Several Victorian officials will make the journey to Queensland this WNBL season to officiate what can only be described as a season like none other.
With a new hub model allowing the WNBL season to take place in 2020, 45 referees who currently sit on the WNBL panel were approached by Basketball Australia for expressions of interest to officiate the competition.
Of the 14 referees and three referee coaches chosen by Basketball Australia, Aydin Baker, Daniel Battye, Jason Kelly, Todd Spain and Troy Earle will represent Victoria, with over 40 years WNBL experience among them.
Through a partnership with the Queensland Government, the entire season will be played out of a North Queensland hub, with games being played in Cairns, Mackay and Townsville. A revised season structure will feature 60 games condensed into a six-week period from 11 November – 20 December.
Whilst living in the hub, the 14 attending referees will have access to the same level of services as players, inclusive of activities that will help to promote positive mental wellbeing and monitoring individual welfare.
Basketball Victoria’s Technical Officials Manager, Bill Mildenhall, said this news is well deserved for the selected referees, and is a reflection of Victoria’s commitment to developing experienced officials for basketball competitions.
“In this crazy time of the Covid pandemic, it is very exciting to have the highly successful and recognised Chemist Warehouse Women’s National Basketball League about to commence its 2020 season,” explained Mildenhall.
“While there have been enormous logistical challenges, Victoria are thrilled to have four out of the total fourteen referees available and selected to officiate this unique season competition. Victoria wish to congratulate Aydin Baker, Daniel Battye, Jason Kelly and Todd Spain for their selection onto the Hub WNBL Panel for the 2020 season,
“We would also wish to congratulate and acknowledge that Victorian, Troy Earle, a very experienced WNBL referee will be transition to Referee Coaching for this 2020 season as well.
“We again are also very proud that the league has identified Troy for this very important role.”
Mildenhall continued, “These four referees have been consistent performers in the elite Victorian competitions with varying experiences in both the State and National Leagues. While we appreciate this will be a unique experience for all concerned, we are also very confident that our Victorian referees will again do the league proud.”
Jason Kelly, one of the selected Victorian referees, is no stranger to officiating the WNBL competition. With 14 years of experience in the league, he said this season is a privilege to be involved with.
“During unprecedented times and the unique situation we are placed in, for me it was an opportunity to be part of history,” Kelly said. “To be able put my name down, apply and be selected to go is an honour. I don’t think I’m alone in saying this either, and I think the referees selected from every State would feel the same.
“For both the experienced officials and some that have only refereed a couple of seasons, it’s an opportunity to go into this pressure cooker environment and experience more games. For the veterans, I see it as our way to help bring the next lot of referees through.”
In a season that has faced so many unexpected turns, even before first tip-off, Kelly said it is sure to be filled with new experiences.
He explained, “During the season there’ll be a big emphasis on rehab and recovery because there’s so many games. It will be challenging in the some ways, but being selected with the other Victorians is good because there’s that common understanding of what we’re coming from with COVID-19 and basketball being postponed for so long. So, we’re looking forward to being back on the court refereeing.”
The 14 Referees that will officiate throughout the 2020 Chemist Warehouse WNBL season are (in alphabetical order):
- Aydin Baker (VIC) – 2 WNBL seasons
- Daniel Battye (VIC) – 8 WNBL seasons
- Madi Crowley-Long (QLD) – 1 WNBL season
- Jacqui Dover (QLD) – 1 WNBL season
- Byron Geddes (NSW) – 1 WNBL season
- James Griguol (SA) – 3 WNBL seasons
- Calia Hanks (QLD) – 1 WNBL season
- Danika Jolley (SA) – 1 WNBL season
- Jason Kelly (VIC) – 14 WNBL seasons
- Guy Richards (NSW) – 4 WNBL seasons
- Todd Spain (VIC) – over 18 WNBL seasons
- Hugh Starkey (SA) – 2 WNBL seasons
- Jack Taylor (ACT) – 6 WNBL seasons
- Kylie Voevodin (QLD) – 19 WNBL seasons
The Referee Coaches that will be in the WNBL Hub are:
- Troy Earle (VIC)
- Jacky Maggs (QLD)
- John Rearden (NSW)
All 60 games of the 2020 Chemist Warehouse WNBL season will be broadcast LIVE on Kayo, with 21 feature games to be broadcast LIVE on Foxtel, and ten feature games to be simulcast on the ABC main channel plus ABC iview.