Australian Rugby School Referee Scholarships


On Wednesday afternoon Emilya Byrne (Glennie Yr12) and Tom Kelk (TGS Yr12) who were presented with their Rugby Australia School Referee Scholarships.The Rugby Australia School Student Scholarship was introduced a number of years ago to help raise the profile of refereeing at schools, and to provide encouragement for young referees to remain in refereeing when they leave school. The program has proved very successful with a significant number of young referees progressing through the scholarship program to referee at senior levels in their state and internationally. Students selected for the SSS program will be involved in a rang of activities designed to improve their knowledge of the game, and to enhance their performance as a referee exposing them to a higher standard of rugby. Going away to state carnivals where they will be referee coached by current and previous professional referee's providing first class feedback face to face. 

There were 27 scholarships awarded nationally this year, with only 8 awarded to Queensland students.  Emilya is the only female student to be awarded in 2018.The presentation will be made by Rugby Australia’s Rohan Hoffman. Rohan is the Rugby Australia Queensland Referee Development Manager, he is also a former international and Super Rugby referee who has played internationally at fly-half and fullback for QLD and Portugal 

Scott Lindblom was also in attendance for the presentation, Scott is the President of Darling Downs Rugby Referees and the Chair of Queensland Country Referees.  Scott played rugby in a number of states across Australia as well as overseas in the last 15 years Scott has dedicated himself to refereeing.  He is Referee Coach and an active member with the Australian National Referee Presidents.

Emilya Byrne Year 12 Student at The Glennie School. Emilya has been refereeing for 4 seasons, refereeing teenage games for many years and this season she is debuting refereeing Darling Downs Senior Men’s Rugby.  She has refereed all teenage grades in Darling Downs and she has also refereed a range of representative school games.  During 2017 she refereed state teenage carnivals in Brisbane.  She was Assistant Referee in the 2017 Toowoomba Grammar / Downlands 1st XV.  Emilya is an active 7s player for Glennie Girls School, USQ Ladies Sevens and she is a regional representative sevens player.

Down Rugby Referee President, Scott Lindblom: “Emilya is a highly competent referee with years of maturity beyond her age.   Each of the last four years she has been regularly coached and she continues to develop at an advanced pace – she now referees all levels of teenage rugby and lower grade men’s games.  Emilya has a passion for the game and being a representative player, she has a natural repour with players.  She has been identified for fast tracking and this commenced more formally during 2017.”

Tom Kelk is a Year 12 student at Toowoomba Grammar School. Tom has been refereeing for 5 seasons.   He has refereed all teenage grades in Darling Downs and he has also refereed a range of representative school games.  During 2017 he refereed a number of representative teenage games. Tom recently made his debut refereeing Darling Downs Men’s Risdon Cup rugby. Last December he participated in the Rugby Australia L1 Foundation Course. Tom is a regional representative player for Darling Downs and he recently toured the USA as a player with Toowoomba Grammar School.

Down Rugby Referee President, Scott Lindblom: “Tom is a very mature referee for his age. Since a young age he has presented with a very calm approach under pressure, with a clear and consistent decision-making process.  Being a talents player himself, Tom has great empathy with the players.  This season his focus has been on development of his core refereeing skills, underpinned by a conscious uplift in speed and work rate.  This has seen him rewarded by Risdon Cup games and representative honours.”

We congratulate Tom and Emilya on this wonderful achievement and wish them the best of luck with their refereeing opportunities this year. 

FK Gardner & Sons