Rugby: New ref role close to Alanna's heart

By Cameron Leslie

Wanting to become a referee? Call Alanna Clare, Northland's new rugby referee administrator.

The ex-Kamo High School student has returned home from Melbourne, and taken charge of the whistle for the Northland Rugby Referee Association (NRRA).

The 24-year-old said returning to Whangarei was "a no-brainer" considering how close to her heart Northland rugby is.

"I was just browsing one day [on seek.co.nz] out of curiosity and I saw that job came up," said Clare.

"It sang out to me because it's something that I've always wanted to do.

"And to be able to come back home and do something in my home town is something close to the heart. It sort of was a no- brainer."

Clare's job, which she started two weeks ago, means she works closely with the Northland Rugby Union (NRU) in their headquarters, working alongside referee education officer Kyal Collins in looking after referees' needs across the region.

"They've [the NRU and the NRRA] got a joint understanding," Clare said.

"Because, at the end of the day, when it comes to referees they're a fundamental in terms of having the game go ahead.

"It's a relationship I have to liaise with a number of people to make sure they know what's coming up.

"What my job is [in relation to club rugby], is making sure the fixtures go ahead [and be] kept in the loop with rugby right throughout the region."

Having studied communication studies in Waikato, Clare hopes she can get the message out that there is a zero tolerance in Northland when it comes to violence directed at referees.

Last August a code of ethics was introduced in Northland by the NRRA outlining the standards expected from players, coaches and spectators.

"Basically there's a zero tolerance," said Clare.

"All clubs are responsible for their supporters' actions at a game and assaults on referees aren't acceptable."

Clare hopes to have an influence on referees and attract a few more ex-players or people who are keen to be involved with rugby on various levels.

"For anyone out there who has a keen interest for the sport and actually sort of wants to get involved at a deeper level, refereeing is a great way.

"It's not about just wanting to be a referee, it's about being passionate and having fun while doing it.

"There's refereeing out there at different levels - you don't have to referee at premier level. The smaller level, at the end of the day, are playing rugby because they enjoy the game and people are watching because they enjoy the product."

For anyone wanting to become a referee, they should contact either Alanna or Kyal on refereeadmin@northlandrugby.co.nz.

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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