Episode 39 — Henry Perenara

Photo with permission from nrl.com

From grassroots level to the pinnacle of sport, there exists a toxic culture of referee abuse — match officials in EVERY sport bear the brunt of poor sideline behaviour from parents, coaches, and spectators.  

Our guest, Henry Perenara, knows a thing or two. He refereed professionally in the National Rugby League for a decade, following a playing career of eight seasons. Recently retiring due to a heart condition, Henry now works in the NRL bunker, assisting on-field referees. He’s seen and heard it all

Still, he loves it and wants to change the situation we see unfold every weekend, in every sport, in every age group, referees and umpires, who are often kids, suffer because some people just can’t keep their mouths shut. Why do we think it’s okay to give referees a hard time? What gives people the right?

Most importantly, more young people — both boys and girls — simply don’t want to be refs anymore.

Who could blame them? You’ll hear from Henry on his experience as a referee, including officiating at Wembley Stadium and opening the World Cup in Cardiff. Now, seeing it from a different perspective, with his 15-year-old son taking it up. It’s certainly been an eye-opener!

If you’ve got kids who referee, or are thinking about it, Henry is the first to tell you you’ll get the best seat in the house — and he offers some great advice for all of us.



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