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Tyler Miller was recently selected to head across the ditch to referee at the NZ National 7’s. Her appointment was off the back of solid performances in 2016, refereeing both the Women’s final at the Senior and Youth National Championships.
For a number of years, the ARU and NZRU have worked together to provide exchange opportunities to up and coming referees to test themselves in a different environment. Last year the ARU sent Rachel Horton and Amber Hibbard to referee in the Farah Palmer Cup, while the NZRU sent Chelsea to referee at the ARU Women’s National 15’s Championships.
Below is Tyler’s account of the experience.
"This appointment was given to me as part of a proposed exchange to our respective National 7’s championships between Australia and New Zealand. This was the first time I have travelled outside of Australia to referee, and it provided me a huge opportunity to be able to meet and work with some amazing referees and referee coaches and to also challenge myself to learn and develop as a referee. As I am originally from New Zealand, and most of my family still resides there, I was lucky enough to have family travel from far and wide to be in Rotorua to support me over the weekend.
I went in to the tournament hoping to take every opportunity that I could and make the most of the weekend. I had little expectation in regards to which appointments to expect, as I was aware of the high caliber of referees that were present at the tournament. In the referee team, there were 5 female referees and 6 male referees. These included multiple New Zealand National Panel members, as well as a number of World Rugby 7’s referees. I was privileged to be a part of this team, and my main goal over the weekend was to contribute as much as I could and be a good team player.
I was fortunate enough to be coming off several 7’s tournaments in the back end of 2016, including the Central Coast 7’s, our own Senior National Championships, and our Youth National Championships. These tournaments, as well as support in the form of messages, phone calls and having my family there had given me a lot of confidence and support in being able to referee to a high standard over the weekend.
I refereed 4 games on day 1 of the tournament. I was very surprised to hear that all of the New Zealand 7’s national teams had been released to play for their respective regional teams over the weekend, and to see some of them in action was amazing. I was lucky enough to be coached over the weekend by Paul Honiss and Trevor Howard, who provided invaluable insight and feedback that allowed me to referee consistently and improve on my performance with each fixture. On day 2, I refereed 3 games, including a quarter final to start the day off, followed by a semi final, and topped off with the women’s 3rd vs. 4th playoff.
Overall, I was happy with the outcome of the tournament and my performance over the weekend. I am extremely grateful to both the ARU and the NZRU for providing me with the opportunity to be able to referee at the tournament, and to have been given the chance to work along side some of the people that I met over the weekend was invaluable. I can confidently say that this tournament, to date, has been my biggest learning experience and the lessons that I learnt over the weekend will help me in the future to be able to continually grow and develop as a referee.