Boundary umpire Mitch Le Fevre celebrated his 250th game in the Second Semi Final between Collingwood and GWS on Saturday 15 September 2018.
Mitch grew up in Tasmania starting his career with the Northern Tasmanian Football Umpires’ Association. He then made the move to Melbourne where he started umpiring with the VFL knowing there was a greater opportunity to umpire at AFL level. “The VFL in Melbourne gave me a great insight into what standards others were umpiring and training at week in/week out”.
After spending 2007 on the AFL list injured, Mitch debuted in Round 1 2008 in the game between Melbourne and Hawthorn at the MCG. Mitch umpired alongside fellow Tasmanian Chris Hay. “To have two Tasmanians debut together was a nice touch, I remember running the first quarter trying to get my head around the speed of the game, the noise and distractions.”
Looking back, Mitch reflected that the biggest influences on his career to date have been Michael Semmens and Danny Horton who were instrumental in the early days of Mitch’s umpiring in Tasmania. Current and former AFL umpires John Morris, Rob Haala, Adam Coote, Ian Burrows and Chris Gordon have also played a big part in his career. Mitch also thanked Coach Simon Leigh for assisting him to develop greater consistency and confidence, and his parents for their incredible support over many years.
Mitch’s career highlights include Anzac Day 2013, the first game played in China and more importantly umpiring the 2017 AFL Grand Final between Richmond and Adelaide. “It was an incredible feeling, it was a busy and exciting week and it was nice to reflect on how many people have contributed to my career.” Making the grand final even more special to Mitch was that he got to run alongside his good friend Rob Haala, who announced his retirement at the end of that game.
The thing that Mitch most likes about umpiring is the physical/mental challenge, working with professional colleagues and the involvement in the greatest of games. “The key to success over my AFL journey is having the capacity to relax and enjoy what you’re doing.”
Umpiring his 250th game in a semi-final, Mitch kept it low key and focused on the game itself. “In time I’m sure it is something I will reflect on with great pride.”
To ensure the body holds up well, Mitch relies on boxing, swimming and gym work to supplement his fitness however his pre-seasons look a little different these days, as he cannot do the same amount of kilometres as he used to.
One of Mitch’s memorable moments, which he now looks back and laughs at, was when he confused a boundary post with a goal post and ended up standing next to the goal umpire. “The confused goal umpire didn’t find it so funny at the time.”
Well done Mitch on a great milestone!