RYAN Schmiedel became the the youngest person since NRL referee Chris Sutton to officiate a senior Group 4 game when he made his first grade debut at Kitchener Park on Sunday.
The Bulldogs scored two tries in the final seven minutes for a 36-32 win over Dungowan and for Schmiedel it was an enjoyable day, free of controversy.
“It was pretty good,” Schmiedel said when he lined up for work at Dean Finlay’s Shoppingworld Newsagency on Monday.
“Real serious and no problems, surprisingly. A good game, interesting and nothing from the crowd.”
The last comment was something the teenage whistleblower was a little concerned with, being the son of a former footballer who played and won a grand final for Tamworth City against Gunnedah at Kitchener Park back in the day.
“Mum was a bit worried (about the crowd),” he smiled.
Ryan was always confident, though.
He’s been refereeing for five years but started as an Oztag referee.
“Then dad said do you want to give it (rugby league) a go. I jumped at it. Love it,” Schmiedel said.
Schmiedel served his apprenticeship doing local minor league before stepping up to Group 4.
“I did the 18s major semi last year, too,” he said. “Done a few more this year, too.”
Group 4 president Ray McCoy was at Kitchener Park and was delighted with Schmiedel’s performance.
“He blew the whistle a lot but the game flowed,” McCoy said.
“It was a great game, 36-32 to Gunnedah. He did a good job.”
Ryan was happy enough with his performance and hopes to take it a lot further.
“The NRL for sure,” he said in answer to a question on where he is aiming.
You only have to look at the Sutton brothers from Coonabarabran, who all started their careers in Group 4, Schmiedel said.
“They were saying I am the youngest player to referee a Group 4 first grade game since Chris Sutton,” he said.
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