Referees Hub

Becoming a Referee

At Thornleigh Thunder, we know referees are the unsung heroes of the game. They keep things fair, safe, and fun on the field. So, we’re pumped to invite players and families to join our referee crew with the North West Sydney Football Referees Association (NWSFRA). Let’s make a positive impact on the game we all love, together!

Just a year ago, we had only one referee in the club. By the end of last year, we grew to eight. And now? We’re kicking off this season with 14 referees already registered! Interested in joining our ranks and boosting our numbers even more?

Why Become a Referee?

  1. Be Part of the Game: As a referee, you’re not just a spectator; you’re an active participant in every match. Experience football from a unique perspective and deepen your love for the sport.
  2. Earn Extra Income: Refereeing offers a flexible way to earn pocket money while staying closely connected to football. It’s an excellent opportunity for teenagers and adults alike.
  3. Build Valuable Skills: Refereeing fosters crucial life skills such as decision-making, communication, and conflict resolution. These skills extend beyond the football field and can benefit you in various aspects of life.
  4. Support and Camaraderie: Join a supportive community of referees within Thornleigh Thunder. We are here to assist you throughout the season, providing guidance, mentorship, and a network of fellow referees.
  5. Positive Contribution: By becoming a referee, you contribute to the growth of football in our community. Your presence ensures that every game is played fairly and with sportsmanship.

Getting Started

To become a referee for this upcoming season, go to the NWSFRA website ( and look for news about upcoming New Referee Courses. This is where you will find information about any new courses that are coming.

Step 1: Register with NWSFRA

Visit the NWSFRA website ( for more information on course schedules, locations, and enrollment.

All new and returning referees need to register on Play Football website using this link.

Please note: you must be 13 years or older to attend the referee’s course. Due to the new booking system in use this year, this is not negotiable. Other courses may be run during the season, depending on demand.

Step 2: Register as a Referee with Thornleigh Thunder

To ensure we can support you properly we also ask that you register with Thornleigh Thunder as a Referee. This is a similar process to the Player Registration process and is free to do. Click here to get started.

Step 3: Learning the Laws of the Game

Learn the Laws of the Game via the iFab website. They also have a great app you can download to your phone.

Once you’re familiar with the Laws of the Game, you can complete Football Australia’s Online Training Module, which is a requirement for the Level 4 Referee’s course. As you improve and develop, you can move onto Level 3 and higher.

Other Resources

  • Dutch Referee Blog – A weekly quiz on the laws of the game including videos
  • – A webpage to test your knowledge by answering questions about the Laws of the Game. Note it doesn’t look like it’s been updated since 2020, so make sure you’re aware of the current laws.

How much can I earn as a Referee?

Last year the NWSFRA followed the payment guidelines provided by FNSW known as the Community Football Referee Match Payments. A small proportion of this is paid to the NWSFRA to cover administration costs.

What Equipment Do I Need?

The NWSFRA issues the following equipment to all new referees as part of their onboarding process and is purchased directly from the NWSFRA at the successful completion of the course. The equipment list includes:

  • A kit bag
  • Two Assistant Referee flags
  • Black shorts
  • Black socks
  • Three Referee shirts (black, yellow and blue)
  • Referee notebook
  • A yellow card and a red card
  • Whistle

In addition to this, you’ll also need to have:

  • two pens
  • a couple of 20c or 50c coins for the coin toss (including spares as they can go missing)
  • a stop-watch to time the game (you can not use your phone)
  • electrical tape (to fix any issues with the goal nets )
  • a container to keep your equipment dry and in good condition (whistle, cards, notebook, pens, tape and coin)
  • a black rain jacket (for those cold/wet days)
  • a black baseball-style cap (calling offsides when looking into the sun can be difficult)

Returning Referees

All returning referees need to register with NWSFRA through this link.

We ask all our referees to also register with Thornleigh Thunder, for several important reasons. Firstly, registering with the club allows us to provide you with essential support and guidance through group communications. Whether it’s updates on match schedules, important announcements, or simply sharing tips and advice, being part of the club ensures you’re always in the loop and well-supported.

Registering with Thornleigh Thunder also makes you eligible for reimbursement of your equipment costs once you’ve officiated in ten matches. We understand the investment referees make in their gear, and we’re committed to easing that burden wherever possible. Furthermore, being part of the club means you’re part of a community where you can share stories, experiences, and insights with fellow referees. It’s a chance to connect, learn, and grow together as we navigate the rewarding journey of being a referee. Click here to register with Thornleigh Thunder as a referee.

Checking for Uncovered Games

To check for uncovered games go to Appointments -> Uncovered Games -> By Club and then select this weekend’s date. Contact if you want to pick up any of these games.

Guidelines for Referee Guardians

Junior referees have the option to carry a high visibility bib in their kits, which they can issue to a trusted adult (usually a parent) during games. This signifies the adult’s role as a Referee Guardian. The Referee Guardian plays a crucial role in supporting our young referees and ensuring their safety and well-being during matches. Here are some guidelines to help fulfil this role effectively:


  1. Wear the high visibility bib provided by the club to clearly indicate your role as a Referee Guardian.
  2. Stand near the sideline in a visible location where both coaching groups can easily identify you.
  3. Offer support to the referee at half-time and full-time if they encounter any issues or challenges during the match.
  4. If required, use positive language to remind coaches, spectators, or players that the referee is a child who is learning and may make mistakes.
  5. Provide encouragement and reassurance to the referee, emphasising their efforts and commitment to learning.
  6. Act as a calming presence and intervene if the situation escalates, ensuring the referee’s safety and well-being.
  7. Communicate with the referee before and after the match to offer feedback and guidance for improvement.


  1. Do not enter the field of play under any circumstances.
  2. Avoid engaging in confrontational or aggressive behaviour with coaches, spectators, or players.
  3. Request assistance from Coaches and Managers if spectators are displaying abusive or unacceptable behaviour towards the referee.
  4. Refrain from escalating tense situations further by adding fuel to the fire.
  5. Do not take matters into your own hands; instead, seek assistance from match officials or club authorities if necessary.

By adhering to these dos and don’ts, the Referee Guardian can effectively fulfil their role in supporting and protecting young referees, contributing to a positive and safe environment for all involved in the game.

Guidelines for Unofficial Club Referees

Despite our best efforts, not every game will be covered by a referee. In this instance, the club or teams may have to provide a referee to officiate the match. Please read this attachment from NWSF on the role of the Unofficial Referee.

Note: If this link fails to load, go to and click on “Referees” and look for a tile titled “Guidelines for Unofficial Referees” or similar.

More Information?

If you’d like more information on becoming a referee for NWSF, please email our referees’ champion at