TEENAGE rugby league official Lucas Giese has caught the eye of former Australian rugby league player Renae Kunst after refereeing at the Rise Carnival in Townsville during the school holidays.
The Cooktown Junior Rugby League Club player began helping club officials last season but has only been an accredited referee for one season.
He was among a group of youth invited to the Townsville carnival and the NQ Rugby League Referees Camp.
“I’ve been playing since I was 7, and that’s the main reason I wanted to be a referee,” the 15-year-old said.
“I wanted to give back to the kids and the community and show them what I’ve learnt along the way.”
Lucas said he took a lot from the Townsville experience.
“The referee camp was good, I could really see the difference in how I reffed at that level and how I ref in Cooktown,” he said.
The teenage officials refereed with retired professional referees mentoring them along the way, and also took part in cultural and health activities.
“The coaches would watch us referee then tell us what we needed to fix, and sometimes we’d get filmed and then we’d all sit down and watch it afterwards and pick out what we needed to change,” Lucas said
Proud mum Kim Giese said huge thanks had to go to the Cooktown club for funding Lucas to attend the camp and providing him with the opportunity.
“We’ve had some really good feedback about Lucas from former Jillaroo Renae Kunst, who is now the Queensland Rugby League Development Officer,” Ms Giese said.
“It was a great chance for him to build up his confidence as well.”
Lucas said the mentoring would stay with him as he continues his refereeing at local games.
“Now it’s something I can have in the back of my mind next season when I’m reffing here,” he said.
“I really want to stick with rugby league and my club for as long as I can, because it’s something I’ve enjoyed for a long time now.”