The two closest games over the weekend were our two Alex’s debut games. On Saturday night in Sydney, 19 year old goal umpire, Alex Chisholm made his AFL debut in the Sydney v North Melbourne match. Alex who became the 349th person to goal umpire in the VFL/AFL was blown away by the noise. “Last weekend I umpired in front of 300 people and could hear every noise, Saturday night I stood in front of 30,000 and couldn’t even hear the boundary umpires call they were on the posts,” reflected Alex today. Alex only had to wait until the 4 minute mark of the first quarter for his first score, a goal kicked straight over his head from 5 metres out straight in front. “I stopped hearing the noise from about the 10 minute mark of the first quarter until right near the final siren when the crowd kept urging Sydney on.”
Our second Alex, field umpire Alex Whetton, completed his move from Brisbane to Melbourne on April 28 to take his place on the list of field umpires following the resignation of veteran umpire Chris Kamolins. Two days later Alex gets his debut match and has to go right back to Brisbane to officiate in the Brisbane v Collingwood match! Alex receives Heritage number 441. So how did Alex go? “I didn’t have to start in the middle which gave me time to settle in to the tempo and by the time I had to take on the mid zone role I had found my feet and got into the rhythm. I pulled up very very tired, now I know the value of our fitness regime,” said Alex.
Footnote: Has there been a younger debut of an AFL umpire than Alex Chisholm at 19?
Congratulations to our milestone men this weekend. David Harris is the 342nd umpire to reach 100 AFL games. David becomes the 91st field umpire to reach the target. David is in his seventh season on the list. He umpired 21 games in 2017 and has umpired in all seven so far this season.
Lachlan Rayner has notched up his 50th game. He officiated in the St Kilda v Melbourne match at Etihad stadium. Lachlan came onto the list in 2016 and has never looked back. His is one of the quickest to reach this milestone. See his 60 second whistler on our instagram account.
It was great to see Shane Thiele back for his first AFL game in 2018. Shane was so nervous he didn’t even realise that there was a new “time to walk” when all umpires are expected to have completed their pre match preparations and be ready to go. Shane must have missed that memo! It was also good to see veteran Chris Roberts return to AFL ranks. Robbo injured his calf in round two and was put straight back into the senior ranks.
Injury is still taking its toll on the group. Scott Jeffery, Troy Pannell, Andrew Stephens, Andrew Mitchell, Luke Farmer and Aaron Deckys are still unavailable through injury.
Our third “Alec” debuted on the weekend as our Fiona McBurney Down Syndrome participant, Alec Kenneally from Mirboo North. Alec had a wonderful day and immersed himself into the umpiring group. We are truly thankful for the ongoing support of our trainers and the Richmond Football Club is a great supporter of the program. See Alec’s day in pictures on our video section of the website.