Since joining the VFL list, Dylan Benwell has been amongst the high performers at VFL senior level, having umpired 104 VFL, 10 AFV Development and 16 TAC Cup games during his career at the VFL, since arriving from the Southern Umpires’ Association in 2011. He also umpired the 2012 VFL Reserves Grand Final, the 2015 TAC Cup Grand Final and the 2013 and 2016 VFL Grand Finals.

Dylan acknowledges that the environment at VFL football amongst the goal umpires’ squad is excellent with the support provided from coaching and observing personnel together with the great group of umpires who are a close knit group and despite being hungry for success, work together as a team and support each others. “Steve Piperno, being amongst the leaders in the group, was someone l looked up to. His work ethic to achieve both on field and track was second to none.”

He cites Adam Wojcik as someone he looks up to, “Adam is an umpire who’s achieved the highest success on multiple occasions, but also someone who l’ve been lucky to have as an observer and mentor at stages throughout my VFL career.” 

Adam found Dylan to be very passionate about his umpiring, “He showed a real keenness to learn and want to better himself. He has the right attitude and having coached and observed him at the VFL and Under 18 championship level, l was impressed with his ability and desire to want to succeed.”

Dylan has many people to thank including family, friends, umpires and coaches who have all played a big part in his journey to the AFL. He is especially appreciative of his VFL coaches when he first made the list – Leigh Keen, David Flegg and Steven Stirling – for the impact they had on his umpiring career both with training and umpiring.

Despite missing out on AFL selection in 2013 after umpiring the VFL Grand Final, Dylan did not let that affect his attitude, both on the track and on match day. “You get out of umpiring what you put into it, so don’t leave any stone unturned in preparing on field and fitness.” His most important message to upcoming umpires is “enjoy what you do.  The enjoyment and exhilaration of match day and the camaraderie and friends are the best thing about what we do.”

Like a lot of umpires at VFL level, Dylan is fairly competitive and a bit of a perfectionist. Often his own harshest critic, Dylan has always been driven to achieve the ultimate success at every level he’s umpired at. As one of the two VFL Grand Final umpires, and goal umpire appointments to the AFL, Dylan has certainly achieved success at VFL level. He is now determined to make that transition to AFL level, knowing full well the challenges that lay ahead.

A primary school teacher during the week, Dylan also enjoys lawn bowls, golf, travel and watching any sport on TV.  Welcome Dylan to the AFL list for 2017! Enjoy the experience!

Article written by: AFLUA Marketing and Communications Coordinator – Peter Kelly

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