Congratulations to all of our milestone achievers this week.  Chelsea Roffey 200 games, Shane Thiele 150 games and Ben Ryan 100 games, have all made unique contributions to the game and made many sacrifices to get there.

Chelsea, by her own admission on the AFL Whistleblowers segment this week said, “I am proud of my milestone because I have worked hard to achieve this result.  Being female has nothing to do with it.”  Chelsea We couldn’t agree more!  Chelsea moved states, changed her employment as just two of challenges she has had to overcome to “make it.”  Chelsea’s 200 games comprise of 185 games, 14 finals and the 2012 grand final. Similarly, Shane Thiele moved his family to Melbourne from South Australia to remain on the list in 2013.  Ever the optimist Shane has a smile ingrained on his face from ear to ear.  “I never thought I’d achieve this milestone when I joined the list in 2009 but hey, I just go out and umpire each week the rest will take care of itself.”  Well done on your 150 games Shane. His tally includes 149 games and 1 final.  Ben Ryan has made two moves in his career.  The first from Rockhampton to Brisbane and when he became a listed umpire in 2012 then from Brisbane to Melbourne.  Ben is now ensconced in Melbourne for the duration.  “One hundred games is a good little milestone, now I’m looking forward to 101!” exclaimed Ben today.

Ben becomes the 351st umpire to achieve the 100 game milestone but only the 86th field umpire.  Chelsea is the 128th umpire to achieve 200 games, but only the 38th goal umpire to reach the milestone.  Congratulations to you all.

Boundary umpire Mark Thomson moved into second place, all time when he umpired his 330th game last weekend.  That equals the games tally of Herbert Kent.  Well done to our evergreen veteran who just keeps racking up games.

Mat Nicholls has just completed his 30 game streak of home and away games from Rd 14 2015 to Rd 20 2016.  It is rare in this day and age to complete more than a season of games without a break.  It is testimony to Mat’s resilience these days.

St.Kilda Football Club went above and beyond last weekend to welcome our FM MDE participant, Rainer.  They invited him into the rooms before the match, all gathered around and welcomed him.  They then presented him with a back pack full of memorabilia, including a signed guernsey.  We might never be able to wipe the smile off his face.  Thank you Saints.

It was great to spend some time in Sydney last week to catch up with our members there.  Field umpire Cameron Barr has enjoyed his first year as a rookie and has been particularly influenced by the effectiveness of our field umpires communication skills and has incorporated that into his own NEAFL games.  “I sat on the bench in Canberra last week as the emergency for the GWS v Richmond game and then 2 hours later umpired the NEAFL game.  It was a long day but I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.  It’s amazing the things you can pick up by being part of the AFL group.  It has improved my umpiring.”

Three of our AFL Members, Rob Taylor, Liam Rowe and Angus McKenzie-Wills run the NSWUA.  They are committed to their umpires having good governance.  Well done guys you are doing an amazing job.

Article written by: AFLUA CEO, Peter Howe 

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