Irish ref enjoying his Australian experience

first_imgOn the field at NTL it may sound a bit strange to hear an Irish accent controlling the game.But that voice would be Derek Fisher, a referee who has moved to Australia for 12 months. After 4 years of refereeing in Europe, he is now part of the premier competition in Australia, the X-Blades National Touch League.Derek took up refereeing because of the shortage of referees where he was playing in Germany, and it went from there.“I got into back in Germany because somebody had to do it,” Derek said.And four years on he is still doing it, and most importantly, enjoying it.“One of the things I enjoy about refereeing is that you’ve got a chance to shine as an individual and still have the team element there. But certainly with the accreditation system you (Australia) have, you can individual goals as well, that’s one of the things that is really good, and one of the most satisfying things.”Derek arrived in Australia in late November, and was refereeing at his first tournament, the NSW State Cup, within weeks. And he has been busy ever since, refereeing in several tournaments in his short amount of time in Australia. During his time as a referee, he has had the chance to travel around Europe. Even though the competition is small, it is widespread across the continent, resulting in him travelling a lot, especially in the past year.“Last year in April the comp was in Vienna, May was Berlin, in June we had a national training camp in Cologne, then July was Paris for the Euros, September was Cologne again and October was Frankfurt.” He is making the most of his time in Australia, trying to progress through the ranks. “The badging systems are different. You guys [in Australia] have six badges, where in Europe you have only got five…So at the moment I am a European three, which I got at last Euros. I am going for my red badge while I am here.”Derek says that the quality of touch is much higher in Australia, which is understandable due to the fact that touch in Europe is still progressing.   “To give you a feel for it, most of the sides that are here today, the Open’s sides, would knock over the [international] teams back home… The gap can only get closer.”And touch players will hear this accent around for the next eight months, as he is staying in Australia until November, before heading back to Europe in time for the 2010 Euro’s.last_img