Who was the last 21 year old with fifty games of AFL experience under his belt? Chris Simms maybe? Not sure really. One thing I do know is that this quietly spoken university student is passionate about a few things and one is certainly his footy.
“I love footy and I love being involved at the elite level, I’ll never take it for granted,” stated Matty with a real resolve in his voice that you don’t hear from this impressive young man very often.
“I played footy until the under 14’s. Mum was the Team Manager and Dad was an assistant coach. Dad then joined me as a (goal) umpire. We umpired in the amateurs together for three years when I began boundary umpiring. My highlight was us umpiring the division one grand final together. He is my best observer and knows my game very well.”
Of course Matt has some of the best boundary umpires in the history of the game to mentor him. I asked what each one was like. “Thomo is the joker, Creasey really got into me in my first year. He is a gun runner and ran me hard to make me improve and Wilson is now spending a lot of time with me and my main training partner, Dillon Tee, making sure I put a lot of kilometres into my legs. Each of them look after me amazingly well.”
In 2012, Matt won the SANFLUA most dedicated umpire award and it is something that he reflects on with fondness. Matt is into the fourth year of a five year double degree in finance and chemical engineering, he is not averse to a challenge. “I want to be involved in footy for a long time but obviously my work may prevent that. I hope to get a job in a state where I can still umpire, I love it so much.”
“My two most favourite games happened early this year, the ANZAC day clash at the MCG and the first game at Adelaide oval were two great experiences. Adelaide oval this year has been great to run on.” Like all young aspiring umpires Matty would love to experience finals, but as he said quite clearly, “my focus is only on the game this weekend.”
Ahh the young fella has learned the terminology already.