Top WA referee Shane Skinner has been rewarded for his performances by being appointed to officiate Friday afternoon’s Foxtel Y-League Grand Final.
The 22-year-old from Bull Creek will be in charge of the title decider between Brisbane Roar and Western Sydney at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium (kick-off 1.30pm WST).
“It’s the pinnacle of the season for the league and so it’s really, really satisfying,” said Skinner, adding that it was reward for the “hard yards” he and his colleagues put in during the campaign.
Skinner, named 2018 Football West State League Referee of the Year and Assistant Referee of the Year, praised the pathway program in WA which has helped him progress.
“I have had a decent run and this shows I haven’t been wasting my time,” he said.
“I’m grateful to the guys at Football West who put the work in and who do the physical sessions, the education and the other development. It puts you in good stead to develop nationally.”
The Y-League competition is for players aged between 16 and 21, some of whom go on to become A-League stars and even Socceroos. Previously known as the National Youth League, it is split into two conferences of five teams apiece with the winners of each conference meeting in the grand final.
“It should be a belter,” Skinner said. “The way the two conferences are divided, I have done Brisbane but not Western Sydney. But I’ve had a chance to watch them.”
And just like the players, Skinner has his ambitions.
“The A-League is my immediate goal, that’s the pinnacle of Australian football,” he said. “I’d love to get on the FIFA panel further down the track, too. For now, though, it’s one step at a time.”
Skinner began refereeing as a Level 4 in 2010.
He joined the Football West Referee Academy in 2014 and two years later the FFA National Talent Pool, officiating in both the Foxtel Y-League and Westfield W-League.
Last year he became a Level 1, the highest level of FFA referee accreditation.
“I originally began refereeing while I was playing, just for a bit of extra money. It’s fantastic and really good fun,” he added.
“I enjoy the high-pressure nature of it, exerting yourself to keep up with play. It’s a challenge, there’s always something that will throw you a curve ball and you have to be prepared when it comes.”