Another goal umpire with a milestone this weekend is Queenslander Shaun Apted who will umpire his 100th AFL game at the Gold Coast v Carlton game at Metricon Stadium on Saturday night.

Shaun umpired his first game with the Gold Coast Juniors in 2001, moving up the ranks to officiate the 2008, 2009 and 2010 AFLQ grand finals.  His first AFL match was in 2009. His career highlight to date was when he umpired the Essendon v Geelong game at the MCG in round 8.  “It was Shane McInerney’s 450th game so it was an added enjoyment of being there to celebrate with him. It was also the biggest crowd l have ever umpired in front of and the close result meant the crowd really came to life in the last quarter.”

Being resilient and adapting to change without getting frustrated with decisions outside of your control are factors which have contributed to Shaun’s success. “I’m still having fun with every match and training session with a great group in Queensland and picking up on things to continuously improve my on-field performance.”  He also believes he has learnt how to train smarter and has got fitter each year on the list.

He believes having a good routine, preparation and organisation are important aspects to longevity at AFL level. “I like to have fun too but when there is a job to be done, it’s a case of flicking the switch and focusing on every decision.”

He attributes the late Glen Dryburgh as having a huge influence on his career with his professional approach at training and his composure and focus on match day. Shaun also acknowledged Troy Mavroudis as being a great mentor and Aaron Deckys’s support and encouragement during his AFL career.

Shaun has been the AFLUA representative for the Queensland group for a number of years, “I’m a strong supporter of the association and the work they do in helping all umpires past and present.  Everything they do is to help us and it is appreciated and it’s the least l could do to ensure the Association stays strong.”

Shaun is an avid NFL and college football follower and loves watching the strategy involved on the field. Because he can’t really barrack for an Aussie Rules team, he describes himself as a “mad” New England Patriot supporter. With baseball, he is fascinated by the history of the sport and the statistics involved.  With his pending marriage in October, Shaun’s honeymoon will include attending some sports games in the United States with his sports loving partner.

Wet weather has impacted on one his normal pre-game rituals – a game of golf during the week. However, he will continue with his normal morning massage and a stop at his parent’s place on the way down the coast to his game. 

As he has gotten older and perhaps wiser, he has done away with superstitions and now calls it ‘his routine’. Shaun makes sure he packs his bag the night before.  He also enjoys a long walk on the morning of his game together with a good coffee and sandwich. His one golden ‘routine’ is to ensure his boots are perfectly cleaned before each game, so much so, that Ben Ryan believes he has new boots each week.

Best of luck Shaun on Saturday night!  Enjoy!

Article written by: AFLUA Marketing and Communications Coordinator, Peter Kelly

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