Duncan Garner: Why I no longer referee my son's rugby league matches

Duncan Garner: Why I no longer referee my son's rugby league matches.
Photo credit: The AM Show

OPINION: Are you a well-behaved parent on the sideline - think carefully and be honest?

I'm mixed. Most of the time I am good but sometimes I'm a bit over-eager. 

I might yell and shout the odd instruction, but is that even bad?

You'd hope not, but I feel like in these overly scrutinised times it sometimes might be wrong?

My son is part of an under-11 rugby league side. We've learned on a couple of occasions this year there are other sides better than us. It's called losing and our parents and boys have taken it on the chin. It's the only way. 

But winning matters, of course it does, and I'm one that says the score should always be taken because life is competitive.

But kids must have fun and if you're a parent that is over eager then you might put your child off. 

My son has asked me to step back because he says he plays better. 

So, I've started to step back a bit, made a few subtle shifts in my sideline approach. 

I used to referee. It was hard. I was targeted, I would often bite back. It was the worst of all worlds. 

I no longer referee but I would say to those parents who needle the referee: go take a hike and don't come back. 

Refereeing is hard and thankless. People are usually volunteers and they're usually other parents. 

To the refs though, I would say at least learn the rules. And to all the teams, the kids, the coaches and the managers, follow the rules.

If you cheat, you are asking for sideline chaos.

We had an incident recently where my son played an opposing team.

Clearly they were big boys, but one in particular was like a man playing boys. Our coach and sideline were confused but stayed diplomatic. 

Later we found out indeed the boy was 14. Our sideline could have spilled over that day - it didn't. 

But play by the rules if you want a happy sideline, and that goes for everybody.

Duncan Garner hosts The AM Show.

This article was amended on July 23.