Young refs looking to the future
PLAYERS are yet to fully use the pathway to higher levels of the game that the Hyundai QSL offers. However, match official Sam Williams is racing along this road to the top.
Williams has been making progress under the watchful eye of local senior referee co-ordinator Barry Such, moving from the local competition and into the higher quality State competition smoothly.
Now Williams is set to take charge of his biggest match at the weekend when he is the man in the middle for the first match of the QSL finals series when the Daily Mercury Whitsunday Miners face Gold Coast Stars.
It will be a big match as the Miners will be playing in the finals for the first time and a large crowd is anticipated.
Making the occasion even more exciting for players, supporters and officials, the match is the first to be played at Mackay's new stadium.
The importance of the occasion only makes Williams look forward to the experience even more.
“I think it'll be a good game. Both teams will be going out to play good football,” Williams said.
“That will make it more enjoyable. It should be fun.”
However, it is not just about fun as Williams, who is fitter and trimmer than anytime in his life, still has goals to achieve.
“I definitely want to do A-League. I want to go as far as I can,” he said.
Rockhampton has a good record for match officials with Mark Shields and Jacque Leleu both making it through to the top in the men's and women's game respectively while under the guidance of Such.
While holding his personal ambitions, Williams still feels a responsibility to the young officials who are making their way along the path he was already negotiated.
“Now I want these fellas to follow me,” he said pointing towards teenage officials Connor Newman and Taylor Maliborskij.
At just 16 years of age, Newman has already caught the eye of top officials and has been appointed as an assistant referee for matches during the QSL season.
However, the Rockhampton High student is focused on where he wants to go in football.
“I want to be the man in the middle,” he said.
Recently Newman faced his biggest test when appointed assistant referee in a final for an under-18 state tournament in Cairns.
“It was pretty intense. No different to State League,” he said.
And, how is he going to make it to the top?
“Determination,” he said.
For Maliborskij it has also been a great season and he too has been rewarded with an assistant referee's position in some QSL fixtures and was recently appointed to a grand final in a prestigious under-19 secondary schools tournament where he ran a line.
“I learned a lot,” the 18-year-old said.
Like Newman he has ambitions other than being a man with a flag.
“I do want to go in the middle, but not until I'm ready,” he said.
“State League is a good option while locally I'm hoping to be appointed to one of the finals.”
Maliborskij does not want to stop there.
“I definitely want to do A-League and maybe a FIFA badge,” he said.
Such is proud of the youngsters coming through the system in CQ and said Williams will have a fellow CQ official with him at Mackay as Biloela's Ben Cook has been appointed fourth official.
Such said there were others on the way with numerous young referees, male and female, officiating at matches at Norbridge Park each week.
He described the pool of officials as similar to a liquid triangle with a large base.
“The more you push the bottom the more come out the top,” he said.
“It is looking good for 2012, but we are still after a few more. All we can guarantee is expert tuition and good practises.
“We tell them officiating is fun,” he said.