2018 Match Official Survey Results

by Rugby Australia

Recently Rugby Australia sent out a survey to all Match Officials registered in 2018. We also sent out a similar survey at the end of 2016 and 2017.

If you took part in any or all of these surveys, thank you very much, because your feedback has been invaluable.

All Referee Associations have been provided their individualised 2018 results. Rugby AU would now like to give all referees across the country, whether they participated or not, an update on the results.

Action Items from 2017 Survey

How did we go implementing the action items from 2017’s survey? Well, there was some good and some bad:

• Educational sessions on specific topics were delivered Australia-wide.

• National online incident reporting forms were made available – this process worked well in some States and not in others.

• Major functionality changes were made to the Referee Appointment System, which included a public-facing portal.

• Target KPIs to coach every referee twice were not met; some areas were better than others but this target simply wasn’t taken seriously or was too difficult to achieve for many Associations. There will be a renewed focus on this in 2019.

• Planned Talent ID development program launched in December (following a significant delay).

• Working party of Referee Association Presidents provided a report with recommendations around reimbursements.

In addition, Shane Barr was appointed to the new role of Match Official Manager – Southern States. He started on 26th November, and his role will be to manage referee accreditation, education and development in ACT, Victoria, South Australia, and Tasmania.

2018 Match Official Survey Results


54% of registered referees responded to this survey. In October, Rugby Australia held a workshop at which selected State referee representatives read all of the feedback gathered on all topics. Amongst other things, the survey highlighted the following:

• Overall satisfaction rate for 2018 was 7.76 out of 10, which is a 2% increase from 2017 and a 4% increase from 2016.

• Satisfaction is significantly higher when a referee is coached twice or more (as was also the case in 2017).

• The number of referees who indicated they planed to stop refereeing decreased 40%.

• Spectator abuse overtook player dissent as the #1 issue. A significant number indicated they had experienced an incident of referee abuse (of any level of severity); 20% of that cohort say they reported it.

• Written comments suggested education content needs to be more accessible, and more relevant to referees.

• There was limited engagement with Individual Season Plans on Sideline.

Action Items

In response, the State Unions and Rugby Australia have now generated their own plans for 2019 with specific actions including:

• Renewed focus on KPIs for every referee in Australia to be coached twice, with an emphasis on spreading coaching resources around and better use of technology in regional areas.

• Each Association will publish its ‘education night’ dates in February, so that people know well in advance when they will be held.

• Four National education sessions will be live-streamed and made available for download. One session will specifically address content targeted at referees of U19 matches, and one session will provide tips for referees over age 40. This is designed to address the issue of accessibility and relevance of education.

• Links will be provided in RAS portal and appointment email footers to make the form for reporting of MO abuse incidents more easy to find.

• There will be a focus on ensuring every registered referee not only has current Smart Rugby but is also up-to-date with their accreditation.

• Management of the new national Premiership Group and Development Group to ensure effective communication with them about their place in the pathway.

• We will run a national competition for non-Talent ID referees with the prize being an exchange and development experience with another Referee Association anywhere around Australia.

If you are interested in learning more, please ask your State Union Referee contact.

Thanks again to all who participated! Enjoy the holiday season and we hope to see you back for 2019!