Three hundred game umpire and AFLUA life member Peter Cameron said it best when he addressed the umpires prior to the EJ Whitten legends game held under the roof at Etihad Stadium in front of 24,085 spectators, “This match is in its 18th year, you have the opportunity to re-live some of those memories in the distant past from your careers. Enjoy every minute of it, remember you represent the AFLUA and umpiring, but more importantly remember you are reminding the community about the importance of men’s health”, a message reiterated by Ted Whitten junior when he spoke to the group prior to entering the field.
Pictured from left, Phil Sutton, Alan Cook, Gordon Muir, Scott McLaren, Martin Ellis, Roger Selwood, Allan Grant, Colin Hood, Mark Powell. Kneeling in front Peter McDonald and Gavin Dore.
In all the group contained 11 life members and 11 grand final umpires with a combined total of 28 grand finals, 179 finals and 2576 VFL/AFL games. In for their first legends game were Mark Powell, Gordon Muir and Alan Grant. After the game all three spoke, relaying their enjoyment of the night and being back as part of a group of umpires. The change room stories never changed, Peter McDonald was late because he was having his hair styled, Phil Sutton didn’t need a rub but had to find somewhere to put his teeth. Gavin Dore is leaner now than during his umpiring days. Alan Cook has started his preparation for the World Masters Games to be held in Brazil in October. He is representing Australia is his three pet events, 400, 800 and 1500. Allan is also an AFL boundary umpire observer. Gordon Muir is a personal trainer but involved in coaching athletes in the Australian junior athletics teams. Allan Grant is coaching goal umpires in the Geelong Football League ably assisted by Colin Hood. Martin Ellis is coaching the elite women umpires in Victoria and is an AFL timekeeper. Scott McLaren is mentoring eight young umpires in the Eastern Football League. Roger Selwood is retired and works on weekends as an AFL interchange steward. Mark Powell also works as an AFL goal umpire observer. Both Peter McDonald and Phil Sutton have worked with AFL boundary umpires as coaches and observers, although work commitments make that difficult for them at present.
The AFLUA is proud to be associated with the game and volunteers its support to help promote the cause of men’s health.