Boundary umpire, Mark Hill comes from good umpiring stock in South Australia. His father, Graeme was the fitness coach of the SA field umpires for a few years in the late 90’s. Graeme umpired before that at SANFL level as well as Amateur and country leagues. Mark recalled being a fixture in umpire’s rooms on game day from the time he was ten. However, Mark didn’t debut in the AFL from SA. Although he was part of the academy program in SA and worked through the ranks to an SANFL Grand Final, it was in Brisbane where he made the AFL panel in 2005. “I moved to Brisbane for a work opportunity and it was to be the first time I had left home. I needed to find myself.”
Mark Thomson, who presented “Hilly” with his award belied the myth that it is easier to get onto the panel in the less traditional states, “Hilly not only had to work harder to make the grade but he showed his true ability and worth by making the finals panel from that state.” Hilly umpired two finals in 2010 and sat as the emergency in the preliminary final that year. Mark went on to say that when Hilly returned to SA he more than held his own in that state panel which contained grand final umpires. “Mark was a true team man and I loved running with him. I knew he had my back. Hilly epitomised the umpires’ association values of honesty and commitment. When he was unfairly delisted, in the minds of some, at the end of 2013 the group got behind him to support him.”
Mark indicated that he loved being back around the group over dinner and was very pleased to know that the conversations hadn’t changed in the 12 months he had been gone. “I loved my time in umpiring you worked with a great bunch of guys. I’m lucky that I have close friends in both Brisbane and Adelaide now. To be honest I don’t know how much time I had left in me and being made a manager at work now has certainly changed my priorities. I love getting back around the guys and I wish you well in 2015.”
“A large thank you needs to go to my wife Sarah for her support and the sacrifices that she made to benefit me over my career. I’m thankful that my kids Zoe and Harrison were able to see dad run around a couple of times as they got old enough to comprehend,” stated a sincere Hilly. We wish him well.
Pictured: Mark Hill receiving his certificate from Mark Thomson.
Mark’s heritage number is 513. He umpired 134 games including 2 finals between 2005 and 2013. He was an associate member in 2014.