Husband and wife date as WNBL referees in Canberra

Sport.  Canberra Capitals player Michelle Cosier with 5 month old son Levi at the University of Canberra Sporting Commons. Michelle will be making a comeback with the Capitals after a year off to become a mum and playing netball with the ACT Darters.  14 August 2014. Canberra Times photo by Jeffrey Chan.
Sport. Canberra Capitals player Michelle Cosier with 5 month old son Levi at the University of Canberra Sporting Commons. Michelle will be making a comeback with the Capitals after a year off to become a mum and playing netball with the ACT Darters. 14 August 2014. Canberra Times photo by Jeffrey Chan.

This is a husband-wife date with a twist, but rookie WNBL referee Michelle Cosier isn't expecting flowers from partner Simon when they step on the court together on Sunday.

Michelle will complete her transition from WNBL championship winner to whistle-blower when she joins Simon to officiate the Canberra Capitals' clash against Adelaide on Sunday.

Son Brodie completed a Cosier hat-trick when he played as part of the Capitals' half-time entertainment on Friday night.

But Michelle's refereeing debut looms as a special moment just two years after she retired from playing for the Capitals and with her husband by her side.

Michelle is believed to be just the second WNBL championship-winning player to make the transition to WNBL referee, joining Jenny Froling in an elite group.

"When I get to the game and start getting ready, I'm sure I'm going to be nervous," Michelle said.

"I did an NBL pre-season game I was so nervous my mouth was so dry I couldn't blow my whistle. I'm nervous because it's something different that I haven't done before.

"And then refereeing with my husband, it can be daunting. We're always at basketball so people say, 'they must be on their date tonight - some quality time without the kids'.

"Simon is very professional, he's been doing WNBL for a long time so it's great to have him there. He's very honest with how I'm doing. When we're on the court it's all about the game."

The Cosier family life has centred around basketball for more than a decade. Michelle put her playing career on hold to give birth to sons Brodie and Levi.

Brodie even interrupted a Capitals training session when he took his first steps on the side of the AIS Arena in December 2010.

Simon Cosier will be the senior referee in Michelle's first game and will give his wife the rookie tradition of throwing the ball up to start the game.

Simon has been refereeing in the WNBL for the past nine years after starting as an official as a 10-year-old.

"I realised pretty quickly I wasn't going to be a player, so it was a good way to make some money," Simon said.

"[Michelle] is the Basketball ACT referee manager, so I guess I technically report to her. But I look after finances because she's terrible.

"I'm proud of her as my wife and anyone who gets the chance to referee the WNBL is special, because there are only 30 panel members in the league.

"I've got no doubt she'll be successful. She'll have butterflies in the stomach, but as the rooke it's my job to make sure she tosses the ball up to start the game. I just hope it goes up straight."

The Capitals won their season-opener when they beat the Bendigo Spirit 93-80 at the National Convention Centre.

Michelle Cosier played 243 WNBL games - seven short of life membership - and helped Canberra win its last championship in the 2009-10 season before retiring at the end of the 2014-15 season.

She will be blowing the whistle on two of her former Canberra teammates, Capitals skipper Nat Hurst and Adelaide captain Abby Bishop, on Sunday.

"I feel I'm a lot better now at it and I love being in front of the Caps' crowd. Most of the supporters will know me, but I'm on the other side of the fence now. there might be a few boos," Michelle laughed.

"It has come pretty quickly for me and I found it tough at the start because people only knew me as a player."

WNBL ROUND ONE

Sunday: Canberra Capitals v Adelaide Lightning at National Convention Centre, 3pm. Tickets available at the door.

This story Husband and wife date as WNBL referees in Canberra first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.