Young South Burnett Eagle soars to the top of her game
SHE may have broken her wrist earlier in the day, but that didn't stop this young player from attending a ceremony to collect her trophy.
Brenna Prendergast, 17, was awarded South Burnett Junior Referee of the Year at the A-grade South Burnett Rugby League grand final presentation on Saturday.
Prendergast has been refereeing games of all ages in the competition for the past three years.
The young ref said she took up the role because she couldn't go any further in the sport she loved.
"I've been playing rugby league since I was eight years old,” Prendergast said.
"I had to stop playing when I was 12 because there was no girls league out here.
"I started refereeing as a way to still be part of the game.
"I love it because you're controlling the field and giving the players a chance to play the game properly.
"There's always going to be challenges, but I try to look past that.”
Her home club is the Murgon Mustangs, but she now plays for the Under-17s South Burnett Eagles in the women's league.
Prendergast said she had always been encouraged by the region's footy community to pursue a career in rugby league, despite it being a traditionally male-dominated sport.
"The South Burnett have a few older referees,” she said.
"They watch us referee and and at half-time they will give us feedback, so we can improve and use it in the second half of the game.
"As a referee you can either be assigned to be the touch judge, judge or referee.
"I love meeting new people and helping out the sport.”
Prendergast isn't the only one in her family to take on this type of role - both her mum and dad, Sheree and Scott, and younger siblings Bridie, 15, and Fletch, 14, are also qualified referees and are heavily involved with the Murgon Mustangs.
She said her parents always loved watching them play and there was "never an off season in their house”.
Due to Prendergast's most recent injury she will miss out on playing in the preliminary final game against Gatton in Toowoomba this weekend.
But she said she was determined to follow her dreams of becoming a professional athlete.
"I want to keep playing rugby league career as far as I can,” she said.
"If I can't, I will continuing refereeing.”