USC graduate joins the big league full time | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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USC graduate joins the big league full time

With the first round of the National Rugby League season kicking off this week, a USC Sport and Exercise Science graduate will be right in the thick of it as a match official.

Peter Gough, 27, whose childhood dream was to referee rugby league at the highest level, recently secured a prized full-time contract with the NRL.

He hopes to make his NRL first grade refereeing debut this year, but in the meantime is more than happy to work as a touch judge in first grade and referee in both the Holden Cup (NRL under 20s) and Queensland Cup competitions.

This Sunday he will referee the Holden Cup match between the Canberra Raiders and Cronulla Sharks.

During the final year of his Sport and Exercise Science degree at USC, Peter was awarded a prestigious National Officiating Scholarship by the Australian Sports Commission and studied at the Australian Institute of Sport.

The training, experience and recognition he received there led to a part-time contract with the NRL Referees in 2010. He has travelled to Sydney from his home in Sippy Downs for regular training over the past five years. He has also been a regular referee for the Queensland Cup competition during that time.

“I moved to Sydney last November with my partner Chloe to take up the full-time position with the NRL Referees,” said Peter.

“Training has been especially tough leading into the start of the season – four or five full days of training each week, with each day consisting of multiple sessions.

“Our elite performance coach manages our training volume week to week. This is done with GPS trackers that we wear during all matches and physical training sessions. The trackers are used to analyse the distances and speeds we travel, along with assessing our heart rates and a range of other performance aspects.”

The eldest of four brothers, Peter comes from a rugby league loving family in Sippy Downs. Peter played for the Caloundra Sharks as a teenager and for the Sunshine Coast in the Under 19s Queensland Colts competition for their inaugural season.

“Mum, dad, my three brothers and I have always followed rugby league closely. My brothers and I all played rugby league as youngsters and the sport has remained an important part of our family,” he said.

“I remember growing up, that there was nothing better than spending the weekend, sitting in the grandstand together watching footy.

“My three brothers have all followed me into studying at USC. I think they all saw me get so much out of it they thought it was a good idea. Matthew, 24, studied Sport and Exercise Science like me, Benjamin, 20, is graduating with a Business degree soon and Jason, 17, has just finished school and is starting his Business degree this week.”

— Jane Cameron

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