Nathan started umpiring in 2002 and following two WAFL grand finals in 2003 and 2004, he was promoted to the AFL panel in 2005. His first AFL game was in Round 4 when he took to the field for the West Coast v Western Bulldogs game at Subiaco with the Eagles winning by 36 points.
His record speaks for itself. 300 AFL games including 6 Anzac Day clashes, 25 finals and 5 grand finals in 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2018. He received the Bill Sutton Medallion (Most Promising Boundary Umpire) in 2005, the Murray Williams Shield (Boundary Umpire of the Year) in 2018 and was named All-Australian Boundary Umpire in 2013 and 2018. He has become only the 15th boundary umpire to achieve 300 games in the history of the VFL/AFL and the 24th fastest VFL/AFL umpire to reach this milestone.
A natural runner, Nathan loves to the physical challenge of boundary umpiring and the desire to improve every week, not to mention the people he gets to umpire alongside. As the fourth most experienced boundary umpire, he acknowledges it does make him feel a little old, however, he still enjoys the build-up for each game he is appointed to. When asked what stands out as his favourite match, he wisely answered ‘the next one!’
The game has changed in a number of ways but basically it is two teams kicking a ball around trying to get a higher score by game’s end. However, the physical demands have increased a lot given the pace of the game and the professional skills of players. The professional nature of the game has also meant the umpiring group has become more of a team during a game.
With a career spanning so many years, Nathan is thankful to many people who have supported him along the way. He is particularly thankful to his parents; his mum having been to almost 200-250 of his games. His wife Ash and more recently his son Reggie have been supportive in their own way, often sacrificing family time together. Nathan also wanted to thank his coaches who have given him the opportunity, through their wise counsel and support, to do what he loves to do.
Covid-19 has affected everyone but Nathan has tried to focus on the positives by trying to do the best to help the game, noting that the football industry is an important part of the peoples’ lives, and provides a focus during difficult times.
Nathan loves the new stadium in Perth. Having spent most of his career at Subiaco, which was good but showing its age, he admits it was fantastic to be able to umpire in a new state of the art stadium, with its close proximity to fans and the deafening noise the crowd can make.
Congratulations Nathan on reaching your triple ton. We wish you continued success this season!