Matthew was attracted to umpiring because he saw it as a way of having someone pay him to be fit, rather than the other way around, and so began his career as firstly a field umpire, then a goal umpire, with him reaching the AFL panel for season 2020.

Whilst fitness was the ultimate goal in the early days, it’s now about the friendships and the people you meet along the way.

Matthew’s career highlight to date was umpiring the 2019 AFLW Grand Final in front of 53,000 screaming fans at Adelaide Oval.  Whilst a highlight, one of his more interesting experiences was being on the bench for the 2018 NEAFL grand final where a head count was undertaken (one team has an extra player on for a few minutes but no penalty was applied).

Some of Matthew’s career highlights to date include:

  • 250 games of field umpiring for AFL Brisbane Juniors
  • 2015 QAFL Seniors Grand Final
  • 2016 and 2017 U16 National Championships
  • 2017 U18 National Championships
  • 2017 NEAFL Goal Umpire of the year
  • 2017 NEAFL Grand Final
  • 2018 and 2019 AFLW panel
  • 2018 and 2019 NEAFL Grand Final – emergency goal umpire
  • 2019 AFL Brisbane Juniors lead Field Umpire coach
  • 2019 AFLW Grand Final
  • 2019 NEAFL season – 50 game milestone

Matthew believes Queensland, in terms of a training environment, has come ahead in leaps and bounds in the last couple of years and is now one of the best training environments as everyone is driving for improvement and the group is very inclusive.

Being a self-described perfectionist and having a competitive drive, Matthew admits this has sometimes been to his detriment, but it’s been a good learning process to work out how to channel that into something that is beneficial to himself and his peers.  His advice to up and coming umpires is to use your coaches and leaders of your umpiring group as they are invaluable sources of knowledge.  In his view, there is no such thing as a bad question, unless of course, you ask it more than once.

Matthew works for Tourism Media in the Development Team.  It’s a small company that contracts for Expedia, providing them with a significant proportion of their rich media (photos, videos, text etc).  A dream job as it compliments his hobbies and interests which are landscape photography and travel.

Welcome to the AFL panel Matthew.  We wish you all the best for the year ahead.

Article written by: AFLUA Marketing and Communications Coordinator, Peter Kelly


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