp are pre-match preparation, training programs, nutrition, game sense, communication and ways to handle aggressive spectators.
A level-one course will also hit Browne Park from February 8. For more details contact Hamilton on 0408?188?204.