Who umpires an AFL match on a Saturday afternoon at the MCG then participates in the challenging Great Train Race on Sunday morning!

The Great Train Race is not just a regular running race; this race challenges participants to race against the historic Puffing Billy Steam Train across a 13.5-kilometer path through the Dandenong Mountains.  The race is over a hilly route which utilizes roads, dirt tracks and trails.

Not only did Shane Thiele participate but he won the male First Veteran (40+) category!

With the above, one could easily overlook another great achievement by Shane when he recently officiated his 200thAFL match on Anzac Day Eve at the Richmond v Melbourne game at the MCG.

Shane puts his career highlight down as someone who has been lucky enough to umpire with 54 different umpires to date.  He counts many of these as very good friends and some very good umpires. He also enjoys the teamwork that is a big part of boundary umpiring today.

His most enjoyable game, looking back many years, was his first AFL game back in 2009. He also feels his 200th game was something special too.

Shane is most proud that he can still run at the level he does.  This was his strength coming into umpiring, but he is a big believer that you need to work on your strengths as well as your weaknesses and hence continue to push himself at training (and time trials!).  He prepares for a match by arriving too early but loves the pre-game build up and the challenges that each game brings.

When questioned on the toughest decision he has had to make so far in his career, Shane acknowledged it hadn’t occurred on the field but was his decision to pack up his life and move to Melbourne for more umpiring opportunities. He married Claire in Adelaide in December 2012 and by the end of January 2013, they had both moved to Melbourne.  With two children, the question will come up whether they stay in Melbourne or return to Adelaide post-footy career.

Well done Shane on two fronts – your 200thAFL game and your great run in the Great Train Race!

Article written by: AFLUA Marketing and Communications Coordinator, Peter Kelly


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