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Staying cool for tough final

Alistair Payne, centre, running a game between Greytown and Marist. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV


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There is a massive amount of pressure on the players involved in any Wairarapa-Bush Tui Cup final, but that also goes for the officials chosen to take control of the match.

Experienced referee Alistair Payne has been chosen to be the man in the middle for the top club rugby match of the season, and he will be supported by assistant referees Chris Jefferies and Rebecca Mahoney.

Payne is no stranger to the big occasion, having refereed 111 premier games and three previous Tui Cup finals.

He said it was a “privilege” to be given the job once again.

“It does come with added pressures to make good, decisive decisions, and adjudicate a fair contest from a referee’s perspective.”

As is the case with players, referees set targets and goals to work towards throughout the season.

Payne said it was important to be reflective after each performance and challenge himself in order to be better and grow as an official.

“I think setting targets throughout the season is pretty important.

“There is obvious motivation to be appointed to big games and with them comes enjoyment.”

There has been plenty of talk of the gap between the top four and bottom four teams in the premier division, although Marist did their best to close that gap with a late-season charge.

Payne said that had also made the job interesting for referees.

“The obvious split between the top four and the bottom four has meant at times some pretty intense battles as well as some more one-sided results.

“In saying this, clubs have fought pretty hard and as always the passion is there.”

Referees are usually happiest when they are not being talked about after a match, and Payne is keen for the players to decide the outcome of today’s final.

He understands what is at stake for both teams, and how determined both groups will be to get their name on the Cup.

“Finals are played at a higher level of intensity and at the same time it is important to both understand and manage the added emotion and passion from the players.

“I am really looking forward to the day, the extra pressure and look forward to the players themselves dictating the result.”

Payne is expecting a tough, close final, which is competitive at the breakdown, with both teams looking to entertain through the talent in their backlines.

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