Name: Murray Ross
Zone: Represents NNSWF Referees and FFA Referees
Years Officiating: 5
Murray Ross has always been a lover of football having played the game since he was seven, playing for Nelson Bay FC for 11 years, but in the past five years he’s taken up the challenge of being a match official, a role in which he has impressed and excelled in.
Since taking up the whistle when he was 16 years old, Murray has worked his way through the ranks, starting in community football all the way to the Foxtel Y-League and NPL First Grade and Grand Finals.
It’s been a rapid protectory for him, but Murray confessed refereeing was something he knew he always wanted to do.
“As a kid I had a fascination with running around the backyard and blowing a whistle, I don’t know why,” Murray said.
“Having played football from a young age, I was always going to referee football one day and when I got my P-plates and was able to start driving myself into Newcastle, I decided to start refereeing and it flowed on from there.
“My career highlights so far would have to be being selected by the FFA onto the Foxtel Y-League match officials panel and making my NPL 1st Grade debut this season. I can’t split them. They both symbolise years of hard work, determination, hours of training on and off the field and patience.
“My ultimate goal as a referee would be to one day referee in the English Premier League… to officiate in it would be an absolute dream.”
As many involved in football would agree, the sense of community and belonging that the sport brings is special and Murray affirms it’s the same for he and his fellow referees too and admits it’s a big reason why he loves what he does.
“The most enjoyable part of refereeing is the camaraderie amongst all the referees,” he said.
“From new referees in their first season, right up to referees who have been officiating for decades, we are all able to have a joke with each other at our group training sessions and social events,
“When it comes to needing advice on any incidents that have happened in our games over the weekend, we are able to discuss them openly and give each other feedback on how to possibly approach the situation next time, which is extremely helpful,” said Murray.
While he admits there are many challenges he often faces when out in the middle, and also away from the field, Murray believes there is a far greater list of benefits that come with being a match official.
“There are challenges to being a match official. From staying fit to managing players effectively, but the biggest challenge would have to be mental toughness.
“Match official abuse not only forces match officials away from the game, but it drives players, team officials and club volunteers away too… people see us as robots and should operate at 100% all the time, but it’s just not possible.
“The biggest benefit for me is being able to go to work in the outdoors. Getting outside and running around all whilst staying fit and healthy and hopefully making a positive impact on the game that I love.
“My advice to other referees would be no matter what level of football you officiate, enjoy getting out on the park and refereeing.
“Turn up to training and social events and enjoy your colleagues’ company and have a joke around, having a laugh with my fellow referees and even having a laugh with the players on the field, makes the whole experience of refereeing enjoyable.”
Having transitioned from a player of many years, to now an elite referee, Murray encouraged other players, and non-players, to ‘give it a go’ and become a referee.
“Whether it be because you love the game of football or because you want to earn a little bit of money, football needs more referees.
“It’s also a great way to meet new friends and stay fit, healthy and active, all whilst enjoying the sun,” concluded Murray.
Thank you, Murray and all his fellow match officials, for their contribution to our great game.