Appointment reflects rapid rise

Jono Bredin and son Nixon at home this week. Photo: Gregor Richardson
Jono Bredin and son Nixon at home this week. Photo: Gregor Richardson
Jono Bredin is swiftly moving up the ranks but says refereeing rugby is a constant learning curve.

Bredin (33) was this week appointed to the national squad and may referee first-class matches next year.

Not bad going for a guy who  took up the rugby refereeing job

in only 2016 and is what he describes as far from the finished product.

Bredin has done it all as a netball umpire.

He finished off this year with refereeing the Commonwealth Games gold medal match and also the ANZ Premiership final.But he has decided to pour all his energies into the 15-man game and got an unexpected surprise when he was called up to the national squad.

"It was a little bit of a surprise. I guess it was what I was working toward. Now it is up to me to prove my worth," he said.

"I had my first game back in 2016 and this [appointment] shows how far I have come, considering I have never played a game of rugby. But it is a constant learning curve."

Bredin said the game of rugby was like any other sport in the way you officiated it.

"It is more about facilitating the contest. A big part of officiating, be it rugby or netball, or any sport really, is player management and having a feel for the game.

"That is certainly something I have been working on in rugby and I am developing it."

Bredin said with netball there was not a lot of down-time when refereeing and decisions could  be explained.

Rugby had more stoppages and referees could explain decisions to the players. You could  use advantage better in the 15-man game, he said.Both netball and rugby were complex games and sometimes it was the job of the official to make things simple to understand.

"The biggest and most complex area in rugby is, of course, the maul and the breakdown ...  I think it is really important that you rule on the first infringement and not the second or third one that happens.

"With the game getting faster, the intensity lifting and people want to really win, you have to make sure you are rewarding players who are following the law from both teams."

As for what sport you had to be fitter for, Bredin said it was probably rugby, as the field was bigger and the game went for 80 minutes as opposed to one hour for netball.

"Netball is more short, sharp bursts and obviously the game does not last as long."

He did fitness work with a personal trainer and also trained at the gym, as fitness was very important.

"If you are physically fit then mentally you are able to make the decisions. If you are tired you can make mistakes.

"All games are different. Some games you may do a lot of running while others, say a cold day, you might be walking, and do a lot more talking."

In his fourth game he ended up at the bottom of the maul, which was a rough introduction to the sport for him but just highlighted  the need to stand in the right place.

As for criticism, Bredin said he got used to it and that was the part of sport — both in rugby and netball.

Bredin said he could not have made the progress so quickly without the assistance of his  refereeing colleagues in Otago, New Zealand Rugby and his coach, Jim Thomson.

He said it was tough to give away his netball umpiring but in the end it came down to time.

He had a busy job as a chartered accountant and  had a 20-month-old son, Nixon, with partner Danielle Maulder.

A second baby is due in January.

"With all that it just got to a point where time was limited and I knew how much time was  needed in netball... I have been lucky enough to be given this opportunity so I need to show a level of commitment."

He would still be a member of the  international rules panel for netball.

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