Matthew Dervan has doubled his All-Australian tally, after being chosen as the All-Australian Goal Umpire for 2022 at the recent AFL awards.
Matthew had umpired in the 2020 AFL Grand Final, and collected his first All-Australian blazer the same year.
Since his initiation to umpiring in 2010 with VAFA, he has scripted a steady rise to the top flight. After his appearances in the 2014 and 2015 VFL Grand Finals, and the 2014 VFL Goal Umpire of the Year award, he made his AFL debut in 2016, and has racked up 136 career AFL matches so far.
Matthew also won the 2017 Brian Pratt Medallion, and was an Emergency in the 2017 and 2018 AFL Grand Finals.
Comparing his two All-Australian awards as “contrasting experiences”, he said, “My first one in 2020 was probably more relief. This year, this one’s more of an enjoyment.”
It was a relief for him to be appointed for his first AFL Grand Final in 2020 (“a life goal from when I started umpiring”, as he noted), after his two earlier appointments as an Emergency, and claiming his maiden All-Australian award subsequently.
However, he has been able to celebrate his second All-Australian award more, and “enjoy the acknowledgement and the support of my peers, which was absolutely fantastic. Being able to share that with them was the most special part.
“It was quite an overwhelming experience being involved in such a profiled night on the AFL events calendar. It’s a privilege, and the experience the AFL provided for us as part of the All-Australian Awards was an unforgettable and surreal experience.
“It’s a great promotion for what we do, and a great acknowledgement of our contribution to the [AFL] industry. So, [thanks] to the AFL for allowing that opportunity for us, and the AFL Umpires Association for their support.”
Taking to the field as an AFL Goal Umpire for several years, Matthew noted how his approach to umpiring has changed, and for the better, “This year, I have tried to not overthink my performance [and] simplify how I perform on the field, and go out and enjoy the game for what it is.
“I have shifted my mindset to a process-based approach instead of an outcome-based approach. It’s worked pretty well.”
On the back of his latest umpiring recognition, Matthew credited the people who have supported him so far, the guidance and nurturing from VAFA during the formative years as an umpire, and the ongoing support of his family.
His second All-Australian honour is now providing him with more motivation to continue driving higher standards as a Goal Umpire, Matthew noted.
Congratulations, Matthew, and we look forward to seeing you progress further in the years ahead.
# To view the full list of All-Australian Goal Umpires since 2005, please visit https://aflua.com.au/awards/all-australian-umpires/
# Featured Image: Matthew Dervan during the 2018 AFL Round 19 match between Essendon and Sydney Swans at Etihad Stadium. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media)