Living in Hubs and being away from home has been an experience for a number of umpires this year and Patrick Jackson is no different admitting “It is what it is!” Patrick who has spent almost 3 months away with time in Sydney, the Gold Coast and Cairns recently umpired his 50th AFL game – Melbourne v Fremantle.
Patrick’s umpiring career started with AFL Canberra in 2010. He umpired his first major grand final back in the NEAFL Eastern conference grand final in 2011. He then umpired back to back NEAFL grand finals in 2013, 2014 and 2015 before his stint at the VFL where he umpired the 2016 TAC grand final and the 2017 VFL grand final which was decided by a kick after the siren.
In 2018, he was promoted to the AFL and he umpired his first game Hawthorn v Geelong on Easter Monday with the Hawks winning a classic tussle by one point in front of 73,000 fans at the MCG. His career highlight so far was to be part of the Dreamtime at the G game in 2019.
Patrick has enjoyed his time away in the Hubs because it has allowed him time to get to know umpires across all disciplines. Although it has been a challenging year, he says he is happy with his season given its dynamic nature and the requirement for everyone to be flexible and adaptive to changing circumstances.
Patrick loves boundary umpiring for the simple reason that it’s his passion – he loves to run; he has the best view of any game; each game throws up its own physical and mental challenges and he really enjoys the comradeship amongst the boundary boys. His biggest learning so far at AFL level is to throw hard, run straight and quoted from the Chris Gordon bible ‘Freshness is speed’.
His advice to up and coming umpires is to do your athletics, listen to your coaches and look fast. “If you have the passion and the willpower to make AFL then it’s only a matter of embracing your opportunities, having fun and make sure you continue to focus on learning and improving yourself.”
Patrick recalls one of his ‘duh’ moments at the conclusion of a drawn game between the Bulldogs and the Swans. After the game as he was walking off (note: extreme fatigue) he said to his teammate, “Gee, l reckon that’s the closest game l’ve had.”
There are many people who Patrick would like to thank for helping him get to where he is today. These include his coaches over many years, fellow umpires, umpiring staff, friends and most of all his family for giving him every opportunity.
Congratulations Patrick on your milestone and we look forward to many more in the years to come.