The AFL lists were finalised a week before round one commenced bringing something old and many things new.
Cameron Ward, returned to training pre christmas with a long term view to regaining his spot on the AFL panel, following his return from two years overseas. Right time, right place and in full fitness, Cameron was listed to resume his AFL career sooner rather than later.
Adam Bastick resumed his career in WA after one season on the panel in 2012. Adam never lost sight of his dream to umpire AFL footy and worked very hard in his 2013 year back in the WAFL to regain his spot this season.
Rose O’Dea (goal, ACT), Robert Whitehead (goal, Qld) , Michael Craig (goal, Vic.) all got their first taste of AFL football when they sat as emergency umpires in round one. Mark Ensbey (goal, Tas.) was added to the AFL list last week as a replacement for Courtney Lai who is still recovering from his surgery following his round 2 clash, last year that required a knee reconstruction.
Pat Tongue returned to the field after missing a large part of 2013 following eye surgery. Josh Mather (boundary, Vic.) is hoping his first AFL game will not be too far away.
Field umpire Ray Chamberlain is back following his round 14 injury last year that kept him sidelined for the last part of season 2013. Newly listed field umpires, Andrew Stephens (Qld) makes the list following two seasons as a rookie umpire and Robert O’Gorman takes the last spot following his first trial.
Joel Harris gains his first contract as a rookie field umpire and Ben Lehner is into his second contract. Both are from Tasmania. Liam Rowe from Sydney is rewarded for his good pre-season form with his first rookie field contract and Brent Pawley earned his second contract.
Brent Wallace who is into his third season following the player to umpire pathway has been listed as a rookie for his first contract. Brent comes off his first season in the VFL where he umpired the Development League grand final.
Leigh Haussen and Curtis Deboy (SA), Justin Orr and Scott McPhee (WA) and Andrew Talbot (VIC) have also been listed as rookie field umpires again in 2014.
Boundary umpire, Damien Cusack became the 557th boundary umpire to officiate in a VFL/AFL game when he debuted in the St.Kilda v. Melbourne match at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night. Damien has had to cool his heels in the VFL for many years as he perfected his craft. Damien has umpired 138 senior VFL games including the 2012 and 2013 grand finals.