Standing in the middle of oval number 2 at the now disused AAMI stadium in Adelaide one thing becomes very apparent, the AFL listed umpires in this state lead by example.
Axon, Norton and Wilson ran the goal umpire drills with precision and were quick to demand excellence among their SANFL colleagues. Creasey, Konetschka, Bull and Wilson lead the field and boundary umpires in repetition 30 metre sprints, all the time getting around their less experienced colleagues.
Newly appointed SA AFL boundary umpire coach Hayden Cook is very supportive of his group that contains three grand final umpires, who are legends of the AFL panel. He knows he will need to manage their workloads and expectations but guarantees he is up for the job. Matt Konetschka has just 53 games under his belt and three of those are finals he earned in 2014. He too is looking to go deep into September again this year.
That puts the pressure on Chris Bull, who simply smiles at the thought of the pressure from the rest of the group and then heads to practice his throw-ins.
Pictured: Boundary umpire Chris Bull practicing his throw-ins after training.
Newly appointed SA goal umpires coach, ex AFL umpire Darren Trengrove has slotted neatly into the role giving his umpires renewed confidence on the eve of the season. Darren is up for the conversations necessary to provide understanding and displays an empathetic ear when required.
Pictured: Matthew Norton concentrating during a skill drill