There is a famous statement that – records are made to be broken – and this week, the AFL Sydney Umpires Group has a MILESTONE record that will be made by field umpire Frank Kalayzich – 500 Senior Premier Division Games in the AFL Sydney Competition – a record that will not be surpassed.
Frank began his umpiring journey in 1978 in the North Shore Junior Football competition and he has umpired every year since (excluding 2001) but it was in 1983 that he umpired his first senior game with his first Sydney First Grade Game in 1986. It is fitting that he is running his 500th Game with Hayden Kennedy and Ray Chamberlain – two AFL legends who would not pass up this magnificent milestone for anything.
Frank’s career has included umpiring AFL under 19 games and VFL/AFL Reserves Games and he has umpired with some of our games most successful including John Russo and Hayden Kennedy as well as many others who have been and are currently on the AFL Umpires List including Troy (Beater) Pannell and Ray (Razor) Chamberlain.
The success that Frank has enjoyed has been hard fought and like most umpires Frank has enjoyed the support of a number people both from his family and the umpiring community.
Frank acknowledges a couple of key umpiring coaches for his longevity including David Levens whose “insightful advice” Frank says “laid the foundations of the umpire he is today”. Frank also acknowledges the great work that Max Henry, Keith Ogston, David Howlett and Steve Keating have done in their roles as the State Umpiring Managers in Sydney.
Frank also acknowledges Mark Rendell as a significant source of encouragement, support and advice in addition to a number of coaches that he has had. Marks help in transitioning from Junior to Senior football was invaluable and has helped Frank to achieve this major milestone today.
As well as being a stalwart of the umpiring community, Frank also works with others in the umpiring community and his advice to younger umpires is to enjoy the experience. Although having umpired for 30 years he has enjoyed his time. His advice to young umpires is whatever happens will be through hard work, dedication and listening to the good coaches.
There have been a number of highlights in Frank’s career. Frank says that all of his 10 Senior Grand Finals matching his good mate Anton Lewis with 10 Sydney Senior Grand Finals. Frank says the First Grand Final he did in 1987 between Campbelltown and St George with 29 reports from the game in his second year as a senior umpire, which has been his most challenging Grand Final to date. Frank advised that he had 6 reports in the first quarter. In the 1990 Grand Final between Parramatta and North Shore Frank advised that there were 26 reports and this may have led to the following year the send off rule being introduced. These were both in the two-umpire system. Frank remembers the 91, 92, 93, 97 and 99 Grand Finals and obviously fond of the 1990s for his umpiring career.
Frank says the best umpire to umpire in the Sydney AFL was Troy Pannell, based on his work ethic, commitment and perseverance. Franks favourite umpire of all time is Hayden Kennedy for his running work rate throughout his entire career.
Frank accredits getting to his 500th game to his Chiropractor, Damien Benson, who has kept that evergreen body of his intact to umpire each weekend. Frank has never missed a home and away game through injury!
Frank is held in high regard amongst the umpiring and football fraternity. Some of Franks former associates offered these words to Frank in this record breaking milestone game.
Please click here to view the video of Frank and Ray Chamberlain on AFL 360 on 24 June 2015.