Newly listed AFL goal umpire, Brodie Kenny-Bell has a passion for footy and loves a challenge. When we caught up with him for a chat about his footy he was already at training an hour and a half early, “work was not hectic so I thought I’d beat the Sydney traffic,” explained Brodie.

Brodie put a business opportunity and his want to make AFL footy ahead of a stay at home, bring on more of the same attitude and he has achieved his ultimate dream of an AFL contract. “I definitely wanted a move to pursue my business career and Sydney seemed the perfect fit. Footy then just slotted in very nicely. I am always up for a challenge.”

Brodie, began umpiring in Port Pirie, some 220 kilometres north of Adelaide. “I played under age footy and filled in as an umpire for the early junior matches. I really enjoyed it,” reflected Brodie.

In 2006 he joined the Spencer Gulf football league. In 2008 he played in the under 18 grand final in the morning and umpired the senior grand final in the afternoon. Brodie moved to Adelaide in 2009 and umpired his first SANFL senior match in 2010, aged 19. “I umpired my first final in 2012 and in 2013 I sat on the bench in the SANFL grand final as the emergency goal umpire. I had umpired 49 senior SANFL games.”

Moving to Sydney in 2014 and umpiring NEAFL footy was not a shock to the boy from a traditional footy state. “Sure AFL footy wasn’t the first point of conversation in Sydney and that took some getting used to. Whether you umpire in front of seven thousand or seven hundred spectators, it doesn’t matter from an umpire’s point of view. You just concentrate on the task at hand and do the best you can.”

The NEAFL grand final and the offer of an AFL contract was fantastic recalled Brodie. His long time mentor, Anthony Black along with all of the SA, AFL listed goal umpires, Axe, Norton, Hosko and Wilson were great support for me and all of the young aspiring umpires in SA.

Brodie has set a very good benchmark among the goal umpires, running his 3km time trial in 11 minutes 12 seconds. “A high level of fitness is critical for all goal umpires. It helps maintain concentration and assists with agility.”

It was certainly a gamble moving interstate, but then it has paid dividends already.

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