Monday, October 11, 2010

Patrick Galloway wins national refereeing award

Photos (Top to Bottom): Patrick Galloway (second from left) prior to him refereeing the North versus South game this year at Aurora Stadium in Launceston; Patrick Galloway (second from left) as the fourth official at a women's final in Hobart [PlessPix]

Tasmania’s Patrick Galloway won Football Federation Australia’s Referee-of-the-Year Award at an FFA awards night in Sydney last Thursday.

Below is the interview I conducted with Patrick upon his return to Hobart.

Walter Pless: How old are you, Patrick?

Patrick Galloway: Nineteen years old. I’ll be twenty in April next year.

WP: How long have you been a referee?

PG: I’ve been a referee since 2005 – so 6 years now. It’s been great fun.

WP: What made you become a referee?

PG: Originally, I became a referee to earn some money, and so that I had something to do on weekends apart from playing football!

I originally started refereeing my brother’s small-sided games a few years before I started and I enjoyed it, so I thought, ‘why not give it a go?’ Dad did the course with me and he’s supported me the whole way through. He and mum have been great.

WP: Have you played the game?

PG: I have. I played from under-6s with Howrah until under-16s with Clarence – so, 11 years of playing. I was never much of a player. I kept for a while, and that was fun at times, but I enjoyed playing on the field more, by far.

WP: What is your aim in refereeing?

PG: My aim in refereeing is to go as far as possible – as general as that sounds! I’d love to do a National Youth League game one day soon, especially if they come back down here again. It was fantastic being involved in the 2008 games down here [as a fourth official and an assistant referee].

I guess I’d love to referee in the A-League one day – but that’s a long way off, and at the moment is impossible to achieve without going to the mainland, which won’t happen for at least another 4 or 5 years while I finish my medical degree.

I’d love to see a pathway for the younger referees to move on up to higher levels, too. The referees between 17 and 23 or so are the future for us here, so they need to be promoted and nurtured, as well as exposed to the senior levels of the game down here. An NYL team, with a view to an A-League team one day in Tasmania, would be an amazing start.

WP: Which is the most important game you've refereed?

PG: I guess there’s a couple. The Summer Cup game between Clarence United and Knights this year was a big one and good fun. It decided which team made the final. I really enjoyed refereeing at Aurora this year in the U-20 statewide game and working with some boys from the north as my assistants.

Bringing it back a while, my first ever senior game [between South and Kingborough in 2008] as a just-turned-seventeen-year-old was important to me. I reckon I must have been close to the youngest senior referee. I proved to myself I could referee the big boys.

WP: How do you feel about winning this FFA referee-of-the-year award? What will it lead to?

PG: It was incredibly flattering. To even be nominated as a contestant for the national award was a massive shock, considering that there are referees who are definitely more worthy of a nomination in Tasmania. As you know, Kim went last year, and he’s the benchmark for referees in Tasmania. He’s been the best for a long time, and he deserves to be recognised as such. But, aside from him, we have younger referees like Ivan, who’s well entrenched at Premier level, and then Brenton, who’s got a couple of years of experience on me, so it was a shock and extremely flattering to get nominated in front of these guys who deserved it just as much, if not more.

There are also a lot of people who make big contributions to the game by their refereeing each week. One person that stands out for me is Sean Collins. Sean has copped so much crap this year, and yet he still goes out and referees each week! I don’t think many people realise that people like Sean really only have the best interests of our game at heart. So, I was very flattered to receive the Tasmanian award in front of people like these.

Anyway, I digress. To win the award nationally was amazing and an even bigger surprise. It was a great feeling to be presented with this award in front of a room full of footballers, volunteers, coaches, you name it – the ‘football family’, as it was called. There was a great sense of camaraderie on Thursday night.

The award itself was more of a motivational award to say: ‘We acknowledge that you’ve been working hard as a referee. Keep it up!’ By no means was it about me being the best referee in Australia. I’m a very long way off. It considered all-around factors such as participation in refereeing outside of game day, working with younger referees, and things like that. It was very flattering as there are a great number of more deserving winners around the country.

The award was also very positive for me, too. It was great to have people recognise me as making a contribution, and it makes me feel that what I do as a referee is worth it. It’ll make the rubbish that referees cop just that much sweeter!

But, it was just very pleasing to be recognised for the work I do, I suppose. The award will be a great motivation for me to work hard at my refereeing and fitness for next year and beyond, hopefully moving on to a higher level.

WP: What are the downsides to refereeing?

PG: The coaches. The players are mostly great to referee. As I get older, I find it a lot easier to communicate with the guys out there. There are some genuinely nice people on the football field who I enjoy refereeing, and there is nothing better than walking off at the end of the game knowing that you’ve had a good game and the players feel you haven’t had a negative impact on the game – ‘seen and not heard’, as the saying goes.

I guess what I’d say is that coaches need to consider the human element – referees are only human. I can confidently say that there is not a referee in Tasmania that I’ve worked with that would be anything other than fair, and no matter what has gone on in the past, every referee is fair, every week. No referees go out there to ‘gain revenge’ or ‘win’.

So to cop abuse from these coaches, blaming you for their failures, is always really disappointing, especially when they don’t consider what we as referees are trying to do, be fair and objective. I know these guys are mostly volunteers, and I have a lot of respect for that.

But, it’s the younger referees, younger than me, that have potential to go on and achieve in their refereeing career, who are most at risk here – and a lot of coaches [parents too] don’t understand the damage they can do to a referee’s confidence by having a go at them.

That said, I have had the pleasure of dealing with some lovely coaches. Some of them might not agree with every decision I make, but the coaches that have the guts to say ‘thanks, ref’, shake your hand, and appreciate what you’re doing at the end of a game make the job worth doing – coaches like Jed and Ken at South, Browny at Clarence, George at Eagles, the Taroona guys. They are all great to deal with. There are also a lot of junior level coaches out there who are a pleasure to deal with.

WP: What are the best points about refereeing?

PG: The best parts, without a doubt, are my fellow referees. I enjoy working with every one of them. Blokes like Alastair Cooke, Ivan, Brenton, Adrian Lockley, Craig Phillips, Jason Priest, Kim and everyone else who I haven’t mentioned, they all make the job fun. It’s great having people you can chat to and enjoy your time refereeing with.

The way that people look out for you in refereeing has improved out of sight, too, over my time as a referee. There have been times when I just needed to chat and talk about a game, and I can think of plenty of times where people like Rick McAllister were there to offer some friendly advice when it was needed. I really appreciated Rick’s kind words, and all of the people who have assisted me.

Having Robert Freke at FFT is also fantastic. Robert is a true gentleman and works so hard for the referees in Tasmania. He’s got an 8-day-a-week job in winter. He’s always there to lend an ear for a chat, as well as to provide advice and further our development as referees. Having him as our Referee Development Officer has been a huge step for refereeing in the state. It means FFT is taking steps to ensure referees are protected.

Receiving recognition and encouragement from players, coaches and peers is another bonus. It’s a great boost to your confidence when a senior coach or player tells a referee that he’s improving and had a good game today.

But, back when I started, too, the smallest praise made the biggest difference. I once received a trophy from the Div 2 Clarence Spirit team, in my first year of refereeing. As a low-on-confidence, fourteen-year-old boy, refereeing men in Division 2, this was a great encouragement and it was an extremely nice gesture from a great bunch of people. I really appreciated their thoughts.

WP: Do you have any advice to players?

PG: Get involved! Go and do a course – believe me, even if you don’t go on to referee you gain a lot of knowledge on the game that helps your playing brain.

Players and coaches that stand there and criticise you often have no idea what it’s like making split-second decisions for 90 minutes – so do give it a go. It’d be great to see some more players taking it up. The playing experience is a great help when you’re learning to be a referee.


Anonymous said...

A very mature and well-considered response from the state's best young referee. Well done Patrick, you should be very proud of your achievements to date.

Anonymous said...

whilst our bright young referee is providing advice on how coaches should be more understanding he might want to reflect on his own capacity to throw some inflammatory comments into the mix.

Anonymous said...


When you look at the bench and say to them being coach players manager etc
" enjoy div 1 next year " just what reaction/response would you expect after your words have been said? Also a word of advice I wouldn't publicly single out current clubs players or coaches to praise.... it could and I mean this sincerely inadvertently and most likely unjustifiably come back to haunt you. Good luck for season 2011.

Anonymous said...

Dear anonymous, 8:20pm:

I don't wish to comment on what happened in the game you are referring to - but suffice it to say that is not how the incident happened. As far as I am concerned the matter is dead and buried.

As for the coaches, I appreciate where you are coming from.

I am simply stating that some coaches are a pleasure to deal with. I don't see that as being different from a coach or player singling out a referee for praise. As I said in the interview it has nothing to do with how I or other referees referee the game!

With thanks


Anonymous said...

enjoy div1 in 2012

Anonymous said...

Does this mean Patrick wont be harsh on particular players now and he will keep his unnecessary comments to himself?

Anonymous said...

Patrick, your responses to Walter show a maturity way ahead of your years.

It is disappointing to hear some 100% tossers on this site wanting to throw crap at you. After all you didn't nominate yourself and secondly you didn't have anything to do with the final award decision. As you rightly point out there a many referees around the country that are better referees at the moment, but this award will encourage you to improve etc.

If the tossers on this site were to step back and wonder what would happen if the refs decided to boycott several rounds - how would that be for the games? Maybe they already know, by playing Div 4!

Anonymous said...

Stop posting to yourself Patrick!

Anonymous said...


Well done on your award. As far as i read it is more to do with your dedication to the game rather than any performance based award so the incident people are referring to is irrelevant.

That said, some of the comments made by others have some very valid points.

In my opinion, as a ref, one of your main objectives is to remain impartial. By singaling out specific people/coaches, this, like it or not, shows a degree of personal bias.

Even though the incident earlier in the year is dead and buried in your mind, it is worth reminding you that letting your personal feelings overcome your objective of remaining impartial is not desirable as a referee and perhaps the biggest improvement that can be made in your refereeing is impartiality.

Just remember, players, coaches and spectators can all be very passionate people and sometimes this passion comes out in negative ways. Yes, sometimes you do get abuse from players and coaches, but this is generally because they are passionate about the game, not because they are not as nice as someone else. If you do cop abuse in the future, try not to inflame the situation by making comments back, try to realise that sometimes things are said in the heat of the moment and a bit of leeway is sometimes the best course of action.

Anonymous said...

Wow - an intelligent comment. I hope people are taking this on board ...

Anonymous said...

Anon 4.34pm -

"In my opinion, as a ref, one of your main objectives is to remain impartial. By singaling out specific people/coaches, this, like it or not, shows a degree of personal bias."

The first half of that is quite true. The second however, is ludicrous. I very much doubt Patrick went into this interview with a determination to "single out" people for praise. I'm really not sure how it is biased on his part to mention some of the people who are no doubt more respectful to the game and the referees. What is wrong with that? If you think that this means they are the ONLY people that are good, then you, and any others who think like you, are idiots. To me, it sounded like some off-hand examples of good coaches to deal with. If you interpret that negatively....well it sort of speaks about your own character...bit of a negative person are you?

"Just remember, players, coaches and spectators can all be very passionate people and sometimes this passion comes out in negative ways. Yes, sometimes you do get abuse from players and coaches, but this is generally because they are passionate about the game, not because they are not as nice as someone else."

SO? I'm sorry but being passionate is NEVER an acceptable reason to abuse someone. It's not acceptable to abuse someone for 90 minutes, and then afterwards just brush it away as being 'passionate about the game'. No, sorry, not good enough. This is an attitude that the dregs of society may hold, not civilised people. Have a go at your own players, or the weather, not the men in black. My biggest regret from my own playing days was how much i used to mouth off to the refs and blame them for what ultimately, was my own bad play.

Sometimes I consider taking up the whistle, but I don't have the time, but what I make damn sure of, is that when I go along to watch a match, I don't blame everything on the refs.

Now this is what really gets me - a young NINETEEN year old, already experienced at PL level, having just won a national award, is being crapped on. A young ref with huge potential, and you are all talking like this about him. Go take a good, hard look at yourselves. He's going to make mistakes, but we have already seen he is a lot smarter than most of you, so he will most definitely learn from them! There are people employed to assess Patrick's performances and if needed, discipline him. We don't need all of you getting on with your ill-informed 2 cents. It's disgraceful.

Anonymous said...

lots of patricks in this thread!

Anonymous said...

" I'm really not sure how it is biased on his part to mention some of the people who are no doubt more respectful to the game and the referees. What is wrong with that?" Anon 6.03PM

There are only 4 SPL coaches not mentioned, so by implication they are the Coaches he is talking about when he says,

"So to cop abuse from these coaches, blaming you for their failures, is always really disappointing"

I'd suggerst that Patrick listen to earlier advice. His comments during games this year and now in writing on this blog are not nice. I suggest there IS something wrong with that.

Pastrick not only needs to be fair he needs to be seen to be fair and he's not doing a very good job at it and he has been told and he doesn't appear to be learning.

Anonymous said...

Referees are human beings,believe it or not.They all make mistakes.Because of this some also can be biased.
Some ,as they have done in the past, can go out there to intentionally antagonise certain players ,in order to upset them, so that the players react and can consequently be penalised by the referee.(booked or sent off).This did happen in the past ( a referee actually admitted doing so to another referee ). I have no doubt that it does still happen today, but possibly not as obvious.I still believe though that some referees refereeing today, are not capable of handling pressure, or certain situations , that they react in a way that it appears that they are being unfair to a particular club.These are senior referees that in my opinion should no longer be doing so, because they lose control of matches and the whole game ends up being a farce.One particular referee is guilty of this occurring on more than one occasion this year.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 6:03

If you read my comments properly you will see it is intended to be words of wisdom rather than negative criticism.

In my opinion, by naming players/coaches, it can lead to an impression that he is favouring these people during games when there are 50/50 decisions given their way.

This is my opinion, not a criticism.

Anonymous said...

Dear anonymous, 6.45pm, who said:

"There are only 4 SPL coaches not mentioned, so by implication they are the Coaches he is talking about when he says..."

I'm simply saying that there are some coaches that are a pleasure to deal with. I don't have any problems with the other coaches. I was referring to amy experience in Tasmanian football in general - not referring to myself, and not even the premier league in particular!

Can I say thank you very much to those who have offered words of support, both here and elsewhere. I really appreciate all your thoughts and I certainly will be continuing with refereeing in spite of the knockers.

And - Anonymous, 8.28pm, I'll see you at the next referee entrance course, then! FFT are always looking for more referees - so get proactive and help us all make a positive contribution to refereeing.

Best wishes,

Patrick G

Anonymous said...

Patrick said:

"I really appreciate all your thoughts and I certainly will be continuing with refereeing in spite of the knockers"

Very good but keep your inflammatory comments to yourself. Try not to favour the teams and coaches you mentioned and above all learn to ignore shut up and ref the game without bias. Goodluck.

Anonymous said...

give him a break guys he's a tasmanian who's just won a national award..stick with it Patrick

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Anonymous said...

there's a fine line between passion and ignorance, and as a player or ref of any sport i'm sure you've all experienced this. in the end everyone knows who the bad people are as they bring the game down, it's just up to the ref to be assertive in their decisions and make any disciplinary action appropriate and impartial of the "wankerism" (let's pretend that's a word) that is constantly delivered by some.

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Patrick has been a very awesome referee so he really deserves it.