My next “Where are they Now” is a gentleman not many umpires would know, but to the city umpires, field, boundary & goal, Noel Rose was our umpires’room attendant at the Melbourne Cricket Ground for a number of years.  As a part-time employee with the Melbourne Cricket Club, Noel was in charge of the umpires’ room with responsibility for valuables, paperwork, security and for making sure the pies were hot for post-match consumption.

Nothing was too much for Noel as he attended to umpires needs every weekend, sometimes working three matches each weekend at the MCG.  In recognition of his services to umpires, Noel was presented with AFLUA Life Membership in 2003.

Born to Jack and Doris Rose on the 23rdDecember 1942 at the Fairfield Private Hospital. In 1948 Noel attended Westgarth Primary School, participating in a number of activities that the school organised. Noel played the flute, joined the school band and it wasn’t long before he was made the captain of the school’s band. In his last year at the school, Noel represented his primary school at the State Schools Associated Games for Under 16’s pupils. The team, whose members were all 12 years of age, won the state title for the tunnel ball competition. 

Noel then attended Collingwood Technical School where he completed an apprenticeship in plumbing.It was during this time at Collingwood that Noel became involved with the Collingwood Baseball team in 1957, spending the next 10 years during the winter months scoring home runs for the Woodsmen. In 1960 Noel’s elder brother Jack enticed him to play with the Collingwood Cricket Club over the summer. Jack Rose was Captain of the Collingwood Cricket Club in the early 1960’s in the District Cricket Association, Premier League in Victoria. Noel played for four years and although he had some success reaching the second XI, his love for another sport took over.

Noel was a professional roller skater and referee.  Some oldies may remember the roller derby on TV where teams of skaters would attack each other in their effort to reach the finish line first. It had huge TV ratings at the time, however the novelty soon wore off and it disappeared from the TV screens.  

In 1963, Noel tried out ten-pin bowling and soon found he was quite a player. He became an instructor at the Northcote Bowling Alley eventually reaching the position of Duty Assistant Manager for the Alley.

Meanwhile over the winter months, Noel was performing quite well at baseball.  So much so, that in 1967, he was offered a position with the St Kilda Baseball Team.

In 1972, Noel applied for a position as a sales representative with a plumbing supplier called Watson & Crane. In 1974, Noel’s father, who was working for the Melbourne Cricket Club, told Noel that a job was available as an attendant in the umpires’ rooms at the MCG.  He interviewed for the position and was appointed.

Things were moving fast for Noel.  At about the same time, Noel attended a car rally at one of the Yarra Valley wineries and met a young lady Sandra and in 1976, they married in Bundoora. Today they have two grown children Scott and Jeffery.

Noel enjoyed his experience in the umpires’ rooms at the MCG.  He has seen the rebuilding of the Southern Stand, the Olympic Stand and the Members’ Stand. He also takes credit for helping out a number of umpires on match day for various reasons. He has sorted out disputes between field umpires arguing over who should bounce first. He has also watched a senior field umpire order his boss (the Assistant Secretary of the MCC) out of the Umpires’ Rooms and he once found an envelope containing Brownlow votes sitting on the rubdown table after all the umpires had gone. Noel dutifully delivered the envelope to AFL Headquarters.

Noel still chuckles when he remembers Peter Cameron cutting the crutch out of Gavin Dore’s undies and watching the look on his face when he was getting dressed after the game.  He remembers John Harvey preparing the ball for bouncing and fell off his chair in the race one day when Bryan Sheehan bounced the ball straight over the fence. One of his favourite stories was at an early Friday night game when Dave Howlett took the umpiring team down the race only to be forced back by the crowd invading the ground to escape a scoreboard fire. 

From about 1973 until 1990 Noel worked part-time at Festival Hall.  He would often work his sales job during the day on Friday, the MCG Friday night, MCG Saturday afternoon and Festival Hall Saturday night. Sometimes there would also be a game at the MCG on Sunday as well.

In 1996, Noel left Watson and Crane (now Trade Link) for Burgundy Hardware in Heidelberg.

In 2012, Noel retired from the MCC after 38 years of enjoyable employment.  He misses his ‘best in the house’ view of each game including grand finals and the buzz he got out of being there to assist umpires who have stepped onto the MCG in that time.

In his younger days, Noel travelled around Asia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines during his annual leave holidays as a tour guide for Circuit Travel. After marrying Sandra, they have travelled to Singapore, Hong Kong and New Zealand together.

In recent years Noel has suffered from some serious health issues.  He has been told to keep warm and exercise as much as possible to avoid any more problems.  His IPad is full of movies which he enjoys most days and when asked about football is concerned that junior clubs are missing out on cash to help develop players for the future of our game. He sees soccer as a real threat to the future of our game if it is not properly managed.

Noel loves attending the Darebin RSL for our exumpires’ luncheons. He says the camaraderie amongst the members is amazing. His attendance at this function is due to the love and care of his wife Sandra as Noel is mainly confined to a wheel chair and walker these days.

To the hundreds of umpires you helped at the MCG, we salute you and thank you.

Article written by: AFLUA Life Member, Graeme ‘Wizzer’ Fellows

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