Football Queensland (FQ) and Total Tools are pleased to announce Gladstone’s Patrick Cullen as the April recipient of the Total Tools Referee of the Month award.
18-year-old Cullen was nominated by Football Central Queensland (FCQ) Referee Development Officer Darren MacLeod.
“Patrick is the most improved of our group of referees this year,” MacLeod said.
“We did a week-long referee trip to Mackay last year and Patrick really took on board what the coaches had to say.
“Since then, he has applied the learnings to the way he referees. His ability to relate to players is what makes him stand out.”
MacLeod said Cullen has also shown commitment in helping younger match officials develop their skills.
“Patrick always attends training and has a great attitude, there’s no ego there,” he said.
“He’s like a sponge, great at retaining information and passing on information to the junior referees.”
Cullen began refereeing five years ago as a way to earn some pocket money while still playing.
He soon gave up playing altogether and has since progressed through the FCQ refereeing ranks.
“At the moment I’m refereeing Central Queensland Premier League, which was my first goal and I’ve achieved that,” he said.
“My next goal is getting up to the National Premier Leagues (NPL).
“I like being able to give back to the sport. I used to have a lot of injuries and with refereeing, I saw more opportunities.”
Football Federation Australia (FFA) has employed three full-time Hyundai A-League referees since 2015, meaning the current generation of young match officials can now view their involvement in the game as a genuine career pathway.
“I like showing the younger refs that this could also be a career opportunity for them and a great thing to be involved in,” Cullen said.
“If anyone isn’t sure about refereeing, I’d say take every opportunity you have.
“The places refereeing can take you and the opportunities that are there are pretty cool – especially if you’re a big football fan.”
When asked on how to deal with the more challenging elements of refereeing, Cullen’s advice was clear.
“The easiest thing is to find the enjoyment in it,” he said.
“Have a smile, talk to the players, and take the feedback from everyone – even the bad bits.
“Take time to review, think about what parts you can work on, but not let it get to you.”