History will be made when South Australian based AFL boundary umpire, Mark ‘Thomo’ Thomson walks onto the Gabba for the Brisbane v Adelaide game on Sunday 28th June, when he officially breaks the record for the most games umpired as a VFL/AFL boundary umpire with 405 games.
One of his good mates, and current AFL Boundary Umpire Coach Darren Wilson held the record for 4 years and will be one of the first to congratulate Mark on his outstanding achievement.
Mark umpired his first AFL game in Round 1 between Adelaide and Sydney in 1996 and then only umpired another 3 AFL games in that season. In 1997, he achieved 14 games, 11 games in 1998 and 10 games in 1999. At the time, South Australia boasted an elite boundary squad, so every spot was earned.
Thomo’s game tally includes 36 AFL finals and 6 AFL Grand Finals in 2009, 2010, 2010 Replay, 2011, 2014 and 2018. He was the emergency grand final boundary umpire in 2005 and 2008.
In the history of VFL/AFL football, only 4 umpires (field, boundary and goal) have umpired more games than Mark. Thomo’s consistency and performance is best illustrated by the fact he has umpired a final for every 9.6 AFL games.
Mark has also umpired International Rules series matches in 1999, 2001, 2005 and 2017, the 2006 pre-season grand final and he toured England in 2003 and Shanghai in 2010 to umpire post season exhibition matches. He has also umpired 3 Anzac Day matches.
Mark was presented with his AFLUA Life Membership in 2009. He was awarded the Murray Williams Shield in 2011, voted by his peers as the best boundary umpire both on and off the field in that year.
For the statistical buffs, Thomo has umpired 52% of his games on Saturday; 31% on Sunday, 14% on Friday and 3% on Thursday. No Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday games. He has had Adelaide as the home team on 161 occasions and Port Adelaide on 162 occasions with 221 games at Football Park and 102 at Adelaide Oval, two amongst 16 venues he has umpired at.
He has umpired alongside Simon Meredith the most with 49 games, Brett Rosebury and Justin Schmitt 43 games and Ray Chamberlain with 41 games. In the goals, Steve Axon has waved the flags in 145 of his games with Daniel Hoskin 78, Leo Corrieri 74 and Peter Challen 71. Not surprisingly, Darren Wilson has run the white line in 160 games, closely followed by Jonathan Creasy on 143 and Chris Bull on 104.
His longevity is further exemplified by the fact he has umpired alongside 99 field umpires, 71 boundary umpires and 60 goals umpires during his 25 years on the list.
On behalf of the AFLUA’s Executive team, members, staff and life members, congratulations Thomo on a fantastic achievement and we wish you all the best on Sunday afternoon.