Since making his debut in front of 85,657 fans at the ANZAC Day Eve clash between Richmond and Melbourne at the MCG, Dylan Benwell has settled on the AFL list and recently notched up his 50th AFL game between St Kilda and West Coast on 10th September 2020 at the Gabba.
Like most umpires, season 2020 has thrown challenges his way. He agreed to participate in a Hub and was located for 10 weeks in mainly Perth and the Gold Coast with weekends away in Darwin and Cairns.
Dylan feels particularly privileged to be involved in football in some way by continuing to umpire this year. For Dylan, it has presented many opportunities to umpire at so many grounds across the country and to meet, get to know and umpire with umpires from all over Australia. It’s also been challenging as Dylan has had to juggle his work commitments and he misses his biggest supporters in his fiancé Steph, family and friends.
His biggest learning so far in his 50 AFL games is to have self-belief and to back yourself and be decisive; both in positioning and decision making. He loves the thrill of match-day where you soak up the excitement and anticipation as you walk out onto the ground and magic moments during a game. Whilst his most enjoyable game was his debut, he also felt Jack Newnes goal after the siren in the Fremantle v Carlton game, with the obligatory back bender, was something he won’t forget for a long time.
Dylan’s advice to up and coming goal umpires is to use the experience of those around you, through peers and coaches or a mentor at a higher level. Dylan has been fortunate to have people around him throughout his career who have supported him and provided advice on how he can continually improve both as a person and as an umpire.
In preparing for game time, Dylan use to have a few routines on match day, however now he has nothing in particular. This year more than ever Dylan has learned that flexibility in his preparation is key given the varying days and times of games. He says he is pretty relaxed on game day and in the rooms before a game.
Congratulations Dylan on your 50th AFL game!