James is one of many umpires who have been influenced by their father’s career as an umpire and began his career with the AFL Brisbane juniors in 2005. He was the Under 15 National Schoolboys All-Australian umpire in 2008, umpired in the Northern Territory League in the 2010/11 season before making his NEAFL debut in 2012.

He made an immediate impact by umpiring the QAFL grand final in 2012 before sustaining a foot injury which kept him out of the 2013 and 2014 seasons. He returned in 2015 and umpired in the U16 National Championships and the 2015 QAFL grand final.  In 2016, he was chosen to be part of the U18 National Championships, umpired the NAB U18 All Star game at Punt Road on AFL Grand Final day in 2016 and was appointed to the NEAFL grand final. In 2017, James umpired in the inaugural AFLW competition and was awarded the AIS National Officiating Scholarship.

His career highlight to date was umpiring the 2016 NEAFL grand final with the WSU Giants beating Sydney in a thriller by 4 points. 

James is a primary school teacher with Education Queensland and his interests include music of all varieties, golf, cycling and getting away to the Sunshine Coast. He rates Déjà vu as having the best eggs benedict and view on the Sunshine Coast.  James also rates himself in the kitchen and says he can cook a rather delicious Thai green curry. 

James is highly motivated to be the best he can be and is continually trying to improve himself on and off the field.  His family play a large motivating role and he sees his father as being the most influential person on his career to date. “Dad has always encouraged me to pursue my umpiring but at the same time, he has kept me level headed and focusing on what the important things are.”  He also acknowledges Chris Fawcett, a fellow umpire in Queensland who has mentored him since age 13 and has helped with very honest and open feedback. 

We welcome James to the AFL Rookie Squad for 2018.  Enjoy your year!

Article written by: AFLUA Marketing and Communications Coordinator, Peter Kelly