Peter’s promotion to the AFL Boundary Squad was quite different to many others, however he has settled in nicely and recently officiated his 50thAFL game between Brisbane and Hawthorn at the Gabba on Saturday 1 June.
The Sunshine Coast based school teacher had a strong athletics background and after officiating in a handful of NEAFL games in 2015, he received a late call up following Matt McKenzie’s retirement.
Following a trial process during the NAB Challenge Games, Peter was selected. He then headed overseas to Hungary as a coach at the World Schools Cross Country Championships, before returning to umpire a couple of NEAFL games before he was then selected to his first AFL game in round 8, 2016.
Fast forward to 2019 and Peter is now part of the furniture on the Queensland Boundary list. He admits it has been quite a steep learning curve and a challenge given he was very green when he started out. His career highlight to date was his very first match at the MCG whilst his most enjoyable game was the Brisbane v Collingwood game this year in front of a packed house at the Gabba.
Peter loves being involved in sport at the elite level and loves the mateship amongst umpires and the need to work as a team to make it all happen on game day.
Peter admits the crowd loves getting stuck into a bald umpire, so he does copy a fair go over the fence. A comment that sticks with Peter was around the time the media had been reporting on research that suggested that women find bald men more attractive. Peter was standing on the boundary at the Gabba when a punter yelled out, “Research suggests that bald women make the worst umpires!”
One thing his colleagues might not know is that Bocky wasn’t always bald. He use to rock an afro until he was about 25 years of age.
Well done Peter on what we hope is the first of many further milestones! Congratulations.
Article written by: AFLUA Marketing and Communications Coordinator, Peter Kelly