I was left in no doubt after speaking to Matt Tomkins that his 100th game in Launceston last weekend was a significant milestone in his already illustrious career. “It was a special day, one that I will look back on fondly. My partner and my family came down for the weekend to make it that much more special,” reflected Matt.
Matt has achieved his 100 games in a little over four years and it has included 11 finals and the 2014/15 AFL grand finals. He has made every post a winner.
We caught up with him at 7.30am, already at work as a school teacher, wondering what he was doing there so early? “I have an agreement with my principal so I can get to training on time. It’s just what we all have to do now in this era.”
“It would be easy to sit back given my early success and just go through the motion, it’s not in my DNA. I was that kid in school who thought every PE class was the olympics. I am naturally competitive, it is what motivates me to be better.”
Matt sits down with his coach, Simon Leigh at the end of each season and has an honesty session. He also discusses his performances with his close knit group of colleagues. “I set a lot of small targets along the way, for example, I will have an ice-bath after every training session. It is easy to measure. Every training session is competitive among the guys. If you slip back by even 1 or 2% you will go from doing a grand final, to not even make the finals panel. If I do all of the small things, the big things will take care of themselves.”
When Matt first made the AFL in 2012 he looked at the successful guys on the list and took their lead. He has learned his lessons well. Matt doesn’t have a number of games or grand finals that he is aiming for, “I will continue to umpire until I lose my love of the game.”
Matt is just looking forward to umpiring his first ANZAC day game on Monday. “They say it’s pretty special, I can’t wait.”