Congratulations to goal umpire Adam Wojcik and boundary umpire Michael Saunders on reaching the magical 200 game milestone on the weekend. Ironically both umpired their first grand finals together in 2013.
Adam has been goal umpiring on the AFL list since 2008. His games tally includes 26 finals and 4 grand finals. That equates to a final every 7.7 games and a grand final every 50 games. A truely magnificent effort in the modern era. Adam is the 41st goal umpire to officiate in more than 200 AFL matches.
Michael’s tally includes 16 finals and the 2013 grand final. Michael commenced on the boundary in 2009 out of Sydney. His total of 200 games makes him one of the most experienced AFL umpires to come from interstate. Michael sits 8th all time in that list but first from the NSW/ACT list of games umpired. Michael is the equal 45th boundary umpire to reach 200 AFL matches.
Congratulations also goes to Pat Cran who umpired his 50th game when he took to the field in the North Melbourne v Hawthorn game. Pat who came onto the list in 2016 in NSW has moved to Victoria this season for work related reasons.
At the other end of the spectrum, Chris Delany was appointed to the AFL boundary list last Monday and walked out 6 days later onto the Gabba to officiate in his first AFL match. Chris was obviously very pleased to be given the opportunity to realise his dream so quickly after his accession to the list. When we spoke to Chris about his debut he reflected, “I was more excited than nervous and I was very pleased to get my first throw away cleanly.” When prodded Chris said, “the game lived up to what everyone told me it would be and some more. The adrenaline kicked in and we were away.”
Aaron Deckys was back into the fray this week in Queensland following an ITB injury. That now means for the first time in over 12 months the boundary umpire coaches have a full list to choose from.
It’s a very different story for the field umpires however. The list is down to the bare minimum of 27 umpires available from which to choose 27 umpires. A spate of injury has again hit the list as it just manages to keep its head above water. Troy Pannell, Andrew Stephens and Scott Jeffery received set backs at training last week. Couple that with Shane McInerney and Andrew Mitchell being out also injured and Rob O’Gorman unavailable, it gave selectors no room to move in round 8 and with little reprieve going into round 9 given 4 umpires are heading to China.
Our historian David Flegg has responded to an enquiry regarding the age of our goal umpire Alex Chisholm who debuted last week, aged 19. David replied saying that two goal umpires debuted in 1987, Adrian Taylor (9 games) and Ivan Smith (1 game) were both either 18 or 19 years of age on their debut. Unfortunately dates of birth were not recorded in our statistics as a matter of course.
A further congratulations to our rookie umpires who had charge of the interstate game SA v WA at Adelaide oval on Saturday. WA field rookie Justin Power joined SA field rookie Jamie Broadbent and current SANFL umpire Andrew Crosby as the three umpires who had charge of the game. Former rookie Rowan Hundertmark was the emergency umpire. WA rookie goal umpire Sam Hunter was appointed as one of the goal umpires. WA ran out victors by 26 points for the first time in Adelaide since 1994.
Our FM MDE program moved to Perth this week. Our participant, Stephen Donovan and his parents and friends were chaperoned by former head of umpiring in WA, Darryl Sinclair and his wife Fiona. See Stephen’s day at the footy in our video later this week.