Wednesday, February 17, 2021

I once read an inspirational story about refereeing called "I Whistle While They Play".

Photo:  Referee Tony Peart speaks to Beachside's Dylan Maxwell in Saturday's Summer Cup game.  The game saw five yellow cards but no reds. [PlessPix]

When I was a young kid I used to read those Boys’ Annuals that were popular Christmas presents for boys.

They were thick volumes and provided loads of stories for young readers, including stories on football themes [the annuals were, after all, published in Britain].

I remember one story was about the shipwrecked crew of an English freighter somewhere in one of the vast oceans of the world.

They had managed to get ashore on a small island, but to their horror, the only inhabitants were cannibals.

There must have been shipwrecked crews on the island before because the inhabitants had some thing the English crew [remember, this was before the days of ‘flags of convenience’] were familiar with:  an old, brown, leather football.

The ball was pretty motheaten by then, but the cannibals offered the stranded crew a lifeline.  They would not be eaten if they won a football match between the island’s inhabitants and the crew.

I can’t remember how the story ended, but I suspect the crew won the game and earned their freedom.

Photo:  Tony Peart's first booking of the game was a yellow card to Eagles' Sam Leszczynski for a foul on Beachside skipper Ash Fisher (right). [PlessPix]

Which leads me to another story I read in one of those annuals.  It was called “I Whistle While They Play”.

This story was about refereeing.  It analysed the role of the referee very well and I am sure it would have inspired many a youngster to become a referee.

I wish I could read that story again now as I am sure that, as an adult, I could judge it more discerningly.

This introduction leads me in a very roundabout way to last Saturday’s Championship Summer Cup game between New Town White Eagles and Beachside.

Beachside and Eagles drew 1-1 and Beachside won the penalty shoot-out 4-3.

The game had plenty of physical action and individual confrontations which might have got out of hand but for the excellent refereeing by Tony Peart.

Photo:  Eagles' Ben Whitehall protests a free-kick but referee Tony Peart ignores him and indicates a free-kick to Beachside anyway. [PlessPix]

Peart is the Referee Manager of Football Tasmania and has vast experience.

He was an assistant referee in The Championship, the second tier of English football, before coming to Australia, where he has been an assistant referee in the A-League for the past couple of seasons.

The COVID-19 pandemic put a stop to him officiating in the A-League, but let’s hope he can resume at some time in the future.

Photo:  Whitehall was eventually shown a yellow card by referee Peart.  The look of incredulity on Whitehall's face is priceless.  [PlessPix]

All aspiring referees would do well to watch Peart in action and see his man management skills, which is an integral part of refereeing and just as important as knowledge of the laws of the game.

The players respect Peart and he was able to defuse tensions on Saturday before they became an issue.

Well done, Tony, and I hope you keep mentoring our local referees and provide them with a role model.

Photo:  Beachside's Dylan Maxwell may have got away with a talking to earlier in the game, but Mr Peart eventually had to caution him. [PlessPix]

We have some other excellent referees in the NPL, of course, and this augurs well for the future of the game here.

One could argue that Peart has contributed tremendously to the development of Tasmania’s referees.  He has increased the number and quality of referees and long may this go on.

Photo:  There may have been five yellow cards in the game, but there was also sporting behaviour between rivals.  Here, Ben Whitehall helps his marker, Dylan Maxwell, to his feet. [PlessPix]


Photo:  Eagles' Rowan Heggie is shown a yellow card by referee Peart for an overly robust challenge on Beachside keeper, Thomas Fewkes, who was shaken up and lucky not to be injured.  Some observers would argue that Heggie's challenge warranted a red card.  Eagles' Ben Whitehall is shown in the background obviously checking on Fewkes's well-being. [PlessPix]

Photo:  Referee Tony Peart has the pleasant task of recording Ben Whitehall's opening goal for Eagles. [PlessPix]
Photo:  Assistant referee James Hamilton was kept busy keeping an eye on the individual duels between Eagles' Ben Whitehall (right) and Beachside opponents. [PlessPix]
Photo:  Referee Tony Peart watches the action [PlessPix]


Anonymous said...

Great reading.

Anonymous said...

Credit is deserved. Refereeing is getting stronger which can only be a good thing. Now for admin...