Packing his bags and saying goodbye to family and friends and then heading for Melbourne will be the first big step in Nathan Williamson’s pursuit of a career as a newly appointed AFL umpire. Well that’s what we thought!  Nathan has recently secured a short-term teaching contract in Perth and will remain until that assignment is completed, traveling to Melbourne for pre-season sessions prior to the commencement of his teaching term.

Having served as a Rookie umpire for two years in Perth, Nathan has a long history as a field umpire following in his dad’s footsteps as a country football umpire in Western Australia. As a twelve-year old, he started with the Peel Junior Football League before he joined the WAFL in 2011.  

2016 was a fantastic year for Nathan as he ticked all the right boxes, both on and off the field. He officiated in a NAB Cup game between the Eagles and Gold Coast Suns, the WAFL grand final and was presented with the WAFL Umpire of the Year award. His reward, a phone call offering a two-year contract from AFL National Development Manager of Umpiring Adam Davis.  Off field, Nathan will graduate this month with a Bachelor of Health and Physical Education and hopes to teach when he is settled in Melbourne.

Nathan’s two years as a Rookie umpire has been an invaluable learning experience, especially being involved on game day and using the match day communication system. “You learn so much from observing and hearing how each team of umpires work together and interpret different things that happen on the field.”

Nathan looks up to and respects all of the umpires at AFL level. He takes a number of different things from different umpires including the intensity of Matt Stevic on field, the composure Brett Rosebury shows on and off the ground and the work ethic of Jeff Dalgleish. 

Nathan’s prime motivators are being in a professional environment that values respect. “I love hearing stories and past experiences, especially from the olden days.” He also enjoys challenging himself and giving 100%, as another motivational factor for him. 

He cites Matt Kelleher as the most influential person in his umpiring career. “He has been so selfless and has not only helped me become a better umpire but a better person as well.”

Nathan also acknowledges the support of WAFL coaches Darryl Sinclair, Gareth Parker and Craig O’Donoghue, all of the match day coaches and everyone at the WANFLUA and Peel Football League Umpires’ Association. 

Nathan likes to head to the beach to chill out, cook, catch up with friends, camping and hopes to further enhance his skills as a surfer. 

Congratulations Nathan on your appointment and we look forward to welcoming you to Melbourne after your teaching stint early next year.

Article written by: AFLUA Marketing and Communications Coordinator, Peter Kelly

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