NZ Referees squad includes new members from South

Mason played 28 games for the Spirit before she suffered a serious knee injury in 2018. Photo:...
Mason played 28 games for the Spirit before she suffered a serious knee injury in 2018. Photo: Gregor Richardson
New Zealand Rugby has announced the New Zealand Referees high performance squad for the 2022 provincial rugby season and it includes a couple of newbies from the South.

Dunedin police officer Erin Doherty and former Spirit player Georgia Mason have made the panel.

Mason played 28 games for the Spirit before she suffered a serious knee injury in 2018.

A smart and industrious openside flanker, what she lacked in size, she made up for in passion.

She had notched 100 games with University before her 22nd birthday, and now works for Rugby Southland as a junior rugby development officer.

Doherty made her refereeing debut in 2018 and quickly rose through the ranks.

She played premier rugby for Kaikorai and her junior footy in West Taieri.

Doherty is a well-respected whistle-blower who has excelled with every step up.

Will Johnston and Andrew Morton are also new to the list.

The South is well represented. Southlander Cassie Watt returns, as do Otago referees James Doleman and Fraser Hannon, while Ben O’Keeffe, Jono Bredin and Stu Curran all started out refereeing in Otago.

The squad boast plenty of experience. Nick Briant, Mike Fraser, O’Keeffe, Paul Williams, Brendon Pickerill and Doleman have all clocked more than 100 first class games each.

Fraser and Briant return for their 16th and 14th seasons respectively, Briant six appointments away from bringing up 200 First Class matches.

NZR national referee manager Bryce Lawrence said with experienced referees Lauren Jenner and Maggie Cogger-Orr set to focus on Rugby World Cup 2021 preparations, the door had been opened for others.

"It’s fantastic that Lauren and Maggie are building to the Rugby World Cup here in New Zealand and we’ve been really impressed with the way they’ve handled test match rugby. ‘‘Their success now means that there are chances for other women referees,’’ Lawrence said.

"We've also selected Georgia and Erin as we look to build depth in women’s refereeing. They’re both promising referees and they’ll benefit from learning about the technical, tactical and game knowledge required at this level."

2022 New Zealand referee

High performance squad

Jono Bredin, Nick Briant, Stu Catley, Maggie Cogger-Orr, Stu Curran, Erin Doherty*, James Doleman, Mike Fraser, Natarsha Garnley, Fraser Hannon, George Haswell, Jackson Henshaw, Nick Hogan, Lauren Jenner, Will Johnston*, Angus Mabey, Georgia Mason*, Daniel Moore, Andrew Morton*, Tiana Ngawati, Ben O’Keeffe, Brendon Pickerill, Marcus Playle, Cam Stone, Taneika Uerata, Dan Waenga, Cassie Watt, Paul Williams, Michael Winter, Larissa Woolerton, Ben Woolerton.

* Denotes selection to the squad for the first time.

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