AFL goal umpire, Mark Canning becomes only the sixth goal umpire in VFL/AFL history to be appointed to 300 games. Mark is looking forward to walking out onto the Etihad surface at the traditional time of 2.10pm Saturday afternoon when North Melbourne plays Hawthorn in what could be a shoot out.

We have to go all the way back to 1986 when Mark gave away playing with Dandenong under 19’s and joined the Dandenong juniors as a goal umpire with a very young Anthony Black, who Mark credits as one of the biggest influences on his career. In 1990 he joined the AFL Supplementary Squad and umpired an under 19 grand final and an AFL reserves grand final before being promoted to the AFL list in 1994.

It has taken Mark 19 years to accumulate his 300 games which includes 19 finals and the 2006 and 2009 grand finals. He was emergency in the 2008 grand final.

Mark had to overcome severe hand burns and a long rehabilitation which included skin grafts to get to the starting line this season. The fact that he is umpiring is testimony to his resilience, determination and love of footy.

See Mark’s full story next week.

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