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Cameron Paddy to make NRL Refereeing debut

NSWRL Referee High Performance squad member Cameron Paddy will make his NRL debut in the Round 10 game between St George Illawarra Dragons and the Warriors at Nestrata Jubilee Stadium on Saturday.

Paddy, who began refereeing in 2009 for a bit of pocket money with the Cronulla Referees Association, will become NRL Referee #161 after being chosen as one of the touch judges for the match.

A teacher during the working week, Paddy, received a call from NRL Referee manager Jarred Maxwell in the middle of coaching his students’ Rugby League match. He told his first thought was, “What could this be, hopefully it is good news.”

“There comes a point where you see other people getting opportunities and you think, oh is it ever going to be my turn,” Paddy said.

“Then when someone actually tells you you’re going to get it after you have been working for it for so long, it is a bit of a relief.”

Since being graded in the NSW High Performance squad Paddy has notched up 164 games; 37 of those as a referee and 43 as a touch judge in The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup.

“I am grateful for having all those guys and girls in the high-performance squad because they’re the ones I run with week in and week out and if it wasn’t for them assisting me and guiding me leading up to this point, I wouldn’t have this opportunity I don’t think,” he said.

“It meant a lot to me when I got my jersey presented in front of them and to be able to share it with them. I want to make all of them proud.”

Paddy’s love for refereeing took off at the age of 17 having a lot of guidance from people within his association including Maxwell.

“He sort of provided that guidance to me from a young age and seeing him refereeing in the NRL made me think if someone that close to me can do it then why can’t I do it,” he said.

Sharing the moment on Saturday with his close family and friends, Paddy will hope to remember to pack his gear this time telling of a faux par a couple of years ago.

“I was refereeing Ron Massey Cup and I actually forgot my gear bag I don’t know why, and I literally rocked up to the game without my gear,” Paddy said.

“I was wearing jeans and a polo shirt, and I was like, ‘Oh my god.’

“Before then I was quite superstitious, I had to pack the same gear the night before, make sure I had the right boots everything.

“I borrowed some gear and just went out and refereed I thought it couldn’t get any worse.”

That moment has now helped strip all stress from Paddy’s game day preparation.

“I don’t really have them (superstitions) anymore it made me realise that they don’t really matter they’re not really going to affect how you perform.

“Obviously it helps if you take your gear to the game but ever since that day, I think I have become much more relaxed in my approach.

“I had a set routine, what I needed to do and what time I needed to get there.

“Whilst I am still on top of those things, I definitely don’t stress out about them as much leading into the game, it is just waking up on the day and thinking about it then.

“It is cliché, but I am going to try keep things as normal as I can, as I would any other game.

“So many people give you different bits of advice, but the one thing is trying to be confident in what you have done previously because that is what has gotten you the opportunity.

“Hopefully everything goes all right leading into the weekend and I can do the one game and it is still one more than a lot of other people have done.

“Only 160 before me have officiated NRL; it is pretty special to be able to be on that list now.”

Acknowledgement of Country

New South Wales Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.