The AFLUA awards evening saw eighty members and guests pack into the Pumphouse function room on Sunday evening to celebrate the achievements of our major award winners and say good bye to those members whose careers drew to a close.

AppletonGoal umpire, Chris Appleton made it back to back Leigh Keen Shields as the best goal umpire, voted by his peers.  Chris umpired the 2015 grand final and represented his colleagues on the leadership group.  Shane Thiele made a stellar year better by winning the Murray Williams Shield as the best boundary umpire.  Shane umpired in his first final series and represented the boundary umpires on the AFLUA executive.  Field umpire Matt Stevic, also a 2015 grand final umpire took out his first Bishop Shield.  AFLUA CEO, Peter Howe said, “voting by peers went to the wire this season as a very good group of candidates were nominated.  This is one of the few opportunities colleagues get to rate their peers and these awards have become very prestigious.”

Two of the three best first or second year umpire award recipients came from NSW in what has to be something of a coup for that small enclave of AFL umpires.  Goal umpire, Brodie Kenny-Bell won the Brian Pratt Medallion as the best goal umpire and Dan Field-Read won the Bill Sutton Medallion as the best boundary umpire.

Dan said on his award win, “I would like to thank the AFLUA, my coaches and indeed everyone in the AFL structure for their support and confidence in me.  Dan went on to thank his Sydney team mates, Michael, Rob and Liam for their support and guidance over the last few years.”  Dan was indeed very grateful for his opportunity to umpire AFL footy.

Brodie expressed his surprise at winning the award.  “Looking back at previous recipients of this award it is a privilege to win it.  Brian Pratt was a true inspiration with his hard work and dedication towards not only umpiring and coaching but also his contribution to the AFLUA.” 

Field umpire, Andrew Stephens won the best first or second year field umpire award.

Other presentations on the night saw Michael Quinlivan, Chris Kamolins, Daniel Wilson, Chris Donlon made life members.  Stuart Wenn was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his services to the association.

Jason Venkataya, Michael Hammond and Jason Armstrong were presented with retirement caricatures drawn by renowned cartoonist, Mark Knight. 

A full list of award winners history of the awards is available on the awards page

They were interviewed by MC, Stuart Wenn about their careers.  Michael who was definitely a quiet achiever during his time on the list was quizzed by Stuart about whether he had ever spoken in the whole time he was on the list?  He certainly put paid to that remark.  Jason Venkataya spoke about diversity and the challenges he and others faced over many years being in elite sport in Australia. Jason agreed times are certainly better now.  Jason Armstrong recounted the funniest moment he had in footy related to the birth of his 3rd child, or was it his 4th?  He had to pull out of his game on the eve of the birth and met Stuart Wenn on a deserted road to exchange the paperwork.  In what must have looked very shady, a very large BMW was parked near a beat up old sedan where two men were seen exchanging a brown envelope.

All three were celebrated for their achievements, as were all of our grand final umpires and those umpires who achieved milestone games.  Umpires’ manager, Wayne Campbell was on hand to present those framed pictures on behalf of the AFL.

 Michael Hammond

Pictured: Retiree, Michael Hammond with AFLUA President Chris Kamolins

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