Not sure where that pre-season went? Well join the club!
We last saw the field umpires at 6.30am on Tuesday December 23 2014 doing their 3km fitness test. Nothing strange about that you might say, it has been that time in December for many years. It saw the finish to a tough pre-christmas training regime. Except that the guys had to hand in their watches before the trial and just had to run!
Didn’t that set the cat amongst the pigeons. All those carefully written splits and designed pacing tools gone in one foul swoop. However, it didn’t matter and all of those who ran, worked to their benchmark targets and could walk away knowing they had done the work and could tuck into a nice Christmas dinner.
With the full group of goal, boundary and field umpires returning to training last week it didn’t take long to get back into the swing of things. The normal procession of guys into the physio room where Mark Fraser and Andy Stephens were working overtime. Chris Kamolins, Justin Schmitt, Scott Jeffery had sustained some niggling injuries in the rest period while Adam Coote was still recovering from surgery on a troublesome knee.
Goal umpire Jason Venkataya, was certainly inside his 3km benchmark time when he pulled up after the time trial and found he had a stress fracture in his foot.
The influx of South Australian umpires to join Shane Thiele might see a leadership coup take place. Boundary umpires Dillon Tee and Jason Moore have relocated. Eleni Glouftsis has also moved from South Australia. She has joined Lucinda Lopes as the two female academy umpires based in Victoria. Debutant field umpire Curtis Deboy has taken up residence in Melbourne also.
There are 33 field umpires on the 2015 AFL list. Thirty of whom are now based in Melbourne and three in WA. It is part of the umpiring department push to centralise field umpire coaching.
Over the coming weeks we will introduce our readers to all of our newly list umpires in 2015 and find a few familiar faces to chat with as well.
The field umpires will be heading to Wye river for their camp next weekend followed by the boundary and goal umpires camp to be held at our training venue, Visy Park on the weekend of February 21 and 22.
With only four weeks until the first ball is bounced in the NAB Challenge all of the guys are honing their skills. There have been more than 50 club visits locked in already as clubs switch into game practice mode to tune in their skills as well.
It will be easter in no time and round one will be upon us.