CITY of Orange Touch Association referee Billy Greatbatch says his appointment to an exhibition match prior to tonight’s World Club Challenge at Allianz Stadium came “out of the blue”.
Greatbatch is one of three young referees picked to run the touch football match before the Sydney Roosters take on Wigan.
Set to run alongside Luke Saldern and Luke Heckendorf with the whistle, the 16-year-old Orange product was stunned he’d been asked to officiate a touch match between Australia’s men’s open side and a composite outfit tonight in Sydney.
“To tell you the truth I didn’t even know the World Club Challenge was on in Sydney until we got asked to go down and referee this game,” Greatbatch said.
“Basically TFA (Touch Football Australia) picked three young referees after the state cup last week.
“It’s come out of the blue a little bit.”
Greatbatch was picked out of a group of around 30 young referees in contention to control the match following the completion of the NSW Junior State Cup last weekend.
A referee with Group 10 throughout winter as well, the up-and-coming official is thrilled to have the chance to be part of such a special event.
“It’s probably only the first or second time [the WCC] has come to Australia,” he said.
“To be given an opportunity to referee at an event like this will be something to remember.
“Mum and dad have got tickets to come down and watch as well. I’m quite excited to have them come down and have a look.”
The Roosters and Wigan go head-to-head at Allianz Stadium from 7.30pm tonight, with former CYMS junior Daniel Mortimer lining up for the Tricolours.
For those unfamiliar with the World Club Challenge concept, the clash brings the champions of the National Rugby League competition and the English Super League premiership together for a one-off contest to determine the world’s premier club.
Usually, the contest is held in England but in 2014 the match is being played in Australia for the first time in 14 years.