Boundary umpire Rob Haala, becomes the 12th boundary umpire in the history of VFL/AFL football to reach the imposing milestone of 300 games.  Rob umpired the Collingwood v Essendon game at the MCG, an iconic venue and in a clash of traditional rivals.  Rob becomes the fastest boundary umpire to achieve this feat in 13 years and 82 days.

Rob’s 300 games include 24 finals, three grand finals in 2012, 13 and 16 stand the test of time.  His passion and commitment to the game, his colleagues and his family make Rob stand tall.

We all stand to congratulate you on an outstanding achievement.

Now to the other end of the scale we congratulate two first gamers.  Damien Main was elevated to the AFL panel during the week when the boundary panel started looking injury riddled.  Damien, has excelled in his 5th season in the VFL including a spot umpiring the VFL v WA state game earlier in the season.  Damien wasn’t quite sure what to think when he was contacted by national boundary umpire coach Simon Leigh last Monday afternoon but was pretty pumped by the time the call had ended.  He officiated in the Melbourne v Carlton game at the MCG.  Damien becomes the 572nd person to boundary umpire in a VFL/AFL game.

The other debutant is no stranger to AFL football but he is to umpiring, David Rodan.  David was elevated to a pathway position on the AFL goal umpiring panel only three weeks ago.  His first game between Nth Melbourne and Fremantle was a thriller that went to the wire.  David became the 347th person to goal umpire a VFL/AFL game and the 85th player to take up umpiring after playing.  He is the ninth former player to take up goal umpiring.  The last player to goal umpire was Hawthorn player Miles Sellers in 1944.  While much has been written about David’s transition to umpiring one thing is for sure, his determination and focus to get the job right was undeniable, he took up the challenge and succeeded.  

It has been good to see Ian Burrows back on the track and training.  He came out of his moon boot just a week ago but is fast tracking wanting to get his 250th game done.  At the start of the season he sat on 248 games, come round 17 he sits on 249.  It has been a season to forget for Buzz who has umpired 5 of the past 6 grand finals.

Last year’s grand final umpire, Scott Jeffery can’t take a trick either.  He was back for his first game in round 15 but tweaked a calf at training on Thursday and had to withdraw from the Collingwood v Essendon clash, as did Nick Foot who was injured at training earlier in the week.  Rob Findlay and Leigh Fisher who were originally to be rested came into the line up.  Chris Kamolins resumed in the VFL seniors and Brent Wallace in the VFL development league after recovering from injury.

As we head to the pointy end of the season we need to get guys back on the track and firing to put pressure on those vying for finals selection.

Luke Walker moves to equal first place for draws for goal umpires – 6 with Craig Clarke and Mark Canning.

Brett Rosebury moves to equal 7th all time field umpire with Bryan Sheehan (363 games).  Aaron Deckys moves to equal 8th place all time boundary umpires (308 games) with John Hicks.

Our Fiona McBurney participant this week, Michelle Lemin helped our umpires in the Melbourne v Carlton game at the MCG.  See her story in pictures later in the week.

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