Underneath that warm welcoming smile and the apparent laid back style beats the heart of a man who is driven to be a perfectionist in everything he touches.
Nathan Doig umpired his 200th AFL game on the boundary last Thursday night in the Fremantle v Collingwood clash. His total games include 15 finals and 3 grand finals in 2011, ’13 and ’14. Nathan took a leave of absence from footy in 2012 to concentrate on his remedial massage business and had the opportunity to travel with Australian Olympian John Steffensen. “I didn’t take that decision lightly and sought a lot of feedback from colleagues and friends. There were no guarantees of getting back onto the list,” reflected Nathan today.
Nathan started umpiring in 2002 and following two WAFL grand finals in 2003 and ’04 was promoted to the AFL panel in 2005. “I was just lucky I guess, I was in the right place at the right time. I suppose my running ability had a bit to do with it.” Always underselling his skills, those who know him, also know when he commits to something he won’t put it down easily.
“I like to challenge myself all of the time. I want to be the best I can be at what ever I do.” Nathan is lucky because football doesn’t define him. He loves to run, and as another challenge he competed in an ironman event this past summer. He has an old Morris mini car that he is painstakingly restoring and he is awaiting the birth of his first child.
“In my business I place as much importance on the mum who runs for fun and needs my support as I do on the finely tuned athletes who come to me for remedial massage they are all trying o go he bet out of themselves. I probably learned more about myself by treating John Steffensen. You can never stop learning in life.”
Nathan credits his rise through the ranks to the care his colleagues took of him. “Ben Brown would drive me to training, I was still only 16. Every drive would be a coaching session about where to stand and what to do. I learned my lessons. Greg Smith, George Pampacos, Jamie Giles all supported me as did my coach at the time Sean Fairfoul.”
“I watch a lot of the guys and take things from their games to improve mine. I draw a lot from positive people but I also know that I have to cop feedback when it comes my way. It’s the only way to continue to improve, and that’s what it’s all about.”