It may have been a disappointing season for the Bowral Blacks, but a referee from the Southern Highlands was named as best of the year recently.
Andrew Strode was crowned the best referee of the year at the Illawarra District Rugby Union's annual awards presentation night in September and was proud of the achievement.
"It's nice to be recognised in that way, but it's not why I do what we do," Strode said.
The Goulburn High School teacher was already a referee in his playing days, but fully transitioned into refereeing about 10 years ago when his playing career ended.
"It's just a good way for me to stay involved with a sport that I love," Strode said.
One of the difficulties Strode said he faced during the transition process was switching his frame of mind from being a player to a referee.
"The most challenging aspect for me was changing from looking at the game from a players perspective to a referee's perspective," he said.
While his main job as a referee is to enforce the rules, Strode said he did get time to enjoy the football as well.
"I enjoy constantly moving with the players and trying to anticipate what they do next," he said.
"I'm really focused on the laws and making the right decisions at the right time though."
Besides from being in charge, Strode, along with other referees, have the job of giving best on ground votes and he said that wasn't easy to do.
"Referees are asked to give out player of the match votes at the end of each match and I often struggle with that as I'm not invested in who's playing well individually," Strode said.
Bowral's Baxter Gregory was named the junior referee of the year.
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