Bathurst-based Group 10 whistle blower Bryce Hotham has been a referee on the rise for a number of seasons.
And that ascension through the referee’s ranks looks like it will now be fast-tracked after the Country Rugby League announced a new pathway for referees based in the bush.
Country Rugby League has formed a junior representative squad, which Hotham will be part of, for 2018, bringing the pathway in line with the national structure of officiating and mirrors the structure of both the New South Wales Rugby League and Queensland Rugby League junior representative programs.
As per the national structure of officiating pathway, Country Rugby League junior representative referee’s squad will consist of officials from the 2017 High Performance Squad, with a total of 20 referees selected to take part in the program.
Hotham, who made his Group 10 premier league debut in the middle in 2017, will commence training over the summer and will then be appointed to officiate throughout the 2018 Country Rugby League Country Championships.
For Hotham, his inclusion in the Country Rugby League squad will mean he will have access to, without having to travel to Sydney, the same coaching and mentoring young referees in the city are regularly exposed to.
NRL national pathways coach Shayne Hayne believes the new structure provides a great opportunity for young regional referees.
“With these new pathways and structures in place, it allows CRL referees to stay at home and not have to leave their area and still have the opportunity to receive additional education to assist them in becoming Elite match Officials,” Hayne said.
“There is now a clear pathway for CRL referees to become an elite match Official and I am confident this will translate into quality on-field performances.”
Hayne thanked Country Rugby League’s work.
“I’d like to thank Country Rugby League for their assistance in creating this opportunity for young referees throughout New South Wales,” he said.
- SQUAD: Pat Allen (Central Coast), Dylan Clarke (Newcastle), Greg Digby (Newcastle), Bayley Dimarco (Group 3), Hayden Doughty (Central Coast), Mitch Everest (Northern Rivers), Brett Eyb (Newcastle), Jack Greentree (Central Coast), Brad Hart (Group 16), Connor Hibbit (Central Coast), Bryce Hotham (Group 10), Tyrone Jordan (Illawarra), Louis Matheson (Newcastle), Nick Martin (Group 21), Jack Nicholson (Northern Rivers), Blake Riolo (Illawarra), Jesse Rutter (Group 21), Ryan Sweeney (Group 16), Murray Wilson (Newcastle), Zac Withers (Group 3).