Generations of umpires and their partners attended the AFLUA 2016 Queensland lunch at the Lord Stanley Hotel in Brisbane on Sunday 10 July.
Host Peter Howe welcomed everyone to the function including special guests of the AFL Queensland Umpires’ Association – Janie McCullagh, Darran Ogle, Brett Bradford and Trevor Donoghue.
The highlight of the day was the ‘roving microphone’ which showed that the funny stories, comradeship and enjoyment hasn’t changed for the many generations of umpires in attendance.
Former VFL umpire Clyde Plant, who at 90 years of age, was driven to the function by his wife Lorna who is 90 years herself. Clyde umpired his first VFL match back in 1948 and bought the biggest laugh of the day when he recalled that for his first VFL match, Lorna has starched his white shorts so much for the game that he spoke in a higher voice for weeks afterwards.
Rod Hanckel spoke of the social comradeship and the great times he had with the Queensland group before he moved to Melbourne. He noted Melbourne was different as the umpire groups trained separately and the social connections weren’t as strong.
Ian Wallace referred back to the earlier days of umpiring in Queensland and how it was seen as an outpost for AFL football. He said there have been many changes since and that he is extremely proud of where umpiring is in Queensland today.
Michael Roache spoke about his admiration for the commitment and dedication of the Queensland AFL goal umpires.
Despite umpiring the evening before at the Gold Coast and living on the Sunshine Coast, Aaron Deckys arrived with his wife Sarah and three children in tow to join all the Queensland AFL umpires in attendance. He estimated that during his career, which has spanned 287 AFL games, he must have clocked up over 300,000 kilometres traveling from the Sunshine Coast to Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
Gareth Hughes recalled the week leading up to his 1st AFL game when he had to take a medical exam just prior to the game. “My build up last lasted a few hours, as l finished the exam and then focused on my game as I drove to the ground.”
There was a great vibe in the room amongst all in attendance and the AFLUA looks forward to making next year’s function even better.
Article written by: AFLUA Marketing and Communications Coordinator – Peter Kelly
Pictured: AFLUA CEO Peter Howe, with Queensland based AFL Umpires.