Referees from the Ipswich Rugby League Referees Association have kicked off the 2023 rugby season with their new uniform kits as part of a three-year sponsorship arrangement with Queensland Country Bank.

The total $6000 sponsorship has already assisted the association with the creation of their new uniform kit and will continue to help cover the costs associated with registering new and returning referees over the 2023, 2024 and 2025 seasons.

The Ipswich Rugby League Referees Association currently manages the referees that oversee the 13 junior and eight senior rugby league clubs in the region.

The association is also responsible for officiating representative and school competitions across the Southeast Queensland Division, which often sees around 100 local rugby league matches take place every weekend between the months of April and September.

Ipswich Rugby League Referees Association President Graham Nipperess said the sponsorship enables them to continue providing quality refereeing and hopes the reduced costs will now entice new referees to sign up.

“In order to encourage existing referees to re-register and new referees to sign up, the sponsorship funds are being used to reduce upfront cost of fees as well as provide new uniform kits,” said Mr Nipperess.

“It has been over seven years since the association has had a new style uniform kit and already in the matches that have taken place, the new design has been received positively.

“With their new matching uniforms, the referees will now train, arrive and leave venues looking and feeling like a team.”

Mr Nipperess said that the sponsorship felt like a natural fit for the Ipswich Rugby League Referees Association who have been banking with Queensland Country Bank for many years.

“The service and support haven’t changed, and the association looks forward to continuing the relationship for years to come,” he said.

Queensland Country Bank Ipswich Area Manager Michael Doherty said they are thrilled to be sponsoring the association which will help guarantee competitions can continue to run with quality standard refereeing.

“As a member-owned bank, we take great pride in being able to provide support for new and existing referees, and ensuring there is a pathway for people who want to be involved in rugby league but don’t necessarily want to play it,” said Mr Doherty.

“With Ipswich being such a heartland for rugby league, the association plays an important role in providing referees to games on a weekly basis to ensure the competition remains viable.

“We’re thrilled to be able to partner with the Ipswich Rugby League Referees Association and it is a great example of how we’re able to invest our profits back into the communities that support us.”