Matthew Tomkins – 200 AFL Games

Matt started his career with the Essendon District Football League in 2005 when a mate who ran athletics with him suggested he give it a try.  He completed two years at Essendon before he joined the VFL in 2007.  Five years later he umpired the 2011 VFL grand final and was appointed to the AFL squad in 2012.

His first AFL game was Essendon v North Melbourne in round one with the Bombers holding on to win a thriller by 2 points in front of 45,000 fans at Docklands.

Matt quickly made an impact and was rewarded with his first AFL grand final in 2014, backing it up again in 2015 and 2019.  His three grand finals are career highlights but having his daughter at last year’s grand final and being able to share that moment, is something he will cherish forever.

To date, Matt has umpired 20 finals, an average of one every 10 games umpired, a truly fantastic effort.  He attributes his success to the umpires around him, “It’s a highly driven group who won’t allow complacency and this has driven me to be the best l can be.”

In managing his performance during the year, he focuses on working hard on the training track and spending time doing the extra recovery.  He admits this season has been real testing with the recent condensed fixture.

Matt admits that in preparing for games he checks his bag far too many times before leaving home and puts his umpiring top on two minutes before umpires walk out onto the ground. 

Matt loves boundary umpiring as it allows him to combine two of his passions – footy and running. He also enjoys the comradeship amongst the boundary squad and the challenges each game throws at him.  His favourite ground is the MCG because as a kid he vividly remembers going to games with his family and wanting to be out there. He admits being out there never loses its aura.

Since starting with the AFL, Matt believes the biggest change he’s noticed is the game plans of teams.  Clubs are meticulous with their strategy and will try to get any advantage against their opponent. 

His funniest moment featured on the internet when he was cleaned up by Matt Pavlich and Ted Richard in a final in Perth back in 2015.  Luckily, he wasn’t injured and continued umpiring to finish out the game.

Matt admires any athlete that uses his/her platform to make the world a better place.  He cites recent examples of NBA players speaking up about social justice issues and elite runner Eliud Kipchoge.

A well-deserved milestone Matt.  We wish you continued success for the remainder of the year.

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