We all know Brian Taylor is prone to exaggeration from time to time and some were surprised to realise he even knew the name Chris Appleton. However, to say he is the most experienced goal umpire was a little fanciful during the preliminary final commentary on Saturday night, although he may well be the best!
For the record “Apples” is only 127 games behind the games record holder, David Dixon (356 games) with 229 games and 10 games behind Luke Walker (239 games). Apples has stood twice in grand finals, while David and Luke have both stood in grand finals six times. David was the emergency goal umpire in the same game.
How’s this for an experienced bench at Spotless Stadium on Saturday evening. David Dixon was the emergency goal umpire and Shaun Ryan the emergency field umpire. Between them they have 11 AFL grand finals and a staggering 61 finals appearances. You could say there was a wealth of experience guiding those on the field.
Luke Farmer had a week that swung to the extremes of the emotional pendulum. On Monday he and his wife Renee became proud parents for the first time. Thirty minutes later Luke was told he was sitting on the bench for the preliminary final. He had not made the final six.
Umpires like players also go into games with niggling injuries. Chris Donlon has worked tirelessly to ensure he was fit enough to take the field on Friday night.
The wait is now on. The umpiring department will be spending the day reviewing all performances from the weekend before sitting down to select the grand final team. The umpires will be informed late on Monday afternoon with a press conference being held Tuesday morning to make the announcement public.