Northern NSW Football announce Newcastle Permanent Community Referees of the Year

October 13th, 2020

Northern NSW Football is pleased to announce the Newcastle Permanent Referees of the Year for 2020 across its Zones.

Northern NSW Football Head of Football Development Peter Haynes said NNSWF were delighted to be able to recognise the winners’ contributions.

“Blake, Alex, Sam, Joseph, Raj, Paul and Chris’ contributions to the game through their role as Match Officials have been wonderful,” Haynes said.

“Referees are vital to the enjoyment of the game by players, coaches and spectators alike and they have shown that they take this responsibility very seriously. I congratulate them on their award on behalf of NNSWF and all players, coaches and spectators across the state.”

Newcastle Permanent Chief Customer Experience and Delivery Officer Paul Juergens congratulated the winners on becoming the recipient of the Newcastle Permanent Referee of the Year award for their respective zones.

“Through Newcastle Permanent’s Community Football Awards we recognise the important role referees play in creating fair play and respect on the field,” Juergens said.

“Our thanks to all the referees across northern NSW for their contributions to the game and congratulations to this year’s winner.”

As the winner of their Zone’s Referee of the Year award, recipients are now nominees for Northern NSW Football’s Annual Newcastle Permanent Referee of the Year award to be announced during the week commencing 26 October.

Football Far North Coast – Blake Penhey

Blake Penhey is now a senior referee with Football Far North Coast, having started as a junior and progressed through the ranks.

His commitment to officiating reflects his skills that have seen Penhey identified to attend TOP camps in previous years. He is a valued match official at Football Far North Coast thanks to his calm manner.

Despite moving to Queensland to study this year Penhey continues to make a contribution to local football in Football Far North Coast by returning to referee games each weekend while following all COVID-19 guidelines.

North Coast Football – Alex Maggio

Alex Maggio started refereeing in 2019 with great enthusiasm. This enthusiasm has grown as he has become more proficient and confident.

Alex often receives praise for his games from players, managers and other officials. He has progressed quickly to now be performing assistant referee duties at both NPL and CPL level.

Alex is also assigned with more junior referees so he can mentor them and is keen to progress further and complete his Level 3 as soon as one is available.

Football Mid North Coast – Sam Stewart

Sam Stewart was nominated by Wauchope SC members.

Sam is one of Football Mid North Coast’s young, up and coming referees that has started assisting at Premier League level. He referees in all Community competitive age groups and respects players no matter their age or skill level.

Sam has a professional manner and manages the game at a high standard. He is able to ensure the game is played safely during all conditions. His communication with players during the game to ensure they are playing safely and in accordance with the rules and guidelines is very accomplished.

Football Mid North Coast look forward to helping Sam develop his refereeing career.

Northern Inland Football – Joseph Vella

Joseph Vella is another up promising young official from Tamworth who was to go past 40 games in this shortened season.

Joseph dedicated the 2020 season to officiating and not playing which has seen his confidence, competence and fitness improve from last year. He has made himself available every week, every time slot, with the exception of one weekend where some study took priority.

He has been an official on all competitive age groups in Tamworth from under-12s to Premier Division men’s and women’s.

Referees Appointments Officer Les Withers said Joseph was an appointments officer’s dream.

“[You] need a spot filled and he’s there. Some days when we’ve been short he’s done four or five games without a break and he never complained, nor have I had a complaint from anyone about his officiating,” Withers said.

“He’s a polite young man and becoming a very good official.”

Along with this award, Joseph has also been named the winner of one of the most prestigious awards for Tamworth Referees, the Rod Hobbs Medal, for his efforts this season.

Hunter Valley Football – Raj Gandhi


Newcastle Football – Paul Graham

As well as his dedication as a senior referee, Paul Graham has taken on the responsibility of branch trainer, conducting training sessions for Newcastle Football referees every Monday night.

Macquarie Football – Chris Odgers

Chris Odgers is enjoying his first year of refereeing and has shown a great enthusiasm for duties on and off the field.

He has put his hand up to officiate whenever possible and enjoyed the mentoring and coaching that has come his way. He has moved up from lower age junior football to the quicker and harder older age juniors.

It is expected from his performances that Odgers will move quickly into the senior ranks as he progresses in his refereeing career.

About NNSWF’s Community Partnership with Newcastle Permanent:

Newcastle Permanent is the major partner of Community Football across northern NSW and has partnered with NNSWF since 2008, supporting the High-Performance Program and Junior Football Program.

Newcastle Permanent’s investment in football is one of its most important community partnerships and reflects the financial institution’s commitment to supporting the local community.

Integral to the Newcastle Permanent Community Football partnership is recognition of volunteers, coaches, referees and others on the ground who play a vital role in delivering the game across northern NSW.

The Community Partnership with Newcastle Permanent includes recognition programs such as Newcastle Permanent Volunteer of the Month, Newcastle Permanent Community Coach of the Month, Newcastle Permanent Referee of the Month, Newcastle Permanent Community Club of the Year, training tools for community coaches and volunteers, as well as the distribution of more than 10,000 free footballs to young players each year.

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