The AFLUA elevated three grand final umpires to grand final legend status at its 2013 recognition dinner on Saturday night.
Field umpire, Robert Scott, boundary umpire, Gordon Muir and goal umpire Anthony Black were feted for their contribution to VFL/AFL football and umpiring.
To be eligible for legend status umpires have to meet four of the following criteria: umpire at least 3 VFL/AFL grand finals; be retired for at least five seasons; have an above average ratio of grand finals to total games umpired; have an above average ratio of grand finals to finals series; umpired seven or more grand finals or dominate an era.
Robert Scott umpired in the VFL between 1921 and 1935. He umpired 5 games as a boundary umpire (1918-19), returning two years later as a field umpire to umpire 158 games. He umpired every grand final between 1929 and 1935. A feat rarely equalled in any era.
Gordon Muir came onto the list in 1998 following a footy career in the Essendon District Football League. Gordon was a very gifted runner and decided to undertake some running with another grand final legend, Peter McDonald. Aged 24 Gordon decided to give footy away and umpire in the Footscray District League before switching back to Essendon and then onto the AFL. Gordon umpired 204 games, 22 finals and 4 grand finals in succession from 2002 until 2005. Gordon was named All Australian boundary umpire in 2005. Gordon was very thankful to his many colleagues during his time as a boundary umpire and thanked them for their support. Gordon also thanked his coaches, Murray Williams and Bill Sutton. So how did Gordon manage to achieve four consecutive grand finals? “Hard work and a mental toughness, that once you had one, you knew what you had to do to get another one. It didn’t become any easier but you loved the involvement so you just worked even harder because you didn’t want to miss out”, reflected Gordon.
Gordon is currently running his business as a personal trainer in the Maceadon Ranges and coaching the Australian youth athletics team for Athletics Australia.
Anthony Black umpired on the AFL panel as a goal umpire for 14 years between 1994 and 2007. Like Gordon, he retired at the top of his game as a grand final umpire in the year of his retirement. Anthony umpired 252 games, 25 finals and 7 grand finals. His grand finals were in 1998, 1999, 2000, 2003,2004,2005 and his last in 2007. Anthony reflected that he had come through an era of great goal umpires who each brought something different to the table. “Craig Clark was a great positional umpire and read the play so well. David Flegg brought a new standard in goal umpiring with agility and speed.”
Anthony had to put work before football at the end of 2007 and retired to focus on his work. Anthony is currently assisting the development of young goal umpires in the VFL in an observing role.