It is not very often that a twenty year old is appointed to umpire an AFL game but Josh Garrett did just that, following in his dad’s footsteps, to officiate the West Coast vs Brisbane game on 27 March.

A natural runner, Josh has always been involved with sport and played rugby before taking up cross country at school. Like many other successful umpires, he started running the boundary to pick up extra pocket money before he joined the WAFL in 2012.  He made his debut in league football in 2013 and umpired 56 league games, including two WAFL Grand Finals and two State games. 

Josh’s dad Trevor umpired 277 WAFL games and 50 AFL games as a field umpire and now coaches at WAFL “Dad has definitely been the most influential person in my career. He’s accessible and the best coaching tool that anyone could have.” On his success to date, Josh believes he is competitive by nature and wants to not only be the best he can be, but the best overall.  “It’s important that you want to continue improving, so you don’t become stagnant and have others pass you by.” 

Whilst his elevation to the AFL hasn’t bought too many noticeable changes, given WAFL and AFL umpires train together, Josh believes there is an added pressure due to the high level of expectations expected of an AFL umpire.

Josh has been inspired by the professionalism of his umpiring colleague Nathan Doig. “Nathan came from an athletics background, was with the WAFL for 3-4 seasons before being promoted to the AFL. He inspired me and here l am, at the AFL.”

He notes the main difference for him on field has been the intensity of players, especially those trying to keep the ball in play, given the recent attention to the deliberate out of bounds rule. “The speed with which some players move the ball keeps you on your toes.”

An apprentice plumber by trade, Josh enjoys playing golf and doing triathlons when he gets any spare time. 

Written by: Marketing and Communications Coordinator – Peter Kelly