Rookies Camp pays dividends for Turner

Young umpire Thomas Turner is becoming a familiar face in the netball community, regularly being allocated to competitions such as State Age Championships, DOOLEYS State League, and Court Craft Plexipave Night Interdistrict.

The 17 year old from Parramatta Auburn Netball Association is enjoying a steady rise through the ranks having been awarded his National ‘B’ Badge in June. 

Now regularly officiating netball games, as well as volunteering at events like the Oceania Netball Cup and Inter-Regional State League, Thomas says he can’t believe how far he has come in only twelve months.

By receiving his National ‘C’ Badge during the 2012 season, Thomas was invited to the Netball NSW Umpire Rookies Camp last year – a weekend the young official says had a resounding impact on him.

“The Rookies Camp last year was an amazing experience.  I learned so much in those two days and met people like Helen George, who umpires at ANZ Championship and international level.  Having the opportunity to learn off umpires like Helen was an awesome opportunity,” Turner said.

“Everyone who attended the camp was there to learn, but it was also great to be able to make new friends.  Now we see each other at State Championships or State Age [Championships] and can have a chat.”

It wasn’t all fun and friends during the two-day camp, with the ‘Rookies’ being put to the test by officiating games and getting real-time feedback from experienced officials.

“It was hard work but the coaching and feedback I received was really beneficial.  Our mentors were really honest – they would tell you where you needed to get better or what you might have missed, but that honesty only makes you better,” Turner said.

“Having Helen George and [Netball Australia Umpire of the Year] Sharon Kelly, [Netball NSW Umpire and Officials Development Coordinator] Jan Simpson and [National ‘A’ Badge] Duncan Lang on hand is a really unique opportunity.  Their support has definitely helped me develop my skills.”

The next crop of Netball NSW ‘Rookies’ will have their opportunity to attend the Rookies Camp on Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 November, with all umpires who achieved their National ‘C’ Badge in 2013 encouraged to register for the weekend.

In addition to encouraging those rookies to “definitely sign up and go”, Turner has one other piece of advice.

“Take a notepad and pen to write down everything so you don’t forget.  You learn a lot over the weekend and keeping notes will help you remember,” Turner said.

“And always listen to advice.  The mentors are there to help you, and you never know how much you can learn if you listen.”

Registrations for the 2013 Umpires Rookies Camp closes a week today on Friday 1 November, so make sure you send in your registration to attend this fantastic development opportunity.

For more information, please contact Netball NSW Umpire and Officials Development Coordinator Jan Simpson on 02 9951 5000 or email