Jack Geggie

Jack Geggie was a successful VFL boundary umpire in an era when conditions ranged from mid-winter morasses to finals matches where spectators ringed the ground – -inside the fence. He carved a 234 match career of the highest quality.

Born on 13 February 1931, John William ‘Jack’ Geggie grew up in Murrumbeena. A keen footballer, he played for Murrumbeena under-eighteens and then Melbourne Football Club thirds before returning to district senior football at Carnegie in the Caulfield-Oakleigh Football League.He also enjoyed athletics and won a number of mile-races. This involvement with running led to him begin boundary umpiring with the VFL Reserve Grade in 1952.

Having been promoted from the Reserve Grade list after umpiring the 1953 Reserves Grand Final, Jack began his senior career at the Western Oval in round one 1954 when Footscray suffered defeat at the hands of St.Kilda. The appointment earned him Heritage Number 301.

John was so impressive in that first season that he was appointed to his first finals series in his first year. His introduction to the finals was torrid. Punches were thrown just after the opening bounce and both sides engaged in fighting throughout the day. In the final quarter Geggie reported Laurie Icke for striking Ron Barassi resulting in a four week suspension for the ruthless Kangaroo half-back.

John was so impressive in that first season that he was appointed to his first finals series in his first year. His introduction to the finals was torrid. Punches were thrown just after the opening bounce and both sides engaged in fighting throughout the day. In the final quarter Geggie reported Laurie Icke for striking Ron Barassi resulting in a four week suspension for the ruthless Kangaroo half-back.

The following year Geggie went straight to the Grand Final after having umpired the almost regulation 13 out of 18 home and away rounds.

The 1955 Grand Final was played in wet conditions and, as a result, was low scoring. The sensation of the final series occurred close to Geggie when Des Healy and Frank ‘Bluey’ Adams collided, resulting in both being stretchered from the field unconscious, and leaving field umpire Harry Beitzel, Geggie and his partner Bill Treloar to sort out the ugly melee that resulted.
Jack’s success continued as the years rolled on. He participated in every finals series from 1954 to 1964 and, in that time, added three more Grand Finals to his tally: 1957 Melbourne v. Essendon, 1960 Melbourne v Collingwood and 1962 Essendon v. Carlton.Perhaps 1960 provided the least effort returning the ball to the middle with only eight goals scored for the match (Collingwood managed two in total). But, it was tough slogging through the mire that was the MCG after two days of torrential rain.

Geggie retired at the close of the home and away matches of the 1968 season with 234 VFL matches to his credit. This included 16 night series matches, two of which were Night Grand Finals. He also umpired four interstate matches including being appointed to the 1958 Centenary of Football Carnival. Life Membership of the VFL Umpires Association was awarded in 1964.

Jack Geggie passed away on 11 April in Southport, Queensland after a short illness, aged 76.

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