Referee Kate Jacewicz broke down barriers when she blew her whistle to kick-off Melbourne City’s match against Newcastle Jets at AAMI Park.
Saturday, 18 January 2020 will be etched in history as a watershed moment – the first time a Hyundai A-League match was officiated by a women.
Goals from Craig Noone and a Jamie Maclaren penalty, confirmed after Jacewicz conducted an on-field video review, sealed a 2-0 win for the home side.
The 34-year-old from Manly, NSW, received rave reviews from Mark Bosnich and Robbie Slater on the FOX Sports panel post match, but Jacewicz’s message was a simple one.
“The occasion was actually quite special for me, and I think for football in general,” Jacewicz said.
“Just to show anybody who steps out onto the pitch can make a decision. It doesn’t matter about gender.”
Jacewicz was under the spotlight when she called for a VAR review after City’s Harrison Delbridge headed the ball against the outstretched hand of Jets defender Nikolai Topor-Stanley.
After initially waving play on, she reviewed the footage at the side of the AAMI Park pitch and overturned her decision to award a spot-kick.
“I had a doubt whether it had hit [Nikolai] Topor-Stanley’s head or his arm. I saw the arm above his shoulder, almost head height, and just wasn’t sure the point of contact.
“I communicated that to the VAR and Chris came through very quickly to tell me that he would recommend an on-field review.
“I know what I was going to see, that was the ball hitting the hand above the shoulder.”
Although the rest of the match passed with major incident, Jacewicz admits she was involved in an off-the-ball tangle with City midfielder Josh Brillante.
“The players were 100% professional and just wanted to get on with the game,” she said.
“There were a few little mishaps in the game which kept me on my toes, which I really appreciate. It holds me accountable.
“A few interactions I did have with them, I apologised because I got in the way of Josh [Brillante] just briefly. And he accepted it and we moved on.
“To me that’s perfect. Players just accept that we’re humans, we make mistakes, I apologise and we move on.”