Steve Axon has always taken every opportunity to break records. He umpired his first SANFL senior grand final as an 18-year-old. A child protégé, success came to Steve because he has a relentless approach to training both physically and mentally. He umpired in his first AFL grand final in 2007 after umpiring only 35 AFL games. He became the first SA based goal umpire to achieve that feat. Fast forward 10 years and Steve now becomes the first SA based goal umpire to achieve the 200 AFL game milestone. Steve’s other great record is umpiring in 21 of the 43 showdowns. Read Steve’s own story on how he learned his lessons from many great goal umpires in this website.
Let’s not forget another South Australian, just making his way in the AFL. Curtis Deboy umpired his first AFL game in 2014 and his 50th this weekend. Curtis has always wanted to be an umpire and he worked very hard as a young man to learn his trade. When contracted by the AFL in 2014, he picked up his belongings and new bride and resettled in Melbourne. Curtis has taken the Scott McLaren number 11 and has done it proud. Number 11 has only been worn by 3 umpires since its inception, the third umpire was Matt Leppard who forged a 62 game career between 2011 and 2014.
Shaun Ryan succumbed to a significant eye injury in the lead up to the GWS v Melbourne game and didn’t make it onto the field. It was the first time the crowd would’ve been right when yelling “open your eyes ump you’re blind”. Shaun Ryan was replaced by Ben Ryan who has been called up off the bench three times this season. Ben plans to make every post a winner for the remainder of 2017.
Many thanks to our late replacement FM MDE chaperones this week, Danny O’Dea who looked after Jackson Barnwell and his family at Manuka oval. Rumour has it, that Jackson’s mother still hasn’t thawed out!
Former boundary umpire, Nick Liparota stood in to help make Christian Occhipinti’s day at the Gabba. Christian was amazed at the work umpires have to do to prepare for their games and gave then each a hug before they walked up the race for good luck. See the videos of their days on the website.
Rookie Alex Whetton wasn’t sure what he stepped into having to travel to Melbourne to first sit as the emergency field umpire at Geelong on Friday night and then head to Box Hill to umpire in the VFL on Saturday. Alex had to endure two of Melbourne’s coldest days as a Queenslander, where the temperature has been a constant 24 degrees. I wonder if he has thawed out yet?
It was great to see Eleni back for another AFL game following her first 3 game stint. This time El had to travel to WA. She has become something of a nomad with her first 4 games of AFL football being in 4 different states, Victoria, Northern Territory, Queensland and now Western Australia. Let’s hope she can get back to her home state of SA soon.