Ian “Buzz” Burrows came into the year on the back of his 7th grand final in 2016 needing two games to move to 250 in his outstanding career. He’s not sure whether he walked in front of a black cat, stood on a crack or walked under a ladder (we know he broke his toe when he fell over a dog) but 2017 has been a year he’d prefer to forget. In his return game, Buzz umpired with his good mates, Adam Coote, Michael Marantelli and Rob Haala in the Geelong v Richmond match. Well done Buzz.
While on milestones, another four-time grand final umpire, Nathan Doig quietly achieved his 250 game milestone in the WCE v Carlton game on Saturday night. Nathan quietly slips under the radar each week, mentoring all of our WA based boundary umpires. Nathan is still an elite runner and thinker about his footy. Well done Doigy.
Our third milestone this week is another boundary umpire, Jordan Andrews. Jordan debuted in 2015 and despite missing the first half of his first season on the list with injury has become a solid contributor and international umpire. Jordan was the least experienced to umpire in China a few months ago and is still talking about the experience.
Two of our goal umpires have decided to hang up the flags at the end of the season in pursuit of furthering their professional careers. Doctor Courtney Lai and PhD student Rose O’Dea announced their retirements last Thursday. Courtney is focusing on his medical research and orthopedic surgery skills while Rose has won a scholarship to continue her studies in Canada, commencing in October. We wish them both well in their professional endeavours and hope that they won’t be lost to umpiring. Watch our website in the coming weeks for more information about their new pursuits.
Damien Hardwick used the old “free kick count” cliche to get the media pack off his team’s performance on Saturday. However, I’m not sure Geelong is the fortress he tried to make it out to be. While we all know free kick counts are, in themselves, a useless statistic, we only want to know what was correct and incorrect, Geelong were beaten by 46 points the week before against Sydney with the free kick count even at 25 all. Fremantle lost by 2 points in roundd 14 when Michael Walters ran into open goal and missed on the siren. The free kick count that day was 26 Geelong, 17 Fremantle and in round 9 Geelong beat the Western Bulldogs by 23 points but lost the free kick count 17 – 21. Surely we are more mature as a competition than to continually blame umpires?
Vale Harry Beitzel.