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Sports Officiating Forums

Cricket umpire

Sports officials and volunteers are the keepers of the game for sporting clubs and community groups across Queensland. Without their involvement, the games would stop.

Their dedication and passion makes them an integral part of sport across the state. Over 2.3 million Australians donate their time and energy to community sport and recreation clubs.

FREE forums were held in March 2018 for grassroots sports officials (umpires, referees and judges), officiating coaches, competition administrators and sport industry professionals.

Participants were inspired by umpires, referees and other sport personalities who drew on their experiences from Grand Slams, World Cups, Olympic and Commonwealth Games.

The forums provided insights to:

  • how to better recruit, retain and support officials at a grassroots level
  • the journey of high performance sport officials and their own experiences and challenges
  • the current sport officiating landscape within Queensland
  • the traits of a good official and why raising the profile of officiating is important to growing your sport.

Details on speakers are available below. Each forum was filmed and will be available online shortly.

City Date Speakers and panellists Videos
Gold Coast 15 March 2018 Panel Discussion
Lynn Cowie-McAlister
Ash Synnott
Cairns 19 March 2018 Panel Discussion 1
Panel Discussion 2
Chris Nunn
Toni Caldwell
Eleni Glouftsis
Brisbane 22 March 2018 Welcome to Country - Shannon Ruska
Panel Discussion 1
Panel Discussion 2
Donna Kelso
Alan Smith
Townsville 27 March 2018 Panel Discussion 1
Panel Discussion 2
Belinda Sleeman
Steve Clark
Clare McMeniman

List of speakers and panellists

Chris Nunn (Master of Ceremonies, Para Athletics coach)

Chris  Nunn

Chris represented Australia in athletics at the Commonwealth Games and has since transferred his knowledge and motivation to become one of the world 's most successful Para Olympic Coaches. He has attended eight Paralympic Games including leading the Australian Athletics Team at the 2000Sydney Olympic Games, was Chef de Mission at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, Deputy Chef de Mission at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games. Chris was awarded the Order of Australia Medal for his services to people with a disability.

Toni Caldwell (Basketball)

Toni Caldwell

Toni Caldwell is a current FIBA official and is the only woman refereeing in the men’s national league (NBL). Toni just completed her 11th NBL season and was also a Womens National Basketball League panel official for nine years, having being appointed to six finals panels and the Grand Final in 2012.

Starting at the age of 18, Toni moved through the state championship and junior national ranks before being appointed as an official to the Queensland State League at age 25.  She moved quickly through national finals series and onto the NBL draft panel before being added to the panel in 2016. She made her official NBL debut at the Grand Final rematch between the Brisbane Bullets and the Perth Wildcats.

Toni was given the opportunity to become an international official and became an accredited FIBA official in 2009. She has refereed at the following tournaments:

  • Sydney Youth Olympics
  • World and Olympic qualifying series
  • Under 17 World Championships
  • Women’s World Championships
  • World Universiade
  • an Oceania tournament in Guam.

Toni still referees in the Queensland Basketball League during the offseason of the NBL. She also referees locally in Cairns where she currently runs the junior and senior referee programs and enjoys working at the grassroots level and teaching young up-and-coming officials. Toni is also a mentor for many officials across the state.

Steve Clark (Rugby League)

Steve Clark

Steve has refereed over 300 First Grade NRL Matches and video refereed 292 first grade NRL matches. His career covers five State of Origin matches, eight Test Matches and World Cup in the UK and France in 2000. He has been employed in referee development at the NRL and a mentor in the National Officiating Scholarship Program from 2008 – 2017.

Jacqui Dover


Jacqui turned to refereeing after a shoulder injury playing State League Basketball in 2014. Since then, she has officiated 3 seasons in the Queensland Basketball State League, including quarter and semi-finals matches, along with a handful of combined NBL and WNBL Pre-season games.

Earlier this year Jacqui officiated at the Under 20 National Championships in Gosford, and was selected for the Women’s Gold Medal game. She is looking to progress in the Queensland Basketball State League, with the goal of entering the national leagues in 2018.

Lyn Cowie-McAlister (Hockey)

Lyn McAlister

Wife, mother, industrial officer, small business owner and teacher, Lynn Cowie-McAlister retired from international umpiring in 2016 after being ranked in the top four umpires in Australia for over a decade and the top 30 in the world.  Lynn is now a member of the Hockey Australia Officiating committee and has been recognised by the Federation of International Hockey as a promising umpire manager.  Lynn has travelled the world with her sport and brings not only a top-level umpiring perspective but also a real life insight into the importance of officiating.


Jarred Gillett (Football)

Jarred Gillett<br />

Jarred debuted as an A-League referee in 2010 having now refereed four A-League Grand Finals and was awarded Referee of the Year in 2012 and 2015-2017. He is now an Football Federation Australia (FFA) and Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) referee having refereed the AFC President's Cup Final; AFC Champions League; FIFA World Cup Qualifiers and officiated in the J-League, Indian Super League and Saudi Pro League.

Graham Glassford (Australian Football, Northern Territory Institute of Sport)

Graham Glassford

Athletics is the sport that Graham excelled at after specialising in the sport in his late teens.  In 1996 Graham obtained a 'B' Qualifying Standard over 1500m for the Olympic Games in Atlanta and has a personal best of 3minutes 40.20seconds.

After retiring from sport he committed to working in sport having had roles with Skiing Australia, Sydney Olympic Games Organising Committee, 2002 Sydney Gay Games and State Sports Centre (Sydney). As State Umpiring Manger –AFL NSW/ACT for 11 years and now currently NT Institute of Sport Coaching and Officiating Consultant Graham has been involved in many projects working with officials to recruit, retain and educate officials and official coaches and the inter-relationship between sports administrators and officials.

Eleni Glouftsis (Australian Football)

Eleni Goulfies

Elieni was the first female field umpire to officiate in a match sanctioned by the AFL, which occurred in the 2016 NAB Challenge match between the Carlton Football Club and Essendon Football Club, in February of 2016 at Princes Park. Eleni became the first female to be appointed field umpire for an AFL Premiership season match, when she was selected to officiate the Essendon and West Coast match in Round 9 of the 2017 AFL season.

Donna Kelso (Tennis)

Donna Kelso

Donna commenced her tennis officiating career in 1982 and since 1998 has been the WTA Grand Slam Supervisor. On circuit, behind the scenes, she looks after the likes of the Williams sisters, Caroline Wazniacki and Angelique Kerber. Her officiating career features Fed and Davis Cups, Olympic Games, Australian and US Open Ladies Singles Finals, having officiated over 100 Grand Slams. In 2007, she was inducted to the Tennis Officials Australia Hall of Fame.

Donovan Koch (Cricket)

Donovan Koch

Donovan is a Queensland based cricket umpire that is part of the Cricket Australia Development Panel. Koch made his List A, First Class and BBL debut this season. He has also done several Tour Games including England, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

After a First Class playing career, Donovan started umpiring six years ago as he wanted to stay in the game. He is currently umpiring in the Brisbane First Grade where he has done the last three First Grade Grand Finals.

Hamish McDonald (Para Athletics athlete and coach)

Hamish McDonald

Hamish has 24 years' experience as part of the Paralympic Athletics team including 10 years as a residential scholarship holder at the Australian Institute of Sport. Hamish competed at six Paralympic Games and five World Championships between 1992 and 2012. After retiring from athletics in 2012 Hamish joined the National team coaching staff for the 2015 and 2017 IPC World Championships and the 2016 Paralympics, and helped deliver three world championship medals and a Paralympic medal.

Clare McMeniman (Netball)

Clare McMeniman

Clare McMeniman is a former Australian Netball Diamond & Queensland Firebirds defender who retired from international and domestic competition in 2016. Clare 's elite netball career was preceded by a two year residential scholarship at the Australian Institute of Sport and Australian U21 representation at the 2005 Netball World Youth Cup. After debuting for the Queensland Firebirds in 2007, she became Vice-Captain of the Firebird's inaugural ANZ Championship team and was involved in the team 's three ANZ Championship Premiership victories. In 2014, following a 2 year hiatus from netball, Clare returned to the elite level and debuted as the 163rd Australian Netball player and was appointed as the Diamonds Captain in 2016.

Belinda Sleeman (Rugby League)

Belinda Sleeman

Belinda Sleeman is used to breaking new ground in rugby league, being the first female to officiate in the National Rugby League (NRL), a Test Match and at a World Cup. Growing up in the rugby league heartland of Rockhampton in Central Queensland, she played many sports, before transitioning to her real passion – rugby league. Belinda worked through the grades in Queensland to reach the top level in the Intrust Super Cup as a centre referee, before ultimately being appointed as a touch judge to the Round 26 NRL match between Wests Tigers and Cronulla Sharks in 2014, in an historic moment for rugby league. She has since officiated in more than 50 first grade games in the NRL, and achieved representative honours including NRL All Stars, City v Country, NRL semi-finals and the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.

Alan Smith (Swimming)

Alan Smith

Alan Smith is a Level 3 (National) Swimming Referee and a current National Officiating Scholarship recipient. He was a referee at the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games in the Bahamas and is looking forward to being a pool deck official at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Tom Sweeney (Tennis)

Tom Swinney

Tom Sweeney is an international tennis chair umpire who works around the world on the tour for most of the year. He has a silver badge certification from the International Tennis Federation, placing him in the top 76 chair umpires in the world. Tom has officiated at 36 Grand Slams including the last 16 Australian Opens, where he has been chair umpire in four doubles finals and a line umpire in four men 's singles finals. He was a chair umpire at the 2016 Rio Olympics, 2012 London Paralympics and officiated at the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games, the only CWG that tennis has been represented.

Ash Synnott (Athlete Pathway and Development, AIS)

Ash Synnott

Ash has been an employee of the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) for more than eight years holding various positions and is currently working in Pre-Elite Athlete Development, shaping the skills and mindset needed for our future athletes. Ash is also the ASC 's Officiating Manager, responsible for overseeing the education and training of officials from grassroots through to the elite. Ash works with many national sporting organisations in the development and implementation of their education and training, pathways and more specifically the development of High Performance Development Programs. Ash has been a keynote presenter in both the UK and US delivering presentations on Officiating Pathway Development and High Performance Program Development.

Jordan Way (Rugby 7s)

Jordan Way

Originally from the Gold Coast, Jordan's refereeing journey began through a broken collar bone incident in his final year at school. Having been an accomplished rugby player, he made the decision to hang up his playing boots and focus on his career as a referee. From here he has sky rocketed through the ranks and is now an assistant referee for Super Rugby and a referee for the HSBC 7s World Series. He has been a member of Rugby Australia 's National Match Official Team since 2016, and participated in the National Officiating Scholarship program with the AIS in 2015. He will be refereeing at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games in April.

Funding Partners

Delivery Agencies


The Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games will transform the Gold Coast and Queensland by creating benefits for our communities before, during and after the 11 days of competition. These are the benefits that this initiative will bring to Queenslanders both within the Gold Coast and across our state:

  • GC2018 creates opportunities to obtain new skills, training and experience
  • GC2018 inspires Australians to become healthier and happier through an active  lifestyle and physical activity

  • GC2018 is leveraged to support the sport and recreation industry to better cater for active communities from grass roots to high performance.