It’s the phone call every aspiring AFL Umpire wants to receive..
Lachlan Rayner, despite missing out on being elevated to the AFL Boundary Squad at the end of season 2015 was called on Friday 15 January and told, that as a result of Shane Jones’ retirement he would be promoted to the AFL list and expected at training the following Tuesday.
From there, Lachlan admits it has been a ‘bit surreal’. Whilst his first night of training was amazing, it felt a bit like he was attending AFL training as a VFL umpire like he did in 2015.”It doesn’t feel like I am on the list yet. After so many years of aspiring to become an AFL umpire, it happened so quickly and it hasn’t quite sunk in yet.”
Lachlan does admit that after doing the VFL grand final in 2015 and finishing as AFL Victoria’s ‘Umpire of the Year’, he was fairly confident of a placement on the AFL list.”When I was told I didn’t make it, I was disappointed given I’d done everything asked of me”. However, he turned to AFL Victoria Umpires’ Coach Cameron Nash and sought advice on any extras he could do to prepare for that big step to the AFL. “Cameron suggested I stay positive, train hard and not lose sight of my goals.”
Lachlan is already enjoying the different type of training which focuses more on strength and conditioning. “Whilst I am a natural runner, I find the strengthening aspects will benefit me in the medium to long term and compliment my running style”.
He acknowledges the impact that AFL Victoria Boundary Coach Matthew Vitiritti has provided to his career, “Matthew has been outstanding. He is completely professional and you know exactly where you stand with him. He has been instrumental in my success at VFL level and I can’t thank him enough.”
Lachlan had some words of advice for umpires wanting to make the AFL. “Always be open to receiving feedback in a positive way and umpire to your strengths. Turn negative feedback into a positive for you.”
He is looking forward to see what 2016 brings. “I am excited about the challenge ahead of me. I am starting at the bottom again and from there, there is only one way to go.”
Article written by: AFLUA Marketing and Communications Coordinator, Peter Kelly