A referee we can all be proud of
Referees are a critical part of football and, as an administrator, I am a very strong supporter of the men and women, who contribute to the game through this essential role. As a very proud father of one of the most competent young referees that this region has produced, I have been fortunate to see the development of a young whistle blower into the region’s most respected referee.
Progressing through the ranks, Luke now boasts a CV that includes the National Youth League, Queensland State League and multiple National Championships. Luke was honoured in June 2009 with the inaugural Football Federation Australia “Referee of the Year” and at the age of just 25 years, was bestowed Life Membership of the Far North Coast Referees Association. Pretty outstanding list of achievements for anyone and my unashamed pride is matched only by deep admiration of the professional dedication and selfless contribution that Luke has made to the game through his role as a referee and seven consecutive years as secretary of the Referee’s Association.
As an individual, Luke is a role model for young referees and despite being quiet, unassuming and having copped more than his share of abuse and criticism from players and spectators, he has stayed committed, focused and quickly building a reputation of one of the most respected match officials in the country. Recently appointed to the Gold Coast Premier League, Luke arrived home last week and in his typical unassuming, laconic style, said, “Did I tell you I had a send off the other day? The player made a reckless studs up tackle... straight red. As he was leaving the field, he turned and yelled ‘Hey Ref –.I’m gunna %*#@ kill you after the game!’” Luke told me casually.
It seems that this player already had a significant suspension reduced to a suspended sentence for making a similar threat last season, supported by his club, who made all sorts of excuses for his behaviour. Fortunately, the sound character and professional disposition of people like Luke Mackney will always be more dismissive of such primitive behaviour than most would tolerate. Without match officials, there is no game, but without the few players who bring the game into disrepute through reckless actions and orchestrated intimidation, the game would be so much better.