It’s always good to sit back and reflect on a milestone once achieved, especially one that you were never supposed to make. So it is true for Brett Dalgleish, one of the infamous “Dalgleish brothers inc.” who have followed in each others footsteps since joining the AFL umpires panel in 2010. They umpired together on the weekend.
Brett, a boundary umpire, contracted glandular fever in 2012 and struggled for the next two years to make the time trial benchmarks and even keep his body going through the rigours of training. Coupled with his job on work sites in the WA sun Brett would often turn up to training exhausted from his day at work and then be expected to carry a full training load. “I remember those days as just being tough, reflected Brett when we caught up with him today. “I knew something had to give if I was to continue umpiring.”
Now he works as a manager of a cafe and bar. “Now my work is more mental than physical. I find it hard to switch off at times and can get to training mentally exhausted but not physically which allows me to train much better.”
Brett now focuses on his body more. “I do a lot of core work and injury prevention, strength and conditioning work. Gone are the days of running 100 kms a week, I know what works for my body.”
Brett has umpired 4 finals in his 100 game tally and fell agonisingly short in 2014. It has spurred him on to work very hard over the summer. “I’m pretty keen to get back there!” he exclaimed.
You can never miss his broad smile and his laugh, it is on show whether he is an hour out from game or half way through it. “I love my footy but it’s not life or death.” Brett has an interesting idol in footy. “Don’t laugh, it’s my brother Jeff. I take a lot out of his approach to football. We often chat and have very similar attitudes.”
Brett loves the isolation of WA, “It means you run with the same guys each week and really get to bond as a team, but the down side is we don’t always get the same feel for what is required. We get the same coaching but not always the same feel you get in a larger group. I gave up a chance to attend my brothers engagement party to get to the camp this year. It was something that you just have to do. That’s where we all get on the same page and it was great to meet the new coaches.”
So Brett, have you ever got that coffee smell off the leather seats of your brand new ute? “Ha I hate “Z” for that. Thirty degrees, I had to buy the pre match coffees and took a corner to fast. The rest as they say is history.”
Footnote: Unfortunately Jeff umpires his 100th AFL game this week in Adelaide and not with his brother Brett.
Photo: AFL Boundary Umpire – Brett Dalgleish