Nathan Williamson is a young West Australian field umpire with about 60 games of senior experience under his belt. So you can imagine his shock on a Monday morning three weeks ago when AFL umpires’ coach, Hayden Kennedy called to tell him that he would be umpiring his first NAB Challenge game in a few days. “I was more nervous after Hayden called me than I was on game day,” reflected Nathan when we asked him about his experience.
He encapsulated his experience in four words, “taste of the dream.” For Nathan nothing would diminish that experience. “I was in the moment and having the best footy experience of my life.”
So what did Nathan take out of the game? “It was my first experience with the microphones and being able to hear my fellow umpires. They gave me immediate feedback which was just sensational. I awarded a 50 metre penalty and turned to run to the amended mark, Luke Farmer immediately said Nathan turn and run backwards, keeping the players under observation. We do it differently in the WAFL, the immediate feedback was great.”
“From a personal point of view I always thought my communication was very good. When I was able to hear myself on the replay I now realise I have a way to go to get to AFL level.” Nathan has always been very honest and always looking to improve so the question had to be, what did you learn from the game? “I will reassess my goals and capabilities matrix with our high performance coach, Stuart Wenn next week but I now know I have some specific things that need to be improved.