Les Radonich

Speaking to those who umpired with him Les Radonich struck them all as a quiet man but there is no doubting that his commitment to umpiring was extensive. For 21 seasons he blew the whistle around Victoria and for fully two-thirds of that time he was a member of the VFL Umpires Association.

Born Albert Leslie Radonich on 6 May 1930 Les grew up in Richmond. He played football with Julius Kayser and  London Stores (Sunday FL) and later Moreland (VAFA). Taking up umpiring in 1954 with the VFL Second Eighteens he was promoted to the VFL Senior list in 1957.

Like his contemporaries Les travelled Victoria and its border regions throughout the football season. In fourteen seasons Les compiled an outstanding total of 253 VCFL matches. 1964 proved the most successful with three finals including the Omeo and District Preliminary Final and Reserves finals at Welshpool and Culcairn.

At the end of the 1971 season Les was 41 and he retired from the VFL following his final match that year, Redan and Daylesford on the City Oval, Ballarat.

The following year he took up a position with the Ovens and Murray Football League as a field umpire. He was certainly familiar with the competition having umpired in it nine times while he was with the VFL. Two years later he was back in Melbourne and umpiring with  Eastern District Football League for a further two seasons before hanging up the whistle at the end of 1975. He took up a position with the Hawthorn Football Club eventually becoming Head Statistician

Les was awarded Life Membership of the VFLUA in 1967. He passed away on 18 July 2012.

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