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Jack Taylor officiates 500th Premier League match

By Lachlan Ross

In October 2002, a skinny 10-year-old took the court in stripes for the first time. He was stubborn – real stubborn – and already didn’t take any nonsense.

While looking back on those early years with a smile, this official admits sometimes his confidence got the better of him. But it was also one of the tools which has propelled him to officiate over 90 SEABL games and 18 WNBL games to date.

If you’ve been around Canberra basketball over the past 15 years, there’s a pretty good chance you know the name Jack Taylor. He’s around Belconnen Basketball Stadium most nights – either officiating himself or mentoring a promising next generation.

Over the past 15 years, those nights you’ve seen him have added up, and tonight he celebrates refereeing his 500th Basketball ACT Premier League game.

“I’ve always wanted to be a referee,” says Taylor. “My hero in life is my late Pop, who was a rugby league referee.”

Until the 2000 Olympics, Taylor was going to be an NRL referee. But then he saw basketball. He was drawn in by the speed of the game, the spectacle. He started playing, but quickly switched his singlet for stripes to emulate his role model.

Taylor was refereeing under 18’s at the age of 12 at a time where local hoops faced a serious referee shortage. He was breaking up brawls in Senior Premier League at 15 – or trying to, anyway!

“Jack has been a role model to junior officials in the ACT for well over a decade,” says Basketball ACT Referees and Officials Coordinator, Michelle Cosier. “During this time he has also been the Basketball ACT Competition Manager, Referee Coordinator and BNSW Southern Junior League coordinator.”

“Jack works on keeping his rule knowledge at a high level and watching tape of his games to enable ongoing self improvement,” she continues. “He is a very good communicator and this is evident in the strong relationships with players and coaches he has both on and off the court.”

Taylor made his Premier League debut in November, 2007, officiating Division 2 Women’s Wests vs. Dodgers. Since then he’s used the Premier League as a pathway to SEABL and WNBL, with his sights set on the FIBA international stage.

“Refereeing, for me is easy,” he says quite simply. “Criticism doesn’t trouble me. I’m super analytical so I’ve already found the facts before emotion or opinion has set in.”

“However, in this sport you can often feel alone,” he continues. “You can feel like you’re struggling like nobody else. For me having milestones gives you something to strive for. It shows you that you have others who have done what you’re doing – that you’re part of something far greater than yourself and you’re never alone. You’re part of a refereeing family that has amazing history.” 

While mentoring the young members of this family and striving to accomplish officiating at the highest level continue to motivate Taylor, what keeps him coming back is still that same feeling he got watching the Sydney Olympics.

“As a referee, I have the best seat in the house,” he says. “Sure I have a job, but being involved in allowing our great game to captivate anyone who watches or plays, I really enjoy playing my little part.”

“I want to do my Pop proud, that has always been a major motivator,” he adds. “But I was born to be a referee so I didn’t need much drawing, I was naturally drawn.”

Tonight, Taylor’s 500th Premier League game will be Men’s Premier 1 Wests vs. Vikings alongside good mates, Simon Cosier and Mitchell Hudson.

“I was able to choose the crew and they both have done so much for me professionally and personally,” he says. “I look forward to sharing a pretty special moment with them both on Wednesday night.”

If you are interested in refereeing please contact Michelle Cosier at Michelle.Cosier@basketballact.com.au

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