History of Canterbury-Bankstown District Rugby League Referees Association



The Canterbury-Bankstown District Rugby League Referees’ Association was established on the 6th June, 1922 at a meeting held at Lahood’s Hall, Campsie. The original membership consisted of eight foundation members.

In our 100 seasons, our Association has surpassed 850 members. As of February 2022, the membership stands at approximately 131.

The first President was Mr. W.N. Todd. Between 1922 and 2010 the association has had seventeen Presidents. The longest serving President to date is Mr Paul Archer, having served in the role from 1997 to 2009. Paul has sinced returned to the role of President since season 2016 (a total of 19 seasons as President).

In 1933, Messes George Russell and Vic Meinrath became the association’s first Life Members. From 1933 to the present another eighty-seven members have received this prestigious honour, including Sydney’s first female Life Member Mrs. Kim Archer. Life Membership is presented to a member who has a minimum of ten years continuous membership and has made outstanding contributions to the association. The Association’s most recent Life Member is Nathan Loveday, who became the 89th Life Member in 2021.

The association recognizes the achievements of its members, both on and off the field, with various awards.

  • The Leo Randle Award is named after one of the association’s former Presidents and, arguably, one of it’s finest members. It is presented annually to the member judged by the committee as having a lengthy and dedicated service, with a minimum of twenty-five years continuous membership. The award was introduced in 1998 and the inaugural recipient was Mr. Les Matthews.
  • The Clubb-Johnson Trophy is awarded annually to the district’s number one referee. That referee is appointed to control the highest grade Grand Final, usually A grade. The trophy was introduced in 1978 and was named after two esteemed and much loved members of the association, both of whom passed away in 1977. Michael Thompson was the first member to receive the trophy after controlling the 1978 A Grade Grand Final.
  • In 1992 the John Farrelly – Reg Dick Trophy was introduced. It is awarded annually to the member judged to be the most improved referee in the district for that season. The winner is determined, by secret ballot, by members of the advisory board. The first winner was John Maarbani. The two gentlemen whose names adorn the trophy were both tireless workers for the association. Reg Dick was secretary for a record breaking 23 years and John Farrelly had a lengthy stint as Social Secretary as well as being the association’s President from 1974 to 1979. In addition, the contribution of both men towards the development of new referees is so vast it can never be measured in time alone.
  • The Matthews-Styles Award was introduced in 2012. This award is named after 2 former Presidents and Life Members,Les Matthews and Bob Styles. This award is presented to a new member(having not refereed before) who is in their first full season. It is measured on training and meeting attendance, on field performance and social functions attendance. The inaugural winner of this award was Peter Chayna
  • The Archer-Garwood Award was introduced in 2016. This award is named after Life Members Paul Archer and Bob Garwood, and is a ‘Members’ Member Award’, presented to any member who has given outstanding contribution to the Association within that Calendar year. All members are eligible to vote, and any member is able to win this award. The inagural winner of this award was Nathan Loveday
  • In 2019, the Committee introduced the Touch Judge of the Year, proudly sponsored by BANKSTOWN RSL. This award is voted on performances of touch judges throughout the season, as well as training attendance and commitment. The Director of Referees, Assistants and Advisory Board vote annually on this award. The inaugural winner of this award was Kane Thorburn
  • In 2021, the Committee introduced a new award – the Trainer of the Year Award, sponsored by First National Daystar Real Estate. This award is voted on by the Training Coordinator and Executive, and is judged on commitment and effort to association training each season. The inaugural winner of this award was Jack McIlvenny

The association has provided many referees to the graded ranks of the NSWRL Referees’ Association and the National Rugby League. Six members of the association, Jack Bradley, Keith Holman, Jack O’Brien, Aub Oxford, Russell Smith and Adam Gee have controlled international fixtures as central referees and many others have also officiated as touch judges at that level. In addition, two members, Jack O’Brien and Jack Bradley achieved the monumental feat of controlling the NSWRL First Grade Grand Final in their first year as graded referees. Another notable achievement was that of John Martin, who was appointed touch judge for the First Grade Grand Final for nine consecutive years. The Association currently has an NRL Official in Adam Gee, who, since debuting in 2010, has officiated in 228 games combined (186 as Referee and 42 as Touch Judge)

The association continues to grow and produce new referees. Today, a dedicated coaching staff and training/development committee oversee the progress and development of the active members. This ensures that the association’s future will be sound and its members can look forward to a satisfying and rewarding career in rugby league.

In exciting news as we embark on our 101st season, 14 new referees have completed their Foundation 1 Course in February 2022 and will begin their journey with Canterbury Referees throughout the 2022 trials