When Malcolm Olsen volunteered for the role of team referee for his Manly Vale O35/4’s team he never dreamt that he would be receive the Sean Morgan-Smith Memorial Award presented to the Senior Referee of the Year.
Olsen took up refereeing when his team needed another team referee, and this was where his love of refereeing began.
“As soon as I started refereeing, I really enjoyed it” Olsen said.
After three years as a team referee Olsen knew it was time to take his refereeing to the next level.
“I listened to Terry Gatward’s wise words when he told me, I think you are a very ordinary player, but I see something in you are a referee.”
After the light-hearted comment from his friend, Olsen started to think about his next refereeing move.
“I was enjoying referring more and more and I had done everything I could as a player.
“To go to the next level as a ref you can’t be a team ref you need to be available for the 1pm and 3pm games so I decided to stop playing.”
This year will mark the fifth year as a full-time referee for Olsen and he continues to enjoy every minute of it.
“I really enjoy it and when you really enjoy something and it’s your passion it’s easier to keep on doing it and it’s rewarding.”
It’s not just the love of refereeing that keeps Olsen motivated though.
“It’s the love of football, getting to know everybody on the Northern Beaches, recognising players growth, building relationships and doing the game to the best of my ability.”
Olsen’s love, passion and dedication is what saw him be named the Senior Referee of the Year.
“I’m very honoured looking back on past people who have won it there are some very good referees, so feel very honoured to receive the award.” Olsen said.
As the senior referee of the year Olsen wants to be an example and encourage more players take the leap into refereeing.
“Once you get through the first few hurdles it becomes more and more enjoyable.
“Just try and learn something every game. What was said to me was: take one thing away and think, what could you have done a little different to improve.” Olsen said.
Olsen now looks towards his fifth season as a full-time referee where he will continue to grow as a referee and love being back in the middle of the pitch.