Melbourne’s Tony Newsome (71), has been a volunteer basketball referee for 40 years.

It’s often a thankless task being a referee or an umpire.

Depending on which way their calls go, you either love them or hate them, but one thing they have in common with the athletes is that they need to be pretty darn fit and have their heads in the right space.

Melbourne’s Tony Newsome (71), has been a volunteer basketball referee for 40 years and is officiating at his fourth Pan Pacific Masters Games.

“I love the fitness and I really enjoy refereeing masters basketball because I’m able to help people in their older years play basketball competitively,” Tony told ABC Gold Coast radio.

“What I really like is coming back and having the players recognise me and going out of their way to say hello and give me a bit of a hug.”

Tony said he adjusts his refereeing each game to suit the standard of the players.

“The younger ones will have plenty of contact and their play will be fast. 

“With the older ones, you must bear in mind they are a little less fit and a little more fragile, so you make sure you control any physical activity and make sure they don’t hurt each other.

“There are quite a few Americans playing here and ex-NBL and former Queensland Basketball League players and you can see the skill through the way they move.

“But they’re just that fraction slower and their recovery is not as quick as it used to be,” he said.

Tony is a referee whisperer of sorts as he makes sure cool heads prevail in the feistier contests.

“They get in their minds what they want to do but their bodies sometimes don’t respond.

“They can get quite frustrated and a bit aggressive to each other if you don’t manage them properly and cool them down.

“I do a lot of talking on the court and I have a chat to them and pat them on the bum and ask them to get on with it and I tell them to just be good boys.

“And they usually respond to that and thank me,” he said.

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