GROWING TOGETHER: Ipswich referees Riley and Luke Anderson, pictured in 2014, have officiated a number of matches together this season.
GROWING TOGETHER: Ipswich referees Riley and Luke Anderson, pictured in 2014, have officiated a number of matches together this season. David Nielsen

Father, son honoured for dedication

LUKE and Riley Anderson are your quintessential rugby league-loving father and son combination.

Rugby league takes up much of their conversation. They butt heads regularly; be it over results, players, or refereeing decisions.

That last one is particularly notable, because the pair have a better grasp than most on the refereeing caper.

Luke and Riley were last month named Rugby League Ipswich Senior and Junior Referee of the Year, respectively.

For Luke, a stalwart of the RLI referee ranks for more than a decade now, it was his third time accepting such an award.

"For me, it's about being part of the game," he said.

"I love football. I always have. I can't play, so it's just my way of being involved in the game and helping out."

Luke donned the fluro pink shirt and whistle when Riley was running around in under-7s.

Eleven years on, his passion for the craft has not wavered.

"I got involved to help the little ones, joined the association, and went from there," Luke said.

"I help train the young ones, coaching match officials, and trying to get them up to speed with all the new stuff we are required to do.

"The game, it keeps changing. As long as I can keep up to date, the more info I can give. We've had a really good group this year."

Riley accepted his first Referee of the Year award last month.

It was fitting then, he got to do so alongside his dad.

The timeline had come full circle with Riley following in Luke's refereeing footsteps.

"He's helped me out a lot. He's the one that started me refereeing pretty much," Riley said.

"Ever since he started, I said 'I want to do that, I want to do that.' Here we are today."

For the first time in his 11-year career, Luke has regularly refereed A-Grade fixtures this season.

Riley would normally officiate Colts matches, before running the lines with Luke the central referee.

Getting to share the field together is a highlight both father and son did not want to downplay.

Individually, Riley ticked another box this year.

"I went to a cultural exchange carnival on the Sunny Coast - one of the few Ipswich members that has gone away," he said.

"That was definitely a highlight of my year. Being told I was picked for that . . . I was over the moon."

A young referee in his own right, Riley won the award for being a role model and regular influence on his peers.

"I love the younger referees. They're a big influence on me, and help push me as well," Riley said.

Both Luke and Riley agreed, winning their respective awards was just "the cherry on top" of a fulfilling season, doing what they love.



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