Renae O’Dea has qualified as a national C-badged umpire in netball.
Renae O’Dea has qualified as a national C-badged umpire in netball. Gerard Walsh

Whistle blower has lofty ambitions

AFTER a back injury ended her junior netball career, Renae O’Dea took up umpiring and hasn’t looked back.

She was invited to umpire at the 2011 Queensland School Sport Netball State Championships for 15-years and 19-years age groups, which resulted in her being approached to go for her national C badge.

O’Dea was the youngest applicant for national C testing, which took place at the State Netball Centre in Brisbane.

When she received her C badge, O’Dea was told she was an approachable umpire who didn’t scare the players and seemed to enjoy her involvement in the sport.

As a player equally adept at goal shooter, goal attack or wing defence, O’Dea played for Warwick in two age championships in Ipswich and one in Maroochydore before a herniated disc in her back ended a promising junior career.

On medical advice, she didn’t play for two years and took up umpiring.

“I enjoy umpiring more,” she said.

As an umpire, she now officiates in Warwick senior and junior fixtures but has officiated at fewer games this year due to her Year 12 study workload at Assumption College.

O’Dea now aims for her B badge which will enable her to umpire Queensland Firebirds pre-season games and in the State League in Queensland.

Long term, her aim is the ANZ Championships and international games, which requires an A-level badge. “It will take five years to get an A badge,” she said.