Goal Umpire Rhys Negerman was another debutant in the 2022 AFL Round 2, as he officiated in the match-up between Port Adelaide and Hawthorn.

Looking back at his first AFL match, and receiving the AFLUA Heritage Number 355, Rhys reflected on achieving a “lifetime goal.”

He said, “A dream come true for me…As a child watching games and playing footy, I’ve always been passionate about the game.”

“To now be involved and umpiring games of AFL, is just amazing and a lifetime goal achieved.”

How did he prepare building up to his first AFL game? Rhys said, “During the week and even on the day, I just kept myself busy and didn’t think of the game too much. But once getting to the ground, it felt a lot more real.”

Hawthorn defeated Port Adelaide 19.6 (120) to 7.14 (56) in front of over 30,000 fans at the Adelaide Oval. Rhys added how he went through the motions at one of the biggest stages of them all, “When first stepping onto the ground, I felt like it was somewhere I belonged. Once I got my first decision out of the way, the nerves settled, and I could enjoy being out there a lot more.

“I feel umpiring in front of 40k crowds for the SANFL Grand Finals helped me prepare for umpiring in front of a big crowd as well.”

He has four SANFL League Grand Finals to his name – 2016, 2018, 2019 and 2021. Rhys chose the 2018 one as his career highlight to date. The game was very high scoring and close all day, and he umpired alongside best mate Matt Cummins.

Rhys was also the recipient of the 2015 Most Improved Goal Umpire award and the 2018 Golden Flags award. He umpired his first AFLW match at Norwood Oval – Adelaide vs Western Bulldogs (Round 1, 2019).

Well done, Rhys, on your AFL debut. We wish you all the best for the year ahead.

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