GROUP 7 whistleblower Chris Treneman achieved a life-long goal at the weekend when he made his NRL touch judge debut.
The 32-year-old who originates from Albion Park became the 146th referee to debut, when we officiated the round 18 match between the Melbourne Storm and Parramatta at AAMI Park.
Treneman, who is the 966th accredited referee with the NSWRL Referees Association, credits his time in Group 7 to developing his love for the game of rugby league.
“I first started refereeing in 2001, as a 16-year-old - I've always been apart of Group 7 and still call it home,” Trenaman said.
“I refereed in Group 7 for 12 years from under 6s to first grade before progressing into NSW in 2013.
“In 2015, I was privileged enough to get taken up into the emerging referees squad to further develop under the guidance of Jared Maxwell and Steve Chiddy, as well as the exposure through training and skills work to the NRL's top officials on a weekly basis.
“This squad has help develop me game preparation, attitude, friendships, skills and fitness – all the necessities to not only being a better referee but a better person.”
It has been a strong year for Treneman as he also officiated at the Auckland Nines during the pre-season.
“Refereeing at this year's Auckland Nines was a fantastic experience – one I will cherish for my life,” he said.
“The speed of the game and again the exposure to that next level of rugby league was invaluable in getting me to where I am today.
“Also, spending a weekend away with the NRL officials and getting to know one another was fantastic for me.”
After years of commitments and numerous strong performances on the field this season, Treneman finally got the call he had been waiting for.
“The pathway to the NRL takes time dedication sacrifice and commitment – you referee your way through junior representative matches, Harold Matthews and SG Ball competitions, into Sydney Shield and Ron Massey Cup, and NSW Intrust Competition (NSW Cup) and NYC Competitions before even getting a look in to the NRL,” he said.
“Last week, I had a missed call from Tony Archer on the Tuesday, so it was a nervous couple of hour wait to get in contact with him, but when I did and he told me I was going to make my NRL debut - I was pretty excited.
“It has always been a dream of mine just to do one NRL game, so to get that phone call was a very rewarding moment and one that I will never forget.
“I pretty much called the old man straight away to let him know.
“I was really happy with how my first taste of first grade went and I look forward to hopefully more in the future.
“Next step for me is to get consistent first grade experience and continue to work and develop my own game to make the move from the touch line to the centre.”
Treneman also hopes that his achievements encourage more aspiring referees from the South Coast to make the NRL.
“I'd encourage anyone to give refereeing a go - I know there are always shortages and I'd really appreciate, if anyone is interested to get in contact with Group 7,” he said.
“I’m happy to point people in the right direction and help recruits get their careers started.”