Joining Mark Foster as the equal fastest boundary umpire to reach 200 AFL games in 8 years and 65 days, is Chris Gordon when he takes to the field for the Port Adelaide v Hawthorn game at Adelaide Oval on Thursday night.

Chris joined the list in 2009 which was the first year of the four boundary umpire system at the young age of 20 years.  His career includes 18 finals and 2 AFL grand finals in 2011 and 2015.

Career highlights include all his finals appointments plus his two grand finals. Chris recalls that he enjoyed the 2015 grand final more as the whole process wasn’t as foreign to him and he knew how the week would play out which led to a more enjoyable week.

In becoming an established boundary umpire, Chris believes it is important to be open and adaptable to changes with the game and the direction boundary umpiring is going. With this in mind, Chris has focused on finding ways to improve both his game day performance and approach to training whilst also ensuring his fitness and rehabilitation have kept pace with the demands required.

Chris was appointed as the AFLUA’s first intern at the start of this year. “I have learnt a lot and certainly have more admiration for the office and how it operates. The ability to work in my area of passion of umpiring whilst putting some practical use in for my business and marketing course has been unreal.”  Chris also features prominently in the AFLUA Instagram videos, quite happily dressed in a singlet to show off his ‘fresh from the gym guns’.

According to Chris, the greatest influence on his career to date has been the ‘old fossil’ John Morris who provides him with lots of good ideas and feedback. “He is also very honest which is a positive in umpiring.”  Glenn Sinclair also stays in touch and provides plenty of positive advice and encouragement.  Chris also acknowledged the support of his family and fiancé in shaping his umpiring career to date.

Chris approaches each game with no pre-game rituals or superstitions.  With increased travel this year, he doesn’t want to make things difficult for himself, he just does what he needs to make himself feel happy and relaxed.  He does however admit to enjoying a cup of strong straight black tea before a game now. 

Chris travelled to Geelong last week with his gear bag plus another bag filled with shoes. When asked to explain, Chris sheepishly admitted he was taking four pairs of shoes to the ground due to the unpredictable weather forecast for the game.  His bag contained a heavy cushioned pair, boots, racing spikes and a light racing shoe.  One can say Chris was prepared for what mother nature might throw at him during the game.

Chris is taking his 200th game in his stride.  He is excited about umpiring at the Adelaide Oval in front of a parochial Port Adelaide crowd. His fiancée and family will be there in spirit and will attend his game next week to celebrate his 201st game.

All the best Chris for a fantastic and well deserved 200th game!

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


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