Boundary Umpire Chris Gordon’s 2022 All-Australian honour comes as an incredible achievement, which he described as a reflection piece of his umpiring journey that began almost 20 years ago.
Chris commenced umpiring with the Southern Umpires Association in 2003. Looking back, at that time, the prospect of receiving an All-Australian award someday “would have been one of shock, one of disbelief”, he said.
“One of the first days I rolled into Southern Umpires Association, I remember walking into their changerooms and they had all the framed photos of every umpire who had been at Southern Umpires Association, and who had then made an AFL game.
“I looked at those photos, and I thought, ‘Man, that’s a long way off. I haven’t even umpired one game yet, and look at all these guys!’.”
Fast forward to 2022, and Chris has gathered an incredible track record running the boundary. After his AFL debut in 2009, he has clocked 322 AFL career matches, two Bill Sutton Medallion awards (2009 and 2010) and five AFL Grand Finals.
Chris mentioned he was nervous when he received the phone call from Dan Richardson (AFL’s Head of Umpiring), thinking he had done something wrong, or something had happened. But it eventually brought the good news of his All-Australian success.
“I was very much in shock, and it’s only post the All-Australian Award being awarded on Wednesday night (24 August 2022, at Melbourne’s Centrepiece), is where it’s hit home a lot – the actual magnitude of achieving this and what it’s meant to me,” Chris recalled.
As someone who is committed to relentlessly strive and be better, to go out every game and give his best, Chris said, “I guess the secret is just being honest with myself, and improving every year and taking what the positives are out of that, and making it stronger again.
“It certainly motivates me and continues to make me be better – a better person, a better umpire, [and] a better role model.”
This attitude has seen him going strong so far, with his triple ton already reached and now his All-Australian honour to boot.
Congratulatory messages have come in from the elite Umpiring fraternity, including AFLUA Hall of Fame inductees Rob Haala, Glenn Sinclair and John Morris. “These Umpires are legends, and paved the way and helped me learn the craft and be as good as I possibly can be. They were huge influences on my career,” Chris said.
He also singled out special praise for his immediate family – his parents, his sister and his wife – who have sacrificed a lot to support Chris and allow him to live his umpiring dream.
Chris also thanked the AFL and the AFLUA for collaborating to recognise the hard work of the Umpires through the All-Australian Award.
Well done, Chris, on achieving another significant milestone, and we wish you the very best going forward.
# To view the full list of All-Australian Boundary Umpires since 2005, please visit https://aflua.com.au/awards/all-australian-umpires/
# Featured Image: Chris Gordon during the 2019 AFL Round 16 match between Gold Coast Suns and Richmond at Metricon Stadium. (Photo by Jono Searle/AFL Photos via Getty Images)