Matthew Hall’s best memory from refereeing only happened last year.
His two younger sons acted as his assistant referees for a match, while his eldest son was refereeing on a field close by.
That saw a beautiful photo taken, one that remains special to the proud father.
Northern NSW Football is celebrating Newcastle Permanent Referee Recognition Week from July 20 to 26, thanking the wonderful match officials who make playing football across northern NSW possible.
Hall has only been a match official for one season, helping officiate Northern Inland Football competitions. But he has already developed a real passion for refereeing.
“My eldest son was a referee. I helped out on a line a few times when there weren’t enough referees,” Hall said.
“I thought that it would be something fun to do with him but thought that if I was going to be a referee I should learn the rules and become properly trained.
“I love that refereeing has encouraged my kids to grow and be more confident. I love that we have an activity that we can do together and there are times when they know more than I do.
“Refereeing puts you on the spot and forces you to make a decision, multiple times per game.”
There have also been difficulties since picking up the whistle, including having decisions challenged. Sometimes, particularly vocally.
But Hall has also enjoyed a number of happy experiences during his short career as a match official so far.
“I refereed a local women’s grand final. It was very difficult. [But] the women played incredible football and pushed me to be better as a referee,” Hall said.
“From the wiser heads to the local young referees, all have been a fantastic influence and support. I was [assistant referee] for a young referee who is very experienced. I thought it was fantastic that he was humble enough to ask me as a novice and the other assistant referee if there was anything he could be doing better.
“[I want to] keep learning.”
At 44-years-old Hall still maintains a deep love for the beautiful game. As well as refereeing, he still plays for Moore Creek FC, a new club Hall says enjoys a “great family atmosphere.”