Most AFL field and boundary umpires use an Acme Thunderer whistle. It was invented by Joseph Hudson, an English toolmaker from Birmingham, England, in 1884. The Thunderer has been heard in 137 countries; at World Cups, Cup Finals, in parks, playing fields and beaches all over the world. Over 160 million Thunderers have been manufactured by Hudson & Co., which is still based in Birmingham.
Thunderers come in either plastic or metal forms and for Australian Football umpires use the model that has a finger grip.
- Model No. F577 is the Plastic Whistle No. 558 with a metal finger grip.
- Model No. F58 1/2 is the nickel plated brass version with a cushioned metal finger
Thunderers are available to purchase from the AFLUA SHOP
On match days, the umpires arrive at the ground between 1 and a half and 2 hours prior to the match. During this time, they inspect the ground, have a rub down (massage), stretch and complete a warm up, and visit both competing team’s rooms to meet the players and inspect any protected equipment to ensure that it is AFL approved.
There really is no age restriction provided the AFL believes you have the skills and physical ability to officiate at the highest level.
I would like to take up umpiring Australian Football. Is there a structured career path? Is any past experience in football necessary?
Anyone wanting to begin umpiring begins in their local league and then progresses from there.
At the local leagues the basic skills are taught and experience is gained. There are formal qualifications that must be obtained (Level 1 or Level 2 umpiring) before you can be recommended by your coach to join the State Development Panel. From the State League the next step is selection to join the Australian Football League panel.
No experience playing football is required, although it does help, especially with reading the play.
A full list of local leagues and contacts in Victoria can be found at the Victorian Football Umpires Association web site under the heading ‘Want to umpire?’.
Their website address is www.vfua.org
There is also some helpful information about the career path.
For other states see below contact details in the footer of this website.
If a player is reported and found guilty of an offence in the Grand Final are they eligible for the Browlow Medal the following season?
Yes, the player is eligible to win the Brownlow medal the following year. To be deemed ineligible, a player must be found guilty and suspended from an incident in a match where Brownlow votes were cast in the year of the award. Suspensions resulting from Pre-Season, Practice, Exhibition, State of Origin or finals matches have no bearing on eligibility.
The AFLUA represents AFL umpires in their dealings with the AFL as well as providing a voice for the umpires to the community generally
The recommended size of goal umpires flags is listed in the Level 1 and 2 Goal umpires manual. 420 mm x 540mm on a stick of approximately 750 mm. If you are looking to purchase a set we can recommend Flagstix at http://www.flagstixaustralia.com