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2022 has been an enormous year for Auckland based referee Rochelle Tamarua. Rochelle had the opportunity to go over and referee for the NRLW competition, and the Rugby League World Cup. We had the opportunity to sit down and have a chat with Rochelle, who is also the ARL Referees Development Officer, about her stellar year and what's to come.
Rochelle has been involved with Rugby League as a referee since 2012 taking progressive strides in 2022, leading to her travelling around the world. We asked Rochelle about some of her favourite moments of the breakout season.
“It might sound biased, but my favourite moments this year were my debut games. Being the touch judge for Wales vs Cook Islands was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had as a referee and being from the Cook Islands made the moment even more special. Obviously I have to maintain a high level of professionalism as a World Cup Official, but it was a very proud moment for not only myself, but for our small pacific nation.”
“Earlier in the year refereeing the Titans vs Knights game for the NRLW was another highlight. It was my debut refereeing in the NRLW. Such a good game to be a part of, free flowing and fast. I’m so excited to hopefully get more games in the 2023 season as competition continues to expand.”
Going over to England for the World Cup allowed Rochelle to be amongst the World’s top professional referees. This was a great experience for Rochelle to see how they physically and mentally prepare for their roles, as she continues to solidify herself at the top.
“They’re professional athletes. Day in, day out they take their responsibility of being a referee seriously. To be amongst that environment is such an honour. It's something I'm definitely taking with an open mind, so I can learn as much as I can, so that I'm able to come home with everything I've learnt to run workshops that will give our young New Zealand referees a pathway.”
Being a part of the growing NRLW competition has been a key part of Rochelle’s development. Women’s Rugby League in Auckland is also growing at a rapid rate, each year numbers continue to grow and the quality continues to improve. The Women’s grade is growing in the professional game which opens a pathway for our young Women to make a career out of Rugby League.
“It’s been awesome to see the Women’s competition grow so quickly in Auckland. Big shout out to Mary Passi for growing these Pathways for our girls. The growth the game is having in both the professional and local game is very exciting. The NRLW will have 10 teams next season and will keep growing. It will open up many pathways for our girls back in New Zealand and hopefully provide opportunities for the girls to live out their dreams of being a professional athlete.”
After her breakout season entering the professional refereeing scene, Rochelle has big goals for the 2023 season.
“The goal for next season is to take my refereeing even further. I'd love to start consistently refereeing games for the NRLW and a lot of training so I can continue to develop myself and my role here in Auckland. I’m really excited to get stuck in.”
Here at Auckland Rugby League we have launched a campaign to better the game day experience, “This is Our Whare”. We have rules in our Whare to make it a better place for all to enjoy. No Bullying, no swearing, no abusing the players, no abusing the referees and no abusing the supporters. Respect the code, and make the game a safe and enjoyable place.
“The Our Whare, Our Whānau, Our Way campaign is important for us and everyone to get behind. Players, coaches, referees, supporters. We are all a big community and need to join together to make our game an enjoyable experience for everyone involved.”
Article added: Wednesday 07 December 2022
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