Ask Rob Taylor what his best or most enjoyable game was and he fires right back without any ego “I haven’t had it yet!” Rob goes on to say, “there were plenty of times in my short career when I didn’t think I’d make it to 50.”
Rob grew up in Queensland playing AFL and moved to Sydney with his family when he was eleven. At 13 he knew he wasn’t good enough to play so he began umpiring. “My grandfather, Brian was on the board of Sydney Football League team Western Suburbs, it was his passion for the game that got me interested and he was a great mentor for me. He passed away a season before I made the list and there is no doubt I ran that season for him”
When pushed Rob says that three matches stick in his mind as great to be involved in, Port Adelaide v Sydney this year, Sydney v Hawthorn in his first year and his first match on the MCG when he got a late call up due to illness and flew to Melbourne to do the game.
“I know my limitations and I operate within those to get the job done. I am coachable and always willing to listen to advice so I can improve,” reflected Rob. “That’s why Michael Saunders has had the biggest influence on my career to date. I am demanding of Michael for his feedback and he is very giving, which is sensational for me. He is a great sounding board” Rob also rates the coaching and feedback he gets from fellow boundary umpires Luke Roberts and Sydney Football League boundary umpire, Sean Richardson. “They tell it like it is. I know I have a lot of work to do on my boundary throw-ins and my fitness. My coach Stewart Eckerman is also extremely positive and supportive.”
“I never set out with one blinding ambition, to umpire AFL footy, I simply wanted to be the best boundary umpire I could be and see where that took me. I am very grateful for every match I get.
“My strength is my attitude, I don’t have to be at the front of the group but I have to put in the same effort. In my early years I’d come out of an AFL game so tired I struggled all week to come up for the next one. It was embarrassing that I was not showing any leadership, I needed to set an example. My fitness has improved immeasurably.”
“I love my cricket, to get changed in the opposing change rooms and see all of the honour boards of the touring test teams is amazing. I have never taken for granted my privileged position to be able to walk out onto the SCG.”
So what’s next for this affable young teaching professional? “I’ll just continue to improve and work hard on my craft and see where it takes me.”
Congratulations Rob. Enjoy your 50th AFL game.