W-League Premiers Brisbane Roar fell 2-0 at home to a clinical Melbourne City in the competition’s semi-final, but Queenslanders will still play a key role in the Grand Final on Sunday February 18.
Brisbane’s Rebecca Durcau has been appointed as match referee, ably assisted by fellow Queenslander Rachel Mitchenson as additional assistant referee.
The appointment of Durcau and Mitchenson to the W-League Grand Final is further proof Queensland is the proud home of Australia’s top referees of the beautiful game.
Last month, FIFA recognised 22 Australian Match Officials for the 2018 Panel of International Referees, 10 of them hailing from the Sunshine State.
Football Queensland spoke with Rebecca Durcau to discuss what it takes to reach the top of her field.
Duty, on and off the field
By Maise Cunningham
The role of a referee is not confined to the football pitch, nor does it end at the blow of the full-time whistle. Like any athlete, referees dedicate hours upon hours in preparation for a single match. No one knows this better than elite referee Rebecca Durcau, who is considered one of Australia’s best in the field.
The Brisbane local’s week includes four to five training sessions which cover cardio, injury prevention and practical simulations. She also receives “invaluable” coaching from Football Brisbane and Football Queensland to assist with the tactical aspect of the game.
Durcau’s commitment is all in the name of performing her duties to the best of her abilities.
“Just like players, we go out there with the aim to do the best performance we can,” says Durcau. “What people don’t see is the hard work that happens after, the sitting down with our support structures and reviewing how and why the mistake happened to try and prevent it from happening next time.”
Durcau jokes that her passion for the sport can be traced back to her father’s European heritage. After finding herself without a team to play for in high school, Durcau transitioned to refereeing. Her progression through the refereeing ranks has been long and often demanding. In 2005, she joined Football Brisbane as a junior referee and gradually developed to the senior levels, where she refereed Capital 1 and Premier League.
Just over a decade later and Durcau has been named a FIFA accredited referee, is a member of the AFC Elite Panel and has been actively involved in the Westfield W-League since its inception. She has also participated in a variety of development programs, which have afforded her numerous international opportunities; from officiating the Dallas Cup to refereeing the Japanese Women’s National League as part of an exchange program. During this time, she has maintained a career with the Queensland Police Service.
Durcau’s success both on and off the field speaks to her knowledge of the game, impressive fitness level and effective analytic abilities. Yet, her journey is far from finished.
“I would like to think that I have not yet achieved my greatest achievement for my refereeing career. I have just started my international refereeing journey and am excited to see what this will mean for my career,” says Durcau.
As for Queensland’s upcoming NPL Senior Women’s season, Durcau says she is keen to partake and to see what the future holds for Australia’s female footballers.
“I will be excited to be a part of the new season,” says Durcau. “It’s exciting that the women have been included at the NPL level and would be exciting if it progressed into an FFA Cup style format similar to the men.”