Umpiring 50 AFL games is an achievement not to be sneezed at (in your elbow please!) and Alistair ‘Molly’ Meldrum joined that elite circle when he umpired his 50th AFL game at the Gold Coast v Port Adelaide game on Saturday 21st March 2020.
Alistair joined the AFL list in 2016 and was fortunate to have two experienced colleagues on the list – Tristan Symes and Shaun Apted who helped him settle in up in Queensland. He umpired his first AFL game on the Gold Coast on 23 April 2016 with North Melbourne beating Gold Coast by 38 points. He became the 343rd goal umpire to officiate in a VFL/AFL match.
His credentials speak for themselves – prior to joining the AFL, he umpired the NEAFL Grand Finals in 2014 and 2015 and was awarded the Queensland Goal Umpire of the Year in both 2014 and 2015. Other highlights in his career include the NEAFL Northern Conference Finals in 2012 and 2013.
Alistair’s career highlight was his trip to China with Tristian and Shaun in 2018 which provided a very different build up and experience. It also provided him with one of his funniest moments in umpiring – when travelling to China, Shaun decided he needed more leg room and decided to pay $80 for an upgrade. When Tristian and Alistair checked in, they were given seats next to Shaun for free. No exchange or refund for the hapless Shaun.
Like many goal umpires, Alistair umpires to get the best seat in the house. He is proud of his commitment and being part of a professional team in Queensland. A big learning for Alistair, said tongue in cheek, is that a goal equals 6 points. You can see why Queensland closed their borders – to retain their comedians in the state. On the employment front, Alistair is a registered pharmacist practicing in south east Queensland.
Alistair’s most memorable game to date was the Brisbane v Geelong match in round 22, 2019 with the Lions winning a thriller in front of a packed house by one point. Who can forget when at the 32.26 mark, Lincoln McCarthy flew and took an absolute screamer. With 84 seconds remaining he put the Lions in front against his former side.
Being a relatively new kid on the block, Alistair now finds himself as being the most experienced goal umpire in Queensland with two new umpires joining the Queensland panel in 2020 – Jesse Baird and Matthew Bridges. It will be an interesting time with two teams in Queensland and the possibility of both teams from South Australia and Western Australia relocating to the Gold Coast for the next few rounds of football when the season resumes. Knowing Alistair, he will cherish any challenge thrown his way and we wish him all the best for game 51 and beyond.