Refereeing a family affair in Shepparton

By Tyler Maher

When it comes to refereeing at the Shepparton Sports Stadium, it is certainly a family affair.

Two separate groups of sisters are among the Greater Shepparton Basketball Association's roster of officials - and that is just the tip of the iceberg.

Across the courts of the stadium almost every night during the various seasons and age groups, siblings from many families can be found refereeing, as well as playing, all night long.

It was this family feeling which association referee supervisor Jackie Marshall said was one of the greatest aspects of becoming a local basketball official - as well as improved fitness and a little extra pocket money.

“It's a good incentive to umpire because a lot of these kids are around the stadium a lot of the nights anyway, just with friends, so it's a good way to kind of earn money, get fit and be around a sport you love,” Marshall said.

“We find we've got a lot of siblings all coming through because one will do it and then the others will see that they're getting money for it and see the incentives, so it makes it a nice little family environment.”

Courtney, Danielle and Jess Carroll are among the referee sisters taking to the court, as are Amarlee, Kior and Ataliah Zito.

“It's good (fun),” Ataliah, who was now based in Bendigo, said.

“It's good to see how much they improve and where they're at because I obviously don't see them every week, so when I come back you're kind of proud to see that they're kind of following in your footsteps a little bit and they're doing well too.”

For anyone looking to be introduced into the Shepparton refereeing fraternity, it was as simple as getting in touch with the GSBA and giving it a go.

“If they're looking to get into it they just contact the Shepp Basketball Association,” Marshall said.

“And then depending on how many numbers we get once or twice a year we'll run a referee's course - a beginner's refs course - and then we'll sit down and do a ref's course with them one night for so many hours and they get put on the court with graded referees and go from there.”