Bree-Ann Lo Grande

Bree-Ann Lo Grande

Bree-Ann Lo Grande

I have been involved in Touch Football since I was 5 years old. I started as a player but have since further involved myself as a referee, coach and referee coach. I started out representing my local club (Gordonvale Touch Association) at various regional events as a player and later a coach and referee, before setting my sights on the National Touch League as a player, before attending as a referee. Since attending as a referee, I was also selected to referee at last year’s State of Origin Touch Football event. In amongst this, I have also attended the National Youth Championships as Coach of the Under 12 and Under 14 Girls North Queensland Cyclones team.

What event will you be participating in?

I will be participating in the Touch Football Junior State Cup North as a Referee. I’ll also be selecting a player squad for my Under 14 Girls North QLD Cyclones Touch team who will tour to the National Youth Championships later this year.

How important is it for you to have local competition like this event?

It’s very important! It provides people of all ages an opportunity to get involved and develop their skills in their favourite sports, not just as players, but as referees and coaches as well. It’s a great way to bring the community together. And attending regional events like the Junior State Cup North give players, coaches and referees a chance to develop through more competitive competition.

What’s your best piece of advice for athletes in your sport?

Always have fun and make sure to enjoy yourself! From every game you play, referee or coach, make sure to focus on the good things you did. And if you find yourself feeling nervous waiting for the tap off, remind yourself, it’s just footy and you got this!

Who has inspired you the most in your sport?

I’ve had many people inspire me over the years. My parents got me started and have always supported me, and I’ve had so many people shape the player, referee and coach I am today. The person who inspired me the most though was Leitia Linneman. She coached me as a junior in our local Mixed Competition and was a true inspiration with her representative playing and refereeing as well. She attended the National Touch League as a Referee one year with her thumb and wrist in a cast, and refused to let the cast stop her from doing anything, even when her arm swelled due to the heat. She asked her husband on the sideline to split it because there was no way she was giving up on the game, nor would she pull out of the tournament. She received her Level 5 Referee Badge that year. She also battled breast cancer and came back to the sport after treatment, played again at club level and began working towards furthering her referee career. She never let anything stop her.

What part of North Queensland are you from?

I’m from Gordonvale, which is about half an hour south of Cairns.

What’s your favorite thing to do in Townsville?

I love catching up with my NQ Touch Football Family whenever I visit.

How did you start/get into this sport?

I guess I was born into it. My Dad was playing and refereeing at our local club when I was born, and a few years later my Mum started playing as well, before she started selecting. Fast forward a few years and from what I remember, my parents would travel to the National Touch League together where Dad would referee and Mum would select QLD and Australian teams. When I was old enough I started playing and that was it. I’m very thankful for all my parents have done for me in this sport. They’ve always supported me in every pathway I took, whether that be playing, coaching or refereeing. It’s been a journey and I love that they’ve been a part of it and guided me over the years.

How long have you been playing/competing in this sport?

I started playing when I was 5 years old, so about 24 years.

What are your sporting career goals?

As a player, I’d love the chance to represent NQ Cyclones at the NTL again. However for the moment I’m heavily focused on my refereeing. I’ve achieved a lot more as a referee than I ever thought I would, but my last goal I hope to achieve is to referee at a World Cup. That’d just be an amazing experience! I’m also looking to further progress as a Coach and see what I can accomplish in that space.

Are you competing in a few sports at the games?

No, just participating in this Touch Football event.

The NQ games are a great event to meet and socialise with other athletes, have you made new friends through sport?

Absolutely! Through playing, coaching and refereeing Touch Football I’ve found myself with so many friends all around Australia. We may not see each other often or talk every day, but whenever we catch up at events, it’s always like nothing has changed. They’re basically an extended family.

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