Congratulations to Adam Wojcik on umpiring his 200thgame at the Carlton v Essendon match on Saturday 12 May. In so doing, Adam became the 138thVFL/AFL umpire and 41stgoal umpire to officiate 200 games. He also became the fastest VFL/AFL goal umpire to reach this milestone – 10 years 22 days, replacing Bob Barker who achieved the same milestone in 10 years 141 days.
Adam has featured at the business end of the season in recent years with 4 grand final appointments (2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017). He has umpired 26 finals and 4 ANZAC matches, including three Collingwood v Essendon games at the MCG. Interestingly, Adam has never officiated in a drawn game.
In reflecting on his career to date, Adam admits the game continues to change. “The pressure has certainly lifted and continues to lift every year. We, as an umpiring group, are under increasing levels of scrutiny and are certainly challenged more on a week to week basis.” However, he believes the challenge of umpiring at the elite level is why so many of his colleagues enjoy doing what they do.
Adam loves the buzz of match day, particularly in the bigger games with the tension in the crowds, the skill (and errors) from the players which keeps you on your toes, and the really good feeling that you get when you come off the ground knowing you’ve done yourself and the team proud. “It’s a fantastic game to be involved in and l’m honoured to be involved in it with such a great group of fellow umpires.”
Adam describes the 2016 and 2017 grand finals as memorable because there was the underdog win by the Bulldogs and then the juggernaut of Richmond last year. Both games had a big hype about them for the entire week and the results kept the premiership cup in Victoria. He says getting appointed to a grand final is something you never forget, from the time you receive the call through to the actual game. Adam is also particularly proud that he has been able to share some of his grand final experiences with his family.
Adam balances a busy life as a member of the Victorian Police Force and a young family, in addition to being an executive member of the AFLUA, a position he has held for three years. He believes in planning ahead so that he can focus on the important things and maximise his opportunities, whether it’s on-field or spending time with his family.
He admits that despite the added pressure of umpiring today, he believes the score review system does provide umpires with an opportunity when there is a tight decision to have it reviewed. He says he would like to see goal umpires utilised as a score reviewer when not umpiring to further refine and enhance the current system.
When asked about a common goal umpiring issue discussed around a barbeque, Adam scoffed and said “A BBQ? More likely a winery!” He says it’s the questions from family/friends/colleagues about why goal umpires train and do they stand and practice our signalling and flag waving etc. When questioned further, Adam would not admit if he took up time practicing in front of the mirrors at home.
Adam, congratulations once again on your fantastic milestone and we wish you further success this season.
Article written by: AFLUA Marketing and Communications Coordinator, Peter Kelly