Ask anyone involved in boundary umpiring whom the “bridesmaid” will be come finals time and the universal response will be “Jonesy.”
In his seven years on the AFL panel, Shane has finished the season ranked 17th on four occasions and 18th on one other. It’s got to the stage where he is known as “Richmond,” because he always finishes one place short of a finals berth!
However, unlike his nickname he has been brought into the finals twice as the standby umpire. “I was on smoko on Friday of the first round of finals in 2010, my second year on the list and I got a call asking if I could umpire that night. What do you think I said? Jonathan Creasey pulled out that morning at 9am. Three years later, the same thing happened. Mark Foster pulled out ill on the morning of the Collingwood v. Port Adelaide final and I got another call up.”
Shane agrees that pre-season training has never been his strong suit and that former AFL field umpire Brett Ritchie really made him work and realise the benefits of a strong pre-season. “It is tough not being a natural runner. I’m all about game day but as I get older I realise that I have to work harder and smarter, if I am to get the best out of myself,” reflected Shane.
In October this year Shane moves to his other passion, cricket. He takes over as the coach of the Deer Park cricket team, playing in the VTCA following a year as the assistant coach last season. “I bat at number four and come on as the first change bowler. I have certainly matured and I look forward to working with the guys. We played off in the grand final last season but got beaten.”
Shane’s other sporting passion away from footy is snooker. As a youngster he was ranked third in Australia. “I played pennant with Yarraville for a while and enjoyed that but I can’t find the time to play much anymore unfortunately.”
Footy has changed a lot in the past seven years. Shane came onto the AFL panel at 19 years of age in a meteoritic rise through the ranks. “We’d turn up at 6.15pm train have a rub and go home. Now we start at 5.30pm we have meetings, leadership groups, core strength and stability exercises, coaching sessions and then a rub and we go home. But I love it and all of the guys in it. Umpiring has given me a great opportunity to get on in life and meet some amazing people.
Shane congratulations on achieving 150 AFL games at the young age of 26. I wonder what’s next?