Leaving your comfort zone is often a challenge for many, whether it be work, education or even sport.

Eleni Glouftsis had to move out of her comfort zone in Adelaide to Melbourne to further an umpiring career.

She had to make the hard decision to relocate to Melbourne to succeed at AFL level and couldn’t have done so without support from her partner and boundary umpire Dillon Tee.

“When I first got asked about moving (and) being part of the program, I was hesitant to leave home and my family and friends,” said Glouftsis.

“Dillon was encouraging me all the time, he said straight away ‘of course we should do it” and since then, he’s been there through thick and thin.”

He’s been a constant support since moving over with her, Tee believes it’s not just him that has helped her to progress to officiating in the AFL. 

“I guess I feel like I’ve helped give her the belief (to succeed).

“She’s always had the ability, she could run a lot better but she doesn’t believe in herself and I think that’s what the AFL and myself have been able to do; give her the belief finally.

“What she been able to achieve has been amazing, I think it’s good for girls to see other girls making these breakthroughs because it makes them think they can do it as well.”

It’s usually the field umpires gaining plenty of attention, but the boundary and goal umpires also have an important role.

Being able to share ideas and clarify issues is one thing that the couple do regularly as they believe it makes them better officials.

 “We’re a team out there and it may look like an individual sport, we have to work together for the game to run smoothly,” said Gloutftsis.

“I think I’ve been really lucky to see the boundary side of things and the field side of things, we’re lucky we can talk about decisions (from games).”

After initially being hesitant to confront something outside her comfort zone, Eleni Glouftsis now wouldn’t have it any other way.

Article written by: Ben Carbonaro 

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