For 38 seasons Noel Rose was the umpires’ room attendant at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. As well as monitoring the door and maintaining a secure set of rooms for umpires, Noel also found as many ways to assist umpires and trainers as he could.
In doing so he became a friend to multiple generations of umpires and was held in such esteem that he was nominated for and received honorary life membership of the AFL Umpires’ Association in 2003, his thirtieth year on the job.
Between 1974 and 2011 there were 1,495 matches contested at the M.C.G. Noel would have missed only a handful of those matches, a remarkable record of consistency and service to umpiring and to umpires.
Before and while taking up residence in the various umpiring rooms at the ‘G, Noel had an interest in a wide range of activities and occupations: plumber, baseballer, cricketer, professional roller-skater, ten-pin bowler and plumbing sales representative.
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. Nothing was too much for Noel as he attended to umpires needs every weekend, sometimes working three matches each round.
Over almost four decades the stories Noel could tell were limitless, but he often chuckled when he remembered 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 told of John Harvey preparing the ball for bouncing and of falling off his chair in the race when Bryan Sheehan bounced the ball straight over the fence.
In recent years Noel had suffered from some serious health issues but still loved attending the Darebin RSL for the X–umpires’ luncheons. He noted the camaraderie amongst the members as amazing. His attendance at this function was due to the love and care of his wife Sandra as Noel was mainly confined to a wheelchair and walker. It was the same when he made an appearance at George Mather’s 90th birthday in December 2019.
Noel James Rose passed away 19 January 2021, aged 79. He will be greatly missed by all who were lucky enough to have known him.