Gareth is proof that when you put you mind to something, you can make it happen. A State League hockey player, he finally took up his Dad’s repeated invitations to try boundary umpiring in 2012 and was promoted to the AFL list just four years later.
In his brief career to date, he has umpired NEAFL Grand Finals in 2013, 2014 and 2015 and participated in the Under 18 Championships in 2014 and 2015.
Gareth is currently a full time student studying medicine at the University of Queensland scheduled to graduate in 2018. He feels his focus in problem solving by nature leads itself to his interests in medicine and science but also helps with understanding the intricacies of umpiring. He notes he is quite competitive by nature which has helped improve his umpiring in such a short time.
He believes he has been fortunate in building strong bonds with some of the more experienced umpires early on in his career but he credits Nick Wade as being probably the most influential person on his career to date. Whilst there wasn’t a formal mentoring role, Nick made Gareth feel very welcome to umpiring and was a good role model for someone learning the trade, given Nick’s experience as an AFL Boundary umpire.
He notes that the level of professionalism has increased mainly in his preparation and recovery for training and games. He also believes he has taken on more of a leadership role amongst the other umpires. He feels that’s an added responsibility in non-Victorian venues, given that state league umpires train with the AFL counterparts.
Gareth believes up and coming umpires can achieve their dream to umpire AFL footy. His advice is don’t be afraid to ask questions and try and learn as much as possible from coaches and fellow umpires. He added, “The relationships l developed with experienced umpires early in my career was integral to my development.”