“The term ‘legend’ is widely misused nowadays.  But, ‘legend’ is such an apt description for our latest Legend, David Flegg AM.”

So said goal umpiring stalwart Leigh Keen (heritage #179), who was befittingly tasked with formally inducting David Flegg to the status of Legend in the AFLUA Umpiring Hall of Fame.

‘Fleggy’ as he is colloquially known, is an umpiring man through and through.

Across a 22-season career, Flegg (heritage #240) umpired 337 AFL games, including 19 finals and three Grand Finals. David’s on-field successes were rewarded with seven Leigh Keen Shields for Goal Umpire of the Year and selection as an All-Australian Umpire in 2006.

Flegg notes Jason McCartney’s comeback game as high highlight behind the goals. As a North Melbourne supporter, he said he was privileged to “be part of a great moment, to be part of a great goal.”

Despite his on-field success as a goal umpire, it is off the field where David has made such a profound impact for the AFLUA and umpiring overall.

As a research librarian by trade, since 1994 Flegg has been the Association’s historian and statistician, providing an invaluable record of umpiring history.

“We all have a passion for football, and I certainly have a passion for the history of it.”

Additionally, Flegg has been a contributor to the Annual Report since 1994, a Hall of Fame sub-committee member since 2005, and the assiduous writer of obituaries for the AFLUA since 1998.

Most of Flegg’s off-field work for the Association has been in a voluntary or honorary capacity; his enormous donations of time and effort make him one of the most respected members of the umpiring fraternity.

Flegg has been honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the AFLUA, and, in 2019 was awarded an Australian Medal by then Governor of Victoria Linda Dessau for his services to umpiring.

As Leigh Keen contended, “above all this though, is David’s passion and genuine care for umpires and umpiring.”

“He is the heart & soul of the AFLUA and is respected amongst the umpiring fraternity at large as one of the all-time great contributors to umpiring in Australia.”

For Flegg, the source of his hard work, dedication, and effort is the same as all those that shared the room with him on the Hall of Fame induction night: love for the game.

“I’ve loved umpiring and I’ve loved the people involved in umpiring.”

“To be honoured by your peers… I’m humbled. But having said that, I’m proud.

 

Article By Jackson Kerr

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