Since joining the AFL panel in 2015, James has gone about his umpiring in a quiet and unassuming fashion.

He admits the journey so far has been unreal for him and that, like most umpires, he cannot wait to get out onto the ground for his next match. James’s career highlight to date was round one in 2017 when he officiated the Richmond v Carlton season opener at the MCG in front of 87,000 plus supporters. “It’s the season opener and people are itching for the football to begin, expectations are high and the crowd noise is amazing.  It makes all the off-season training all the worthwhile.”

His career highlight to date was his appointment to the Anzac Day game in 2017 where he got to talk to an ex-soldier and footballer Jack Jones who shared a few stories pre-game, the huge crowd in attendance and how quiet the crowd was during the playing of the Last-Post. 

Since starting his AFL career, James keeps his preparation consistent treating every game the same by not trying to over complicate the pre-game and by staying as calm as he can. His biggest learning experience thus far is to make sure his body is right week in week out during what is a long season. “You have to be able to give 110% each week without breaking down like l have done in the past couple of years.”

James is proud to be part of what he considers, the best game in the world. If on the world stage, James was asked how he would describe a boundary umpire’s throw-in to an international tourist. “Easy,” he said “it is similar to throwing a garter over your head at a wedding.”

Outside of umpiring to relax, James plays his guitar, a hobby he has had since he was 7 years of age.  Interestingly, he can’t read music and can only play by ear.

Congratulations James on your 50th game milestone!  We wish you all the best for the year ahead.

Article written by: AFLUA Marketing and Communications Coordinator – Peter Kelly

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