To be named on the AFL “rookie list” clearly indicates to all that you are taking the next step towards becoming a AFL-listed field umpire. You have spent the summer trialing to get a contracted place on the list, attending coaching sessions, teleconferences if you are interstate, following a rigorous training program, but like everything else in footy you are only as good as your last performance which for many of our rookies has been their state league grand finals.
Brent Wallace, who embarked on the “player to umpire pathway” three years ago has surpassed all expectations and achieved a spot in the VFL grand final yesterday. He has been a rookie listed umpire this season.
In Tasmania Ben Lehner umpired his fifth Tasmanian state football league grand final in succession. He was joined by first year rookie Joel Harris and 2014 trialing umpire, Matt Clarke. This trio also umpired the 2013 TSFL Grand Final.
In South Australia, second year rookie, Curtis Deboy umpired his second SANFL grand final.
In Western Australia, two first year rookies, Matt Adams and Stuart Parry umpired the WAFL grand final with ex-rookie Scott McPhee joining the team.
The NEAFL grand final played last week included first year rookie Liam Rowe for his second grand final. Previously listed rookies, Nathan Elsworthy and Brent Kronk partnered Liam and Queensland based field umpire James Waldorff in the GF. Nick Liparota who was an AFL listed boundary umpire in 2013 also umpired the NEAFL GF.
Four listed rookies did not get their state league GF.
NEAFL state league umpire, Brent Pawley announced his retirement from umpiring effective at the end of this season. Brent has been an AFL rookie for the past two seasons and has umpired two NEAFL grand finals. Brent who moved from Victoria has been a permanent fixture in the NEAFL panel and added much needed experience to the panel. Brent is looking forward to his future and believes he has a wealth of information he can pass on to his younger colleagues. Brent came on for the last 20 minutes of the top of the ladder clash when Sydney played Pt Adelaide at the SCG to replace the ill Simon Meredith. Brent slotted into the thriller seamlessly and received applause for his effort. We wish Brent all the best with whatever the future brings.
Pictured: AFL Rookie Umpire – Brent Pawley