The Queensland football scene has changed significantly since Tristan’s arrival to AFL football. He was first appointed to the AFL panel in 2007. At first, it was tough going to get a game with four goal umpires based in Queensland and Brisbane Lions the only AFL team in town. In his first year, Tristan only umpired 4 AFL games.
Things have now changed with Gold Coast arriving on the scene and Tristan has now established himself as one of the more experienced AFL goal umpires in the list. On Saturday, he umpired his 150thAFL match at the Gold Coast v Richmond game at Metricon Stadium.
Tristan acknowledges the game has changed since he started umpiring at AFL level. “The speed at which the game is played is so much faster. Gone are the days now of players remaining in their forward 50 when the ball goes into their back half. More recently its players starting to kick around their body when on angles rather than your traditional drop punt.”
Tristan loves the comradery of the whole umpiring group and the thrill of giving a decision in front of a roaring crowd. Tristan admits it has been tough umpiring in a non-traditional football state but that things have improved significantly in recent years.
The highlight of Tristan’s career to date was getting the opportunity to umpire in another country when he traveled to China. “It was an amazing experience both on and off the field and something l will forever remember.”
In looking ahead, Tristan believes that there will more technology available to assist goal umpires and that emergency goal umpires will have additional responsibilities on match day. He admits that the most frequent goal umpiring issue is the score review system, “Everyone seems to have an opinion on how to make it better.”
Tristan reflects back on his career to date and is forever thankful to his wife Candi and their two children Caitlin and Hamish. “Without their constant support l wouldn’t be able to do what l do for as long as l have. Umpiring takes a lot of your time and Candi keeps the household in check.” He also thanked his parents who were instrumental in his early days as an umpire and drove him to training and games and all of his coaches, umpiring colleagues and mentors who have helped, and continue to help, shape him as an umpire and a person.
Well done Tristan and we wish you continued success in your career!
Article written by: AFLUA Marketing and Communications Coordinator, Peter Kelly