Congratulations to AFL boundary umpire, Michael Marantelli who officiated in his 50th game on the weekend when Richmond played the Western Bulldogs. Michael was appointed to the list in 2011 from the Essendon District Football League. He was awarded the Bill Sutton Medallion in 2012 as the best first or second year boundary umpire and umpired his first final last year.

ROUND OF DEBUTS

Field umpire Tristan Burgess finally achieved his umpiring dream when he was appointed to his first official match, GWS v. St Kilda on Saturday. Tristan, has two games to his credit when he replaced injured field umpires was pleased to finally be given “a real game.”

Ex St Kilda player, Leigh Fisher, debuted in the Melbourne v. WCE match as the second player to umpire pathway umpire in two years. Leigh had a successful season in the VFL in 2012 and was elevated to the AFL panel after trialling successfully during the recent NAB Cup series.

Goal umpire Luke Edwards debuted in arguably the game of the round in Perth which saw Essendon get over the line by four points against Fremantle. Luke said that at times he felt like a spectator because it was partner Brett Rogers who had most of the play. “It was a very good game to debut in, almost surreal, because most of the scoring happened at the other end. When it did come my way it was all very standard stuff. When the game got close in the last quarter I wanted it at my end,” beamed Luke when we caught up with him today.

Goal umpire Dale Puren debuted in the GWS v. St.Kilda game in front of his home crowd at Manuka Oval. We spoke with Dale in the lead up to the game and he said that he was remarkably calm but was looking forward to the focus on game day. Manuka was certainly a day for the AFL-Canberra boys when six of the team of eleven officials were original Canberra boys. Michael Palm made his debut in the Richmond v. Western Bulldogs game. Michael umpired the 2005 SANFL Grand Final, moved to Victoria for work and has umpired 10 VFL finals, including the 2012 VFL Grand Final. He has grabbed the opportunity at the highest level after spending many years doing his “apprenticeship.”

Courtney Lai who was injured in the round two clash at Etihad Stadium when a player fell across his leg has undergone his knee reconstruction and is certainly looking forward to his rehabilitation program commencing in the next week or two.

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