This year’s EJ Whitten game went to the wire when Jonathan Brown goaled from the boundary line after the final siren to give Victoria the game by 1 point.
The field umpires all agreed after the game that the Etihad siren had been very difficult to hear. There were suggestions that perhaps they were just too old to hear it?
It is on nights like this that one does have to feel sorry for our boundary umpires. Hardly a tackle laid, end to end football with only rare stoppages and a total of 301 points kicked. But handle it in their stride they did. I haven’t seen John Morris (325 games) look as relaxed as he floated between the arcs, with his now silver hair glistening under the Etihad lights. That goes for our two younger boundary boys Chris Morrison (200 games) and Gerard Large (201 games) who still love to compete. Our oldest rookie, Randall Gibson who has been retired for 17 years and who last umpired in 1999 (76 games) ran just as hard and we couldn’t wipe the smile off his face. AFL boundary umpire coach, Simon Leigh walked into the rooms just prior to the game to give them their pre game rev up! That would’ve scared them!
Goal umpires Peter Gonis (189 games) and Peter Nastasi (158 games) still have their arms in ice following the game, but didn’t they look agile and sharp as the football continually went over their heads.
Our field umpires, Gavin Dore (302 games) Jason Armstrong (127 games), Stephen McBurney (401 games) and Stuart Wenn (341 games) got into the spirit of the game and let the players play footy.
Coach Peter Cameron (308 games) still hasn’t missed a beat being involved in every one of the 22 years of the game’s history. He has the ability to relax the boys and put them in the mood prior to the game.
Our thanks to our trainer Doug Bartlett who had to rub a few old tired legs before the game and to our match manager Ben Carbonaro for looking after the guys.
Television ratings were through the roof and the message for men’s health was ever present.