#inspire – celebrating female referees in rugby
Maddison Lilly has been refereeing for the last 12 months.
Her dad, Daniel, is her coach and mentor, as well as being her biggest cheerleader. It’s his support that has helped Maddison Lilly on her path into refereeing.
In collaboration with our partners at ACME Whistles, we met up with Maddison Lilly to chat about how she got into rugby, what it is like being a young female referee and what motivates her.
Can you tell us a little about your relationship with rugby?
During lockdown I became unfit and dis-connected from people. Finding rugby helped me make new friends and build my fitness to a whole new level.
I am now fit and healthy and have the most amazing passion for rugby as a player, a coach to under 8’s and a referee. I am also taking my GCSE’s and look to study sport as a career.
What was your first experience as a Match Official like?
When I found out I could take the referee course as a young female I was very excited but a little nervous. Now I am always looking for the next opportunity to referee and would love to referee an international game someday as I speak Italian.
Tell us about your most memorable officiating moment to date.
The first time I ever refereed a training game and my team thanked me afterwards for making good fair calls – that helped me through my nerves.
Who inspired you to take up the whistle?
I saw a female referee on TV and she was confident and strong in her role and I started to look at when I would be old enough and I found the course on the RFU website and I signed up straight away.
What motivates you to referee?
The idea of studying the game and rules motivates me and also seeing the game up close is really exciting.
In a few words, please tell us what it means to you to be a positive role model and INSPIRE other women and girls to get in to refereeing
Being a referee helps you to build confidence and become part of something amazing. Being involved in Rugby as a female in 2022 is an exciting opportunity to bring in more and more girls like me and help them gain the confidence I have today and a real love for rugby. It is exciting times ahead. #INSPIRE
If you’re feeling inspired to take up the whistle, find out more about becoming a Match Official here: keepyourbootson.co.uk/referee-toolkit/supporting-match-officials-female/