Ben Macdonald has had a whirlwind couple of weeks. Not only did he umpire his 50thAFL game, he was one of four boundary umpires selected to umpire in China.
Ben joined the AFL in 2017. His career started with the Eastern Football League in 2004 before he was elevated to the VFL in 2008. He umpired 150 VFL games and a number of grand finals including the 2014 TAC Grand Final, the VFL Reserves Grand Final in 2011 and 2013 and the VFL Grand Finals in 2012, 2015 and 2016. He also umpired state games in 2014 and 2016 and was named VFL Boundary of the Year in 2016.
Ben is motivated by his love of the game and being involved. He also loves to challenge himself both mentally and physically and getting the most out of himself every week. He describes his journey to date as incredible, especially after so many years at VFL level, where his dream was to umpire one AFL game. To Ben it is with great satisfaction that he has now umpired his 50thAFL game.
His career highlight to date actually was game 51 when he umpired in China. Ben never imagined that umpiring would take him outside Australia. His most enjoyable game to date was his first AFL game – Hawthorn v Essendon at the MCG on a Saturday night, “The noise and atmosphere were unbelievable. I’ve never heard anything like it and it was well worth the wait.”
Things have not always been easy for Ben. During his time with the VFL, Ben was quite sick and was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. He was going to give up umpiring until his coach at the time Matthew Vitiritti convinced him to stay, gave him some time off and helped get him through. Now receiving treatment, Ben’s health is as good as 100% these days.
Ben is therefore appreciative of every opportunity that comes his way. He is especially thrilled to be involved with AFL football on game day but also appreciates all the great people he has met outside of game day that are now lifelong friends.
He is proud of his work rate and feels he gives 100% effort every week. Whilst he has no real set routines, he does make sure his bag is packed the night before and that he gets a good night’s sleep.
Congratulations Ben on a well-deserved milestone and we wish you continued success for the rest of the season.
Article written by: AFLUA Marketing and Communications Coordinator, Peter Kelly