Michael (Mara) Marantelli walked onto Etihad Stadium for the St Kilda v Greater Western Sydney clash at Etihad Stadium for his 150th AFL Match.
Just like his athletic running ability, Michael’s career to date has flown by. Five years and 7 games to be exact, since Mara umpired his first AFL match between Melbourne and Sydney at the MCG. He also goes into the history books for this as this match was a draw. Not a bad way to start your career!
Within 150 AFL matches, Mara has umpired in 13 finals, 1 night Grand Final, 2 AFL Grand Finals, 2 draws and 2 ANZAC day matches. That is a seriously elite CV within such a short period of time. It is no fluke that Mara has been able to succeed and perform week in week out at the elite level. When I asked Mara what his best asset or key to success was, he told me that for him, a strong fitness base makes every other area, including injury prevention, considerably easier. This also makes it considerably harder for the rest of us to keep up!! although this is just one of the strong leadership qualities and standards Mara brings to the umpiring group.
When you have had a lot of success in a short period of time, it can be easy to rest on your laurels. Not for Mara, the lure of another day to remember on the last Saturday in September is certainly a driving point for him.
Mara is also a great team man who loves spending time with the friendships he has made amongst the group. He is universally liked amongst his peers which suggests he is just as willing to put time and effort into his colleagues as he is into his training and preparation for umpiring. Mara told me that he loves the fact that Umpiring provides a unique situation where you have all the fun and comradery associated with a team environment while still providing the opportunity for everyone to strive for individual success.
Mara, we look forward to your next milestone when I am sure we can add to this illustrious CV you have already produced. Congratulations.
Umpiring Colleague & Marketing & Communications Intern.