AFL footy comes back to your screens in full force this weekend after three weeks of club byes. Sadly, the only group who don’t get any rest are the field umpires who are required to back up sometimes twice in a weekend in the four field umpire trial system and the umpire coaches who still have to front up to their two or three games each weekend to oversee and assess our umpires.
The review will be an interesting one for the AFL. The trial has now been held over three seasons in matches for premiership points and for two or three pre-seasons before that. You would now think that there is enough data for the league to finally make a decision one way or another. As an interesting side conversation, one AFL coach complained during the week that the four umpires were clogging the centre corridor. That’s a new one when you consider that coaches will use the umpire as a shield to break tags and coach players to look for the umpire who will always position himself with space behind so he will not get mixed up in play.
Congratulations to our milestone recipients this week. Stephen Williams (150), Graham Bergroth (100) and Shaun Apted (100). It is obvious each have their perks and traits. The one that sticks with me most is “Bergers” (Graham Bergroth) want to travel with a boomerang. I know some guys will take their own pillow but a boomerang? Shaun Apted on the other hand is an American sports nut. “I am unable to follow an AFL team so I am right into my NFL and baseball.” Shaun will be spending his honeymoon in the USA attending sports events. What a lucky guy! Steve Williams rates his recent trip to China for the GCS v PA match as one of his career highlights but still thinks the 2016 Preliminary final between GWS and the Western Bulldogs as the best game he has ever been involved in.
While talking milestones, Simon Meredith’s 300th game last weekend was the second fastest on record (13 years 61 days). Simon’s record is only beaten by Matt Stevic who completed the milestone in 12 years 145 days. In third position, and quickest boundary umpire is retired Matt Vitiritti who hit the milestone in 13 years and 152 days.
Ex AFL goal umpire Matthew Laycock has packed up his flags on his umpiring career. Matt umpired 45 AFL and 161 WAFL games in his career. Matt who recently turned 30 is looking for other pursuits to keep himself occupied. We wish him well in his retirement.
Eleni Glouftsis, went back to her SA roots this weekend when she took charge of the Sturt v Pt Adelaide senior SANFL match at Peter Motley oval. Eleni was rotated out of the AFL panel after 3 games with a few things to work on but had nothing but good memories of her induction into AFL footy. She is hoping to get back into the panel later in the year.
We chaperoned two participants in this round of the Fiona McBurney Match Day Experience. Tom Mitchell attended the Richmond v Sydney clash at the MCG. While in Adelaide we welcomed Stuart Scott. Both guys had a great day. (See the video later this week)