History was created on Saturday when Ballarat hosted its first VFL/AFL game. Mars Stadium was the 46th venue to be used in league history and the match between the Western Bulldogs and Port Adelaide served as the first match to be played for premiership points in Victoria outside Melbourne or Geelong in 65 years. There were fears earlier in the week that the game might be affected by snow, however, the weather warmed to 7 degrees with a wind chill of 3 degrees for most of the game. Our umpiring team weren’t impacted by the weather at all although I did hear our President Troy Pannell was doing a snow dance at the foot of Mt Macedon when he got home.
Ray Chamberlain got closer to the rich Ballarat alluvial soil than he bargained for when he was collected by a Port Adelaide player during the third quarter. Ray, tough as nails, got up brushed himself down, and got on with the job. Not so tough was Dean Margetts who developed a slight strain (tightness) in his hamstring at Etihad stadium during the St. Kilda v Nth. Melbourne game and came out after three quarter time with a significant amount of tape on his upper leg. Deano even had channel seven commentator, Brian Taylor feeling sorry for him during the telecast!
Curtis Deboy came on to replace Andrew Stephens who went off with a calf injury at three quarter time in the Carlton v Hawthorn match. Curtis also umpired the Adelaide v Sydney blockbuster game on Friday night in Adelaide.
Our milestones just keep rolling along with NSW based goal umpire Brodie Kenny-Bell notching up his 50th AFL game in what would have to be a record time. Brodie was the first goal umpire since 1972 to umpire a final in his first year and notched up another in his second season.
Tim Morrison is looking for his first final in 2017 after notching up his 150th AFL game on the boundary over the weekend. This likeable veteran is one of four boundary umpires currently on the AFL panel from the Western Region Football League. Tim says his ANZAC day clash in front of 95,000 people goes down as his best game to date.
Matt MacLure achieved what on the face of things would be a great milestone to celebrate, his 100th VFL match as a goal umpire. Only problem for Matt was he achieved that because he wasn’t selected in the AFL! A great milestone nonetheless.
Patrons who turned up early to the “G” on Sunday would have been enthralled in the now traditional grid game where the AFL umpires play our Down Syndrome kids and their siblings. This year the game was umpired by National Umpires’ Manager Peter Schwab. A huge shoutout to Chris Donlon who organised the event. (See more pics and a story on our website during the week)
Steve Axon took a rare opportunity to swap states with Stephen Williams this weekend. It was strange to turn on Friday night footy from Adelaide and see a different “Steve” in the goals. Ax was kept ‘warm’ under the lid at Etihad Stadium yesterday.