Field umpire Matthew Young recently reflected on his maiden AFL match, after his introduction to the big stage arrived in Round 3 (Season 2023) during the Gold Coast v. Geelong match at Carrara (Heritage Bank Stadium).
Matthew commenced umpiring with the AFL Brisbane Juniors Football League, and has been going strong for 18 years – with notable umpiring experiences in the NEAFL, VFL, VFLW and AFLW competitions to his credit. He had been promoted to the AFL Field Umpires’ Rookies’ List in 2022, and was included in the Seniors’ List ahead of this season.
Looking back on the landmark occasion of his AFL debut in front of over 13,000 spectators, Matthew noted, “It’s been a long journey, so it was very fulfilling to finally get there and do my first [AFL] game.
“It was a sense of satisfaction [and] also enjoyment to be able to share it with my fellow umpires, and after the game, with my friends and family from Brisbane and then Melbourne as well.
“It was very much a sense of fulfilment that everything that I worked towards had paid off.”
Matthew took to the field alongside Simon Meredith, Nic McGinness and Paul Rebeschini as part of his AFL debut matchday panel. He recalled having previously umpired with Nic and Paul in the State Leagues.
Banking on his three colleagues’ collective experiences was an advantage, which made the transition easier. Matthew noted, “It made me feel like there was no anxiety for me around ‘I haven’t umpired with these [umpires] before…It’s going to take us a quarter or a half to get things under control’. Right from the go, when you are on the same page as each other, that was one less thing for me to worry about.”
Getting an opportunity to step up to the AFL Rookies’ list in 2022 had been another benefit, he highlighted, as the comprehensive resources available for umpire training and coaching, and experiencing the matchday processes first-hand, added to his learning curve in the top-flight. “It certainly gives you an understanding of what’s required, that you don’t get from watching either in the stands or on TV,” Matthew said.
Congratulations, Matthew, on your debut. We wish you the very best for the season ahead.
# Featured image – Matthew Young (Image credit: CATS MEDIA)