Andrew Heffernan is one of the new Rookie squad umpires for season 2017.
Based in Victoria, Andrew joined the VFL Development Squad in 2013, after starting as a boundary umpire as a 12-year-old, then switching to field umpiring a year later. He umpired with the Victorian Amateur Football League (VAFA) in 2010 and did the Premier A Grade grand final in 2012.
In 2014, Andrew was promoted to the VFL Senior list and umpired his 50th VFL Senior match during the 2016 season. He umpired the 2016 Development League grand final alongside another AFL Rookie appointment for season 2016 – Patrick Burns.
The 2015 VFL Preliminary Final between Essendon and Williamstown has been Andrew’s career highlight to date. “It was the biggest crowd l had umpired in front of and a fantastic game at North Port Oval.” Andrew also cites being emergency in the 2015 VFL Grand Final as a great thrill and something he was proud to be part of.
Andrew looks up to every umpire on the AFL list knowing full well the sacrifices they have made to get where they are today. He feels this is very underestimated and unknown to most football supporters.
To upcoming umpires, Andrew believes you have to take the good with the bad, “In 2013, l had a stress fracture which put me out of potential finals selection and l kept thinking at the time what it would mean for my umpiring going forward. In the end, it was a minor setback and made me hungrier for success the following season.” Andrew believes it is important to focus on those things you can control yourself and block out the external factors that you have no control over, “All umpires go through setbacks and those that deal with them positively are those that progress.”
Andrew acknowledges the influence that Tony Hales (VAFA Head Coach) has had on his career to date, “Tony gave me the opportunity to umpire senior football at the VAFA at a young age. This significantly fast tracked my development and gave me some great experience which ultimately led to my VFL trial at the end of 2012.” Andrew also acknowledged Brian Goodman (VAFA) for his great support along with Geoff Deveson at the YJFL in his early umpiring days.
Andrew has just completed a Bachelor of Commerce and Property at Deakin University and is working as Project Coordinator at Greater Group, a company that specialises in building retail spaces. Andrew chills by taking time out with his mates and family and has a keen interest in most other sports.
Congratulations Andrew on your elevation as an AFL Rookie umpire in season 2017. We wish you every success for the year ahead.
Article written by: Marketing and Communications Coordinator – Peter Kelly