Over 25,000 people attended the 2014 EJ Whitten legends match at Etihad Stadium on July 1.
The game into its 19th year is about giving a clear message about men’s health – to men.
Ted Whitten Jnr comes into the rooms before each game and spends 5 minutes urging all men in the room to consider their health and asks them to get checked regularly. His passion about the cause is evident for all to see, and with good reason.
We had three new umpires in our team on the night and we saw the return of a couple of legends of the past. Boundary umpire Alan Hammond stepped in at the last moment to replace the injured Glenn Sinclair. Alan umpired 105 games between 1986 and 1993 including 6 finals and the 1988 and ’89 grand finals. He was awarded honorary life membership in 1996.
Mark Prince was also a late call up for the injured John Russo. Mark umpired 59 matches between 1993 and 1997. He umpired on the VFL/AFL list for fourteen years and was made a life member in 1993. The last of our debutants was field umpire Shaun Ryan. Shaun only recently retired and looked like he could still run around in the AFL today, such is his fitness. Shaun umpired 215 games between 2003 and 2011 which included 25 finals and 5 grand finals. He was awarded his life membership in 2012.
Peter Cameron was involved for the 19th straight year and made sure he returned from overseas a few days before the event so he could be in attendance. Peter’s role has been modified to acknowledge his age, so he coaches the boys from the bench. What Pete is able to do is provide the umpires taking part an understanding of the role they play in the game so it isn’t “over umpired” and that we play our part in the staged spectacle.
Alan and Mark spoke to the group after the game about their experience and it highlighted to us all just how much they appreciated their time in the game and what the legends game does is let them experience that again. They were both very honoured to be allowed to participate in the event.
Pictured – Back row: Mark Prince, Allan Grant, Rod Davies, Mark Powell, Roger Selwood
Second row: Scott McLaren, Gordon Muir