The William ‘Darkie’ McCall Award was first presented in 1981 to Ian McCall. Ian’s father William was an early pioneer of the Association. The award is presented annually at the Life Members’ & Presentation Evening to a member that has exceeded all responsibilities in their contribution to the Association during the previous twelve months. The award is voted on by the Executive via a secret ballot. Candidates are assessed for their attendance, improvement, demeanour and special acts.
In 1982, the Jack Argent Trophy was established. It would be later known as the Patron’s Trophy. Jack Argent was a Parramatta Club stalwart and Honorary Member for Life of the Parramatta Referees’ Association. He served as Patron of the Association from 1986 up until his passing in 2004. In 1989, the Association honoured Jack with the aforementioned award of Honorary Life Membership. The Patron’s Trophy has historically been presented to the Referee who officiates the A Grade 1st Division Grand Final, the match considered to be the District’s highest appointment.
Kevin Jeffes was a Life Member of the Parramatta, NSW and Australian Referees’ Associations. He joined Parramatta Referees’ in the 1950’s, quickly rising through the ranks on the field to grade and immediately showing a willingness to contribute to all aspects of refereeing. His on-field career took him as high as test match status as a Touch Judge. Kevin was awarded Life Membership at Parramatta in 1961. During his time with the Association he served as a Referees’ Coach, Secretary (1982-1991) and was the Association’s Patron throughout the early stages of the 21st century. In honour of his dedication to developing referees, the Association was donated a plaque to use as the “Kevin Jeffes Coach of the Year” Award. It was fitting that the first recipient of the award was Ken McNaught in 2009. Ken’s dedication to the role of Director of Refereeing & Development cannot be matched.
The Rookie of the Year Award was first presented in 2007. The award recognises a referee who has excelled in their first full season in refereeing; thereby establishing themselves as a noted member of the Association. The recipient applies themselves appropriately to training, meetings and on-field facets of the Association. They go above their calling as a referee and demonstrate the qualities that will help them develop into a first class match official. The inaugural winner of the award was Gavin Role, since that time, a number of the recipients have gone on to referee at high levels within the district, some of which have also gone onto represent the Association in inter-district competitions
The Junior Achievement Award otherwise known as the Junior Referee of the Year Award was first presented in 1982. After the sudden passing of long-term life member, John Roe the Junior of the year award was dedicated to the late John Roe. John played an integral part in the association for upwards of 20 years. He had an interest in the development of our junior referees, believing that the continued success of the association relied on the ‘next generation’. John had served multiple years as an active referee, member of the executive, coaching staff, appointments panel and other sub committees within the association.
The inaugural recipient was Wayne Howarth. Wayne is also the leading recipient of the award, winning it three times in total. The award is voted upon by the Junior Appointments Panel, taking into consideration those junior referees that have shown great improvement and therefore deemed to be the best performed throughout the course of the year.
Bob Jones was Club Secretary of Parramatta Leagues for a period of ten years. He was also a most esteemed member of the Parramatta Referees’ Association. He was Patron of the Association from 1977 until 1985. He was made an Honorary Life Member in 1978. Upon his departure from the Association as Patron in 1985, he set in motion the means to present an annual award to the “Most Improved Referee”.
This award is voted upon by the Coaching and Development Committee and takes into account all aspects of refereeing. This is a very sought after award and many members who have won this award have gone on to achieve higher honours in refereeing. The award has five winners that have gone on to make the NRL as an on-field officials.
In 2003, Stephen Ellison was presented with the inaugural “Trainer of the Year” Award. Subsequent to the passing of Ernie Bull, this award was appropriately renamed the “Ernie Bull Trainer of the Year” Award and presented to Barry Cummins in 2004. Ernie Bull joined the Parramatta Referees’ Association in the early 1960’s.
Ernie was a long time servant of the Association, giving more than 40 years of service up until his passing in 2004. He spent large periods of times in the roles of Trainer and as the Appointment Board Secretary. His contribution was recognised in 1976 when he was elevated to the status of Life Member. Ernie served as the Association’s Trainer from 1985 to 1987. The legacy that he has left for refereeing in Parramatta can be seen today with the number of members whom he developed, still giving back to the Association.
Since 2007, the Association’s active referees have voted on a 3, 2, 1 basis to determine who they believe is the Referees’ Referee. The award recognises a member who is a leader both on and off the field. Aspects such as on-field performance, participation at training, leadership and the referee’s demeanour culminate in the determination of the Referees’ Referee. Current NRL member Zbigniew Przeklasa-Adamski was the inaugural recipient of the award in 2007. This award is considered as one of the most prestigious awards with the winner having the satisfaction of being voted as a worthy recipient by his or her peers. To be recognised by your peers is one of the most satisfactory honours to be bestowed on an active referee.
In 2007, the NRL donated achievement awards to all NSW Affiliated Referee Associations to acknowledge referees each year for showing great improvement and compiling consistent performances throughout the season. Each year a Junior Referee is identified, who shows great potential in his/her refereeing infancy. A Senior Referee is also identified as someone who has made substantial progress during the course of the season.
Unfortunately, 2016 would be the last year that the NRL Senior and Junior Achievement Awards would be presented. Michael Karam and Daniel Ives were recognised for their ongoing development in 2016. Without the ongoing funding and backing of the NRL it seems an appropriate time to call it a day on the presentation of these awards. In doing so, we look back at some of the award winners and their successful development following the award. The award had had several multiple winners. Jake Peters-McDonald and Todd Ripps are the only recipients to win both the Senior and Junior Award. Others to have won the award numerous times are Matthew Devos, Shaun Madden and Robert Morey. In its very short lifespan, the award also yielded an NRL Referee
The cessation of the NRL Senior Achievement Award left the Association with an opportunity to create a new award which focuses on the efforts of a senior and junior member of the Association. The Association has had a proud history of producing first class touch judges at all levels within rugby league. It can be said that the Association has failed to recognise the quality of the touch judging we have in any formal manner. Long term Director of Refereeing & Development and Life Member, Ken McNaught donated these awards to the Association which honours and recognises the efforts of a senior and junior member who have displayed strong touch judging ability over the course of the year. The award is determined by the Coaching & Development Committee.