The three All Australian Umpires were announced at the AFLUA grand final cocktail party in Southbank on Saturday night.
At the gala event attended by over 200 umpires, partners and friends the announcements were made by field umpire’s coach Hayden Kennedy and Umpires’ Manager Grant Williams when the grand final umpiring team made their entrance just after 9pm.
Field umpire Shaun Ryan broke a record of five straight All Australian’s awarded to Matt Stevic. Shaun was a previous AA award winner in 2010. In his acceptance speech, Shaun was extremely surprised to win the award given the strangle hold on it by Matt. “Matt is without doubt the best field umpire in the history of the game,” exclaimed Shaun, who went on to thank his colleagues and family for their support.
All Australian boundary umpire Matt Tomkins was a first-time winner in his 3rd grand final. Boundary umpire coach, Darren Wilson, himself a winner of the award in 2007, said “Matt is an outstanding leader both on and off the field and has shown exemplary leadership when it counts most. He has had an outstanding season.” Matt was humbled by the announcement and thanked all of his umpiring colleagues for their support during the season.
Steve Piperno received his second All Australian goal umpire award in just his second grand final. He achieved his first in 2018. Steve was very thankful for the support he received from his goal umpire colleagues and his coaches. Goal umpire coach, Doug Gourlay praised Steve for his resilience and ability to go “back to back” in an extraordinary close year.