IN THE ACTION: John Ashton in the thick of it while running the line.
IN THE ACTION: John Ashton in the thick of it while running the line. David Lobwein

Holding all the cards not as easy it seems

FOOTBALL: While those on the field playing for victory can point to goals, assists or saves as a measure of a good performance, such telltale signs don't exist for the one with the whistle.

But Laidley's John Ashton can certainly reflect on a job well done after being named the 2018 Rookie Referee of the Year by the Toowoomba Football League.

While he admits it is a little unusual to be a newcomer at the age of 35, he has enjoyed his new role and the award has pushed him to carry on.

Following a break from playing the game, John got involved with football again after son Blake signed up for the Gatton Redbacks.

"I just thought I'd really like to be back involved in the game rather than just being a parent watching,” John said.

"Refereeing is the next step if you can't play anymore or don't want to play anymore.”

This year he took control of junior boys and senior women's games and ran the line for championship men and premier men fixtures.

Laidley's John Ashton was named Rookie of the Year for 2018 by the Toowoomba Football League. He stands alongside Janelle Robb from Football Queensland.
Laidley's John Ashton was named Rookie of the Year for 2018 by the Toowoomba Football League. He stands alongside Janelle Robb from Football Queensland. Contributed

"Getting recognition like that means I'm doing a good job so I probably will look to ref again next year and try and improve my qualification levels and try and become a mentor for other younger ones,” he said.

While it is easy to sit back and criticise, John said being the main man in the middle of the field was a lot harder than he ever expected it to be.

"There are quite a lot of laws of the game, some of them that are open for interpretation,” he said.

"What (someone else) sees as a foul and a yellow card, I might just see it as a foul or I might not see it as a foul at all.

"I don't think we actually have any obvious sign we've had a good game. If we come off confident and happy with the decisions that we've made, it think it's our indication that we've done well.”

He even admits to being an "armchair ref” when watching the game.

"I'll still watch the football on TV (and yell out). You don't stop,” he laughed.


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