Picture: Kim Skelly, Amanda Draper, David Baggio.
Being a referee of touch football has never had the career progression and opportunities that it does right now, and the NRL Touch Premiership has helped provide another level of elite touch footy that allows whistle blowers to shine.
Our very own Hornets referee, Kim Skelly, has been among those in the centre of the field making the tough decisions this season, and we are thrilled to announce that Kim has been rewarded for his efforts and titled Leading Referee of this year’s NRL Touch Premiership.
Skelly, who was also ranked number three in the world at the 2019 Touch World Cup in Malaysia, was thrilled with this new achievement.
“To be fair, it’s a bit surreal!”, said Skelly.
“[David] Baggio has been number one for so long, and deservedly so. Not too many people have beaten him. He is an outstanding referee. One of the best, if not the best referee our game has ever seen. I could not have achieved this without his help.”
The NRL Touch Premiership is like no other sporting code. The speed of the game is intense, the fight for a win is unparalleled, and skill, agility and technique of touch footballers is unseen in any other sport.
Touch Football’s top referees have stepped up to the expectations of players and spectators alike, this season, and are prepared to take that experience into their local, regional and state competitions.
“It has been a challenging year, because of World Cup”, Skelly said.
“I would say the hardest thing is not running week-in-week-out, so you can’t get the momentum that you do at a tournament.”
Although there is no doubt in his mind that next year’s NRL Touch Premiership will be another challenge, and he will want to continue this positive performance leading into upcoming tournaments, Skelly is keen to keep his focus on the task at hand.
“It’s going to be a cracker game, this Sunday”.
“These two teams [Knights & Cowboys] have had a rivalry for a few years now. These games always go down to the wire, and I don’t think one will be any different. It will be a cracker!”
Humbly accepting this reward, Skelly says “I need to thank everyone that I have run with over the years, and those who run my water. I definitely could not have done it without you all.”
“I also need to say thanks to the entire Hornets community. Our region is like no other. The referees, the committee, the teams… [Hornets] have had such a positive impact on my refereeing career. Thank you!”
Skelly will join fellow referees David Baggio and Brett Freshwater in officiating the Mens NRL Touch Premiership Grand Final between the Newcastle Knights and North Queensland Cowboys this Sunday 18 August, at the SCG.
In the women’s Grand Final, the Parramatta Eels will take on the Brisbane Broncos.
The 2019 NRL Touch Premiership Grand Finals will tap off at 12pm ahead of the 2pm Roosters vs Warriors NRL fixture.
12pm, Sunday 18th August, SCG
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