Highly experienced boundary umpire Rob Haala umpired his 250th AFL game in a significant encounter at the MCG on Saturday night, dreamtime at the G. Rob moves into 15th place in total number of VFL/AFL games umpired by boundary umpires. Rob joins Aaron Deckys (259), Jonathan Creasey (280), John Morris (290), Mark Thomson (307) and Darren Wilson (381) as current running boundary umpires who have more than 250 games to their credit.
At the other end of the scale, Nick Brown umpired his first game of AFL football in Launceston where Hawthorn played Gold Coast Suns. Nick was added to the list this season after umpiring the VFL grand final in 2014. Nick becomes the 434th field umpire to umpire a VFL/AFL game.
Right in the middle somewhere is 50 game umpire Callum Brown. Callum is in his 4th year on the list and umpires in WA. With the unfortunate injury to Jace Collingridge who is out for the season with a back injury, Callum has taken the opportunity with a game each week to consolidate his place on the list.
Jason Armstrong was a late withdrawal from the Western Bulldogs v GWS clash on Saturday evening. Appears that the flu might have started to impact on the group. This is the first weekend of the season that all 33 field umpires have not been available for selection. It must mark some sort of record with last season being one of the worst in recent memory for games missed through injury. Something appears to be working well for the group.
Our Fiona McBurney match day participant this week was Jacob Grogan from Wangaratta. Jacob is a fanatical Saints supporter who from all reports had a great day at the “G” yesterday and was lucky enough to be presented with Rob O’Gorman’s indigenous round umpires shirt as a keep sake along with a football.
Boundary and goal umpires are on the move in an attempt to provide them with more experiences other than umpiring in their home states. Steve Axon umpired for the first time at the MCG in a game other than a final. He resides in SA where he goal umpires. This meant that Matt Laycock flew from WA to Adelaide to sit as the emergency goal umpire. Experienced goal umpire Daniel Wilson was appointed to the SCG and SA boundary umpire Matt Konetschka also had the Friday night game. Dale Puren came from Canberra to sit on the bench at Etihad on Saturday twilight.
The umpiring department put two of the three Ryan’s in the same game at the gabba ( Shaun and Heath) this weekend. I wonder if they will be up for the third Ryan, Ben to do a game with them soon.
Pictured: 250th gamer – Rob Haala