BEING a referee can sometimes be a thankless job, but not for Tamworth’s Tony Mumford.
The push to be fair and to earn the respect of all of the players who answer to his whistle helps keep him going.
It’s these same desires that recently saw Mumford claim the mantle of the world’s best Oztag referee and will be on display again as he adjudicates this weekend’s Australian Senior Oztag Championships in Coffs Harbour.
“I was quite proud to come back from the world cup with the number one ranking,” Mumford said.
“Given we are from a regional area and have a smaller pool of referees it was quite the achievement, and certainly one I’m proud of.
“Over the past two years I have worked hard to be the best I can be and while it took about three years to get there, I have been in charge of the number one game at every tournament since.
I will certainly looking to keep that going and hang onto to that ranking at the Australian championships.”
Mumford is set to be run off his feet with more than 100 teams competing across 14 sections across the tournament.
“Generally you can expect to run anywhere between 35 and 40km over a three day tournament,” he said.
“People are usually surprised when you tell them how much running is involved, but it’s nothing to run 1.5km per 20 minute half.
“As well as that, we don’t usually have as big of a break between games as all of the players do.
“We could be looking at 40 minutes straight sometimes and it can take a bit of a toll, you’re usually pretty sore when you get home.”
Having been a referee for the past seven years, Mumford said it is his relationship with his fellow referees that make “every tournament memorable”.
“The guys that make up the top five or six referees are pretty tight and keep you working hard to hang onto that top spot,” he said.
“In saying that, there is always a great atmosphere between all of the guys and girls who referee.
“Everyone always puts in a top effort and makes it really enjoyable, while it’s not a holiday it is certainly always a lot of fun.”
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.