Referee problem is a rugby problem

The Wrap

Up on the High Veldt the Sharks turned over the previously unbeaten MAQ’s (Kaik) to start the Gallaway with a bang but lost seven players in the process, with a couple of season-ending injuries, so it came at a massive cost.

The GI Spannerheads started with an unconvincing win over AU at the Pony Pit but nevertheless will take the points. AU could rue this result.

Harbour was down at halftime at home to Zingers but midfielder Sala Halaleva righted the ship and the side soared into the ether in the second half. The Eels’ gills have well and truly fallen off as they slumped to a big loss to the erratic Varsity side. That’s three straight for the Eels and questions will be asked. They dumped their coaches after winning the banner last year, so imagine what the “little general” Casey is threatening this week? The mind boggles.

Rugby’s crisis

I broke the story on the ref shortage last week with the very real possibility that some grades would not be getting refereed.

The Council of Rugby Clubs (CRC) had meetings with the referees on Monday and agreed it was a rugby problem, not a referee problem. The CRC put a letter to all clubs that had a senior open grade side that they would need to supply at least one potential referee from their ranks to help with games on a Saturday, thus taking the strain off the referees’ association.

It’s not a big ask, as the referees’ association programme takes an hour and they’ll be assigned in most cases to Saturday morning schoolboys games. It can’t be that hard — I’ve volunteered and should be out on the track in the next couple of weeks.

God help those poor teams and if the crowds have advice for me that I don’t consider funny, they will certainly get a red card and their marching orders.

We have some referees doing three games on Saturday, which is unacceptable, and most are doing two. And it’s the same all over the province.

Roy Daniels (the Pres) was in Roxburgh (which let me down badly and lost) at the weekend and spoke to ref Jimmy Hill from Millers Flat. He had driven to Tapanui and refereed a game there then assistant refereed a first XV game, then drove back to Roxburgh and assisted the premier game there. Remember these guys are volunteers.

If you think you can help out, get in touch with Tumua Ioane ( and get into it — you’ll enjoy it.

Since I broke the story last Friday, Tumua has been flat out fielding inquiries, which is great to hear. Remember, it’s rugby’s problem, therefore OUR problem.

Only in Queenstown

The Landers are playing in Queenstown on Sunday, May 30, so is a great chance for the Central region to see some quality football.

Word is they approached Wakatip and Arrowtown to play their club game there as a curtain raiser. Their respective opponents, Upper Clutha and Maniototo, apparently were as keen as, but the home teams have both turned it down.

I can see their thinking, giving up their home ground and bar takings afterwards, so no blame attached. But exposing Central Otago Prem to a much wider audience was possibly worth the revenue loss.

Full marks to the Landers, though, for coming up with the idea.

Some bits

Timoci Tavatavanawai (affectionately known as Jimmy the Difference), the replacement Landers winger, has been cutting up for the Magpies lately. He had to play for their Prem two side at the weekend as the Prems had a bye and it still couldn’t get it done against the Sharks.

Country rugby

Valley and Old Boys couldn’t be separated in the North and are looming as finalists up there. Clutha Valley PTA have taken the West Taieri Swine mantle as “unbeatable” and does it now go all the way? The inveterate gambler in me says yes.

This weekend

Destroyed Chaver last weekend and on to Lance (Abramovich) Spence this week, so the legend grows. The Spannerheads are at home to the Magpies (12-) and I’m tipping a draw. Surely the Eels (12-) get back in the saline and get up over AU at the Elver Pit. The Sharks (12-) with a climbing injury toll should be no chance at the Sandpit against Harbour, but they’ve been finding a way lately. Varsity (13+) will be too much for Zingers at Bastion Point.

Up against Terry McAtamney from Clutha Valley PTA and after getting thrashed by Red O’Connell with a perfect 60 last week, the confidence is low. Owaka (12-) at home to Toko just get up. Roxburgh at home against Clutha Valley PTA (13+) are not a starters chance. I’m picking Clutha (12-) to tip over home side Heriot. The Coalminers (13+) with loaded “Tilley Lamps” have too many batteries for Clinton.

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