Congratulations to two of our rookies on the weekend who were selected to umpire the VFL v WAFL state game played at Port Melbourne on Saturday. Matt Adams (WA) and Daniel Butcher (VFL) have both represented their states in games played over the past few seasons. The Vics who have had little success to brag about in recent seasons at a state level again succumbed to a strong WA unit. Congratulations to all umpires who were selected for the game.
AFL footy started strongly on Thursday night when the cats just got home over Pt Adelaide. All of the focus was on Charlie Dixon and the 30 second shot clock which was executed precisely by the umpire. A record crowd of over 85,000 people witnessed a pulsating dream time at the G when the tigers got up in the dying minutes. In the last game of the round, GWS got up for the first win in their history against the eagles, in another close encounter.
For the second week in a row we have had a goal umpire felled in play. Last week, Alistair Meldrum was taken out by a Brisbane defender but got back to his feet quickly and signaled a goal. On Saturday, senior experienced goal umpire, Luke Walker had nowhere to move when the Sun’s Sean Lemmens drilled a ball straight at him from point blank range. Luke who is very light on his feet had no time to react and was lucky to get a hand up to stop the ball from hitting him flush. He did sustain a cut nose where the ball hit his glasses. Luke was replaced under the blood rule by emergency goal umpire, Dylan Benwell. Trainer Phil Watson believed Luke then suffered from delayed on set of mild concussion and took no further part in the game. Luke who has played senior district cricket has never been hit by a bowler, this kick must have come pretty quick.
Our Queensland based boundary umpires have enjoyed being home in only one of the last three weeks. Peter Bock has had two MCG games, the remainder, Aaron Deckys, Drew Kowalski, Nick Wade and Gareth Hughes have umpired in Melbourne, Queensland and now the Northern Territory.
Pathway umpire and ex AFL player, David Rodan was seen sitting on the bench shadowing the emergency goal umpire as part of his on-going education. David was seen sitting with his coach, Jason Venkataya observing Chelsea Roffey as the emergency goal umpire. David has umpired in VFL senior games this season to date.
Dean Margetts was back in for his first game in three weeks after succumbing to an Achillies injury. Andrew Stephens and Ben Ryan returned after umpiring in the VFL for a week with one less match in round 9. Troy Pannell was still out with a hamstring injury. Boundary umpire Dillon Tee was back after four weeks on the sidelines with a calf injury.
Two field umpires are tied with the most consecutive games – Rob Findlay and Simon Meredith on 45 games each, closely followed by Mat Nicholls on 43. That’s nearly 2 seasons without a break!
With the start of the bye period you will notice that the AFL has re-introduced the four field umpire system for a further trial.
This weeks FM MDE participant was Matthew Ireland. Matthew was a keen observer and looked after our umpires very well in the Collingwood v Brisbane game. Matthew is a keen Brisbane supporter, and reports from his mother that he hasn’t stopped smiling since and is now aspiring to become an umpires’ assistant. See Matthew’s day in pictures later in the week.