It has been almost a decade of umpiring AFL footy, but upon reflection, Chris states, “it has gone pretty quick.”
Chris began his umpiring career in the VFL in 2003, alongside fellow AFL boundary umpires, Damien Cusack and Gerard Large. “We have such a good group of boundary umpires, it is good to be training with the guys that I trained with at the VFL.”
Chris went on to umpire in 53 VFL games including the 2006 VFL Grand Final between Geelong and Sandringham, he was then asked to join the AFL list in 2007.
In only his third year on the AFL list he umpired a qualifying final. Chris continues to maintain his desire to umpire well and went on to be appointed to three qualifying finals in consecutive years, 2011, 2012 and 2013. Other memorable moments of his career include umpiring in the Anzac Day matches in 2009 and 2012. “One hundred thousand at the G, it’s great to be apart of it.”
It was at that same ground where Chris is able to reflect on the moment he warmed up before a game on Heritage Round and glanced up at the footy highlights on the big screen, it was at that moment he realized that he was “standing in the exact spot where Jesaulenko took his famous mark back in the 1970 VFL Grand Final.”
When it comes to respecting greats of the game, Gordon Muir, former AFL boundary and grand final umpire was a great mentor for Chris during his time in the VFL and his first year umpiring in the AFL. Chris Gordon (Gordo), current AFL boundary and grand final umpire is a close mate of Chris’s, they regularly train together throughout the season and pre-season. “When Chris and I train together you know it is going to be a good hard session, he is one bloke who really helps me get the most out of myself!”
Chris has managed a healthy work-life balance, he is a self employed carpenter by day, working flexible hours in between umpiring and being father to three children, ages 10, 8 and 6. He even copes with the weekly 600 plus kilometre round trips from home in Warragul to training and games.
Congratulations Chris on reaching this significant milestone and we look forward to seeing you run the boundary for many more years to come.