There’s a rich sense of community in southern Tasmania and that in part is thanks to individuals like Bayley Aziz, our Bristol Volunteer of the Month. A positive, selfless young individual, Bayley’s passion and dedication defies his young age (19), helping over 20 people obtain their referee accreditation at Hobart’s Southern Touch. However, this only touches the surface of Bayley’s contribution with countless others having received mentoring from Bayley to help improve their skills and understanding of the sport. Bayley is often found at the fields hours before the first matches, offering a helping hand to make sure the competition runs smoothly, and everybody feels welcome.
As our Bristol Volunteer of the Month, we speak to Bayley about his journey, his favourite moments and what keeps him motivated to keep giving back to the sport and his local community.
Can you tell us how you became involved in Touch Football?
My involvement started when my brother and I went down to watch our sister play in her local competition one night. The atmosphere at the ground and the quality of Touch was great so we started going down more frequently to have a kick of the (Aussie Rules) footy and watch the games.
It was that winter during an Aussie Rules match when I was boundary umpiring and the field umpire asked me what I do in the Summer to keep busy. As I didn’t have a lot on, they suggested I come out to referee the local Touch Football competition to keep my fitness up. My involvement has continued to grow since then to include refereeing, playing and in a committee capacity.
What do you enjoy/love the most about Touch Football?
I have loved the relationships I’ve developed with people over the years. It was something that stood out to me when I first went to watch my sister play – how friendly and supportive everyone there was, so I’m very grateful to now be a part of the community. I’ve now got friends all over the state who I often bump into when I’m out and about which has created an awesome community vibe. If I’ve had a bad day at work, I love coming out to the Touch Football community who are always so positive and relaxed and leave you walking away with a smile!
You wear many hats? What element do you enjoy the most?
I love working with younger people in the community to get them involved in the sport and then help them through their playing journey. I’m heavily involved with the referees at Southern Touch, and I’ve recently taken on the position of course facilitator where I help individuals gain accreditation and then develop them through the levels. It is hugely rewarding to see new referees become involved and develop their skills and love for the sport.
Outside of refereeing, I’ve taken on a leadership role at the club, and I’ve really enjoyed working with people and helping them through their Touch Footy journey... As I touched on earlier, we have an amazing community at Southern Touch and I’m passionate about getting as many people to experience it as I can.
What is your favourite memory or moment in the game?
Being a referee, it would have to be achieving my level 6 accreditation which had been a goal of mine for a long time. I was extremely proud of all my hard work and to get recognised with a level 6 honour was amazing. In 2023 my sister achieved her level 2 referee accreditation at the Tasmanian State Cup which was another highlight. I’m actually competing against my sister for the first time this Thursday so when I put a big step on her to score the game winning try, that will no doubt become a favourite memory (We hope this statement ages well for your sake Bayley!)
What have been the biggest advancements in the sport in your opinion?
The speed of the sport is something that has changed so much and continues to increase! Every year it seems like players and coaches are finding ways to speed up the game to make it more exciting and challenging for everyone! I remember heading up to NSW last year to watch Hornsby v Parramatta and the speed of that game was electric. I think there have been some really effective rule changes within the sport that have played a big part in speeding up the game.
From a refereeing point of view, there have been some big developments in the technology we use. The way referees now communicate via comms has changed the game and allowed for far more effective and accurate communications between the referees which results in a better sport for all.
DON’T FORGET – All Touch Footy participants are entitled to 15-20% OFF Bristol Paint products. Download your exclusive discount card on our website, here.