They say a good referee is one that you don’t notice.
Four years ago, and especially in Perth the name Jarred Gillett was on the lips of many football fans after he controversially awarded a penalty in the 95th minute of the Grand Final between Perth Glory and Brisbane Roar. Besart Berisha who tumbled over Liam Miller’s leg stepped up and slotted home the penalty and Brisbane were crowned Champions.
Gillett was in charge of the Grand Final again on Sunday and this time around his name has hardly cracked a mention as Melbourne Victory completely overpowered Sydney FC.
As is the norm, many had tried to hype up the rivalry between the two major cities prior to the match and when Melbourne Victory opted to press, hassle and harry Sydney FC, and not allow them any time on the ball, there was a chance borne out of frustration that the game could boil over.
There were strong physical challenges going in; the type of challenges that fans want to see week in week out in the A-League. What was exceptional on this occasion was that Gillett was not whistle or card happy. He shook his head, with a wry smile at many of the pleas from either side. He waved away protesting players and let the contest evolve and allowed the aggressors to seize the advantage.
It was one of the best refereeing displays we have witnessed in the A-league; as much as many one-eyed Perth Glory fans will struggle to acknowledge.
Gillet was lambasted for his decision four years ago, it is only right that he should receive the praise he deserves for the control he had on the Grand Final this year and how much he contributed to the game not descending into a free-kick and booking festival.