The AFL is now pondering whether to introduce the system in 2017 following the 18 game trial. Reactions have been mixed but one thing to come from the trial is that matches were not “over umpired” which was always one of the concerns when you add another dimension into the mix. Anecdotally, the umpires certainly felt fresher coming out of games and didn’t take as long to recover. The seven umpires who doubled up were all mentally fatigued by the end of their second matches. Now the AFL will crunch its numbers and deliver its verdict.

Boundary umpire, Drew Kowalski walked into the rooms on the Gold Coast on Saturday when Scott Jeffery took one look at him and said, “Are you ok?” Drew had been stricken by a virus that saw the Gold Coast doctor pull him out of the game and as an aside, he is still in Brisbane, unable to fly until he is well enough. Enter Simon Leigh, AFL Boundary umpire’s coach who is also at the game and one emergency phone call later, Michael Marantelli walks into the rooms ready to umpire after running the Gold Coast 10k, finishing 12th overall and 6th in his age group in 30 minutes and 41 seconds. Boundary umpire Nick Wade was heard to exclaim, “he still ran sensationally.”

Goal umpire Rose O’Dea got a little more than she bargained for when she was picked up by Sydney player Dane Rampe who ran towards goal to stop the ball from scoring for the Bulldogs, not realising that play had been stopped by the field umpire moments earlier. Rose who is as nimble in the goals as any of her colleagues couldn’t avoid the contact. Rampe gently put her down none the worse for wear. Please click here to view the footage.

Word out of the boundary umpire camp this week is that Chris Roberts and Graham Bergroth will be available for selection in round 16. We wish both men the best of luck for the remainder of the season.

Our two Fiona McBurney match day participants this week brought a smile to all those involved. Alex Tilli (WA) didn’t feel the cold weather when he arrived in the centre of Domain Stadium ready for the toss wearing only his trainer polo. All of our umpires were oiled up and the goal umpires wore their coats it was so cold. Alex’s mother, Lucy suggest he may have put his top on when he got into the dugout at the start of the game. While over in Sydney, 39 year old participant Nick Hogan was seen with the field umpires warming up 40 minutes prior to the start of the game, including his stretching.

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