“I never expected to make the AFL panel on my first attempt after umpiring the 2011 VFL grand final. I had only umpired 38 senior VFL games and it was my first final series, but you would never turn down the opportunity,” reflected Brendan today when he thought about his introduction to AFL football.
Brendan talked up his peers and looked up to them, “Matt Brown and Richard Mills were very good VFL umpires and I needed another VFL season under my belt.” Brendan was probably in the right place at the right time. AFL umpiring greats, Hayden Kennedy, Shaun Ryan, Michael Vozzo retired. There were five spots up for grabs. “The AFL could probably afford to take a punt on a youngster.”
Rowan Sawers, the umpires coach, clearly told Hosko that he would be a development umpire. “Rowan planned that I would be in for two and out for three. It was a little frustrating because once you get a taste for AFL you want to umpire it all the time. On reflection it was a perfect introduction to the game at the elite level and I am better off for it.”
With the introduction of umpiring teams in 2014 young umpires were thrown into Friday night and other blockbuster games. “It was fantastic to know that the coaches had the trust and faith in us as younger umpires that we could do the job. We grew in confidence and understood really quickly the pressures of AFL footy. Those experiences alone counted for many more games of experience.”
Fast forward to the end of 2014, “I put to much pressure on myself to perform. I umpired more than 20 games and wanted more.” So what about this year, Brendan? ” I’m learning to enjoy my footy more, I certainly umpire better when I do that. I work with my teammates, have more banter on the track. My pre game routine has become more flexible, I go with the flow and I am getting good results.”
“I work a lot with Nick Foot and we are certainly making each other accountable with our performance reviews. We are extremely honest with each other and he is a very good sounding board.”
Many experienced football players and umpires agree, footy is all played above the shoulders Hosko. Congrats on your 50 games.