What a great gesture from the Bulldogs and Geelong players to form a guard of honour to recognise Shane McInerney’s record breaking game. It showed all class from two teams who genuinely respect the role of officials.
However, I must have a crack at our own. I cannot believe that Shane Thiele, Pat Jackson, Ben McDonald, Chelsea Roffey and Dan Wilson didn’t offer to chair Shane off! Mitch Lefevre could’ve done it on his own piggy back style. Where were Matt Stevic and Nick Brown when they were needed, even emergency field umpire Craig Fleer was seen heading straight into the rooms when the final siren sounded? ………….. on reflection it could’ve ended badly and was probably a wise decision.
Boundary umpire, Chris Gordon umpired his 250th game up on the Gold Coast to share it with long time best mate, Drew Kowalski. As always Gordo just goes under the radar but is an absolute gun! His 250 games include 23 finals and three grand finals. It is an imposing record for someone still so young! Gordo’s games to finals ratio is very “special.” A final for every 10.4 games is certainly elite. Well done Gordo.
First games are just as special and for field umpire Andrew Heffernan it was just that. Andrew umpired his first game at the MCG in a thriller where Melbourne got up by 5 points. Andrew becomes the 445th field umpire to officiate in a VFL/AFL game. Heff reflected on his game today, “Many of my friends and extended family came to the “G” on Sunday to see me realise my dream. The team was great on the day and supported me fully. Hayden and Heath Ryan made a presentation to me pre match. I am looking forward to travelling to the Gold Coast this weekend.” Andrew was elevated to the full panel in late March following his excellent AFLW form following the retirement of Scott Jeffery in February.
Taking a quick look on our injury front it is good to see Dillon Tee back into VFL senior football after two games in the NAB Under 18 competition. Fellow boundary umpire Pat Cran hasn’t had much joy since returning from China. He injured a calf on a training run and hasn’t been seen on the ground since. Two of our veteran field umpire’s, Shaun Ryan and Chris Donlon are still in rehab following serious leg injuries in games over the past few weeks.
How lucky is Leigh Haussen or is he just the “go to” man in a crisis. Leigh has been recalled to the senior panel in each of the last four games to cover for an injury or an illness. The latest was last weekend when Hayden Gavine woke on Sunday prior to the Kangaroos v Saints game like he had been hit by a bus. Hayden had the courage to acknowledge that he would not do justice to the game and pulled out with illness. Leigh just happened to be the emergency on the day and slipped in seamlessly. Some of his colleagues are wondering if there may be more than coincidence here?