Hawke's Bay Rugby Union chief executive Jay Campbell is putting his whistle where his mouth is to help out with the shortage of referees in the region.
With a couple of courses and a tutorial behind him, along with a yearning look out the office window at the greener fields beyond, the "not-so-long 50" man at the top will step out tomorrow for 35-minutes each way refereeing an F-grade schools match between Hastings Boys' High and old-school St John's College.
It's a first, possibly even among rugby union bosses throughout the country, for former senior club player Campbell, whose refereeing experience is otherwise limited to looking after some of his children's soccer matches.
But it's no one-off waving of the flag. He hopes to referee a game at least once every fortnight, while still hoping to be able to watch the daughters' netball games on the off-weeks.
The shortage has been forecast by referee and rugby union leadership for some years, and HB Referees Association chairman Brent Malone's prediction it would come to a head this season as soon as all grades are up and running materialised on Monday when just 18 referees were initially available for more than 40 games.
Almost half were needed for just the top two grades of Premier and Senior 1 rugby, but it's also the first day of Saturday schools games.
He said arms have been twisted, a core, including himself, will referee two games each, and at least six Magpies wider training squad members join the roster of referees this weekend, meeting a now contractual commitment to get at least one game under their belt with the whistle, with the dual effect of adding to their own knowledge of the laws of the game.
Malone says the appointments try to match referees to their level, but there are still some Senior 3 and Colts matches this weekend where the clubs will have to provide their own.
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"We've had to try everything and draw on all the resources we can," Malone said.
"But the clubs have been warned that unless they step-up to help out, putting people forward - retired players, other club members – it's only going to get worse."
It's voluntary stuff, no payment apart from a bit of travel subsidy, and free admission to Magpies' games about the only remuneration, he says.
But there's plenty of camaraderie and self-achievement in putting something back into the game that most have played in Hawke's Bay.
Campbell says he doesn't have any ambitions in refereeing, other than doing his bit to help out.
"I think it's absolutely admirable," says Malone.