Field umpire Mat Nicholls umpired his 200th AFL match last Sunday in the Richmond v. Carlton final at the MCG. Achieving a milestone game in a final certainly makes it that little more memorable. It was Mat’s seventh final.
Mat was promoted to the AFL list in 2003 after a successful VFL career. As a young man Mat was always meticulous with his preparation, especially his dietary preparation when every mouthful of food that went into his body was weighed and measured. Mat smiles knowingly when he is reminded of those early days. He was not fond of the injury memories though, when at times he must have contemplated giving up. It was never part of his nature and through a determination, focus and an ability to dig deep to get through the hard times, Mat has come out the other side and is one of the “form” umpires of the past few seasons. In 2012 he was the emergency field umpire in the grand final and hopes he can take one more step in 2013.
Mat began his career in the Diamond Valley Football League before being promoted to the VFL.
Pictured: Mat Nicholls
Goal umpire, Adam Wojcik also umpired his 100th AFL game in the Richmond v. Carlton elimination final. Adam commenced his career with the Geelong umpires before being promoted to the VFL. He joined the AFL list in 2008. Adam, a fitness fanatic and one of the leaders of the Victorian based AFL goal umpires has been a strong finals performer for many years now with 9 of his 100 games being finals. Which is a remarkable effort and testimony to his level of professionalism. He was the emergency goal umpire in last years grand final and also hopes to take one more step this year.
Pictured: Adam Wojcik
Sydney based boundary umpire Michael Saunders umpired his 100th game in the Collingwood v Pt Adelaide final at the MCG on Saturday night. This is a great effort given that the first seven years of Michael’s career consisted of only Sydney and Canberra home games until the inclusion of GWS in 2012. Michael was elevated to the AFL panel in 2009. Michael has also been a regular finals performer in the last few years which is again testimony to his diligence and professionalism. Last week was Michael’s seventh final. He has been ably supported by Canberra based Luke Roberts and Chris Simms and more recently mentored Rob Taylor onto the list. Michael began his career in the VAFA in Victoria.
Michael has certainly been a leader in Sydney football and umpiring. When not appointed to the AFL panel he can be seen running Sydney football league or NEAFL games assisting young umpires improve their craft. Michael made it all the way to the preliminary finals last year and is looking to go one step further this season.
Pictured: Michael Saunders
We congratulate and wish each of the guys the best of luck as they moved deeper into the finals race.