Keeper plays both sides of the game

GRAFTON hockey goalkeeper Dean Broomhall is leading a double life on the field.

If the City Bears A grade custodian is not stopping penalty shots, he is the man in the middle awarding them.

With whistle in hand, Broomhall will accompany the Australian over-60s squad on its tour of New Zealand.

The tour will be the first time Broomhall officiates in an international arena and represents the latest step in the 21-year-old's quest to hold sway in an Olympic match.

“I always watch the Olympics on television and I love it,” Broomhall said.

“I've got my State B (licence), going for my State A next year, then it's my national and then international.”

Born into a hockey family, Broomhall joined his father, mother and sister on the field at the age of six, but slowly, the referee in him has started to take control.

However, it was a chance call which led him down the road of a whistle-blower.

“I got a phone call before a camp and they said 'do you want to come down?',” he said.

“So I went down to it and I was named the most improved referee at the camp. And I took a shot at it for a couple of years.”

Those couple of years have led Broomhall on a merry dance across the state, refereeing from one tournament to another, visiting every other town in between.

With the power of authority in his hands, Broomhall's decisions have not always been received with the greatest affection from either players or fans.

“It's pretty good with the players, but sometimes they get frustrated,” he said.

“I've got a bit from the sidelines, but I just tune out and don't take any notice.”

Broomhall said his career as a goalkeeper has helped him deflect the criticism aimed at his refereeing, standing tall when ball, or curses, are blasted his way.

One such defining moment was in last year's victorious grand final when the City Bear's 'keeper found himself staring down the barrel of a Southside penalty stroke.

“We were up 2-0 up and there was a stroke given against me,” he said. “(But) I saved it and it was the icing on the cake.”

However, grand final victories will be the furthest thing from his mind on the tour of New Zealand, with Broomhall hoping to catch the eye of national refereeing selectors.

“There will be about a game every two days and you have to be on your toes all the time,” he said.

“You never know who is watching.”



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