WA based field umpire, Jeff Dalgleish umpired his 200th AFL match on Sunday, just under a week after the birth of his second child. No amount of distraction would keep Jeff from taking the field in the WCE v WB game so he could end the weekend on a high. Congrats Jeff.
Across the other side of the country, stalwart Peter Bock took to the field in his 50th game as a boundary umpire. Pete was introduced to the game from a strong athletic background. In 2016 he was promoted to the AFL list with only a handful of NEAFL games under his belt but a lot of potential. While Pete can hold his own with every boundary umpire across Australia, athletically, he has endured for many hours to perfect his throw-ins. We congratulate him and reckon he has got everything pretty well spot on.
Somewhere in between, Michael Baker from Sydney also umpired his 50th AFL game when GWS took on the Gold Coast. Michael had a tough start to his third season when he badly strained ligaments in his ankle while on a recovery training run on a Monday after his first JLT match at the end of February. Michael has been a very consistent performer since joining the list. Well done Michael.
Some guys will do anything to get noticed, however, anyone who suggests that Ray Chamberlain deliberately stopped the ball that put him down, for the count is sadly misguided. The paramedics after the game came to the rescue just to be sure.
Some of the game’s best thinkers have been trying to come up with ways of “incentivising” scoring. This weekend proved that giving teams an additional point for scoring more than 100 points can’t be right. Take Friday night under the lid at Marvel Stadium, Nth Melbourne kicked 99 points in pristine conditions. Head to Darwin, Brisbane and Shanghai in the heat and humidity and you have another completely set of conditions to monitor. The MCG on Sunday afternoon was extremely dark and cold with Essendon only managing 74 points in contrast to the WCE on a fast and dry track in Perth notched up 133. It must be back to the drawing board on that idea.
Injuries are still taking their toll. Senior field umpires, Shane McInerney and Brett Rosebury were missing again on the weekend with a hammy and an adductor strain respectively. Dillon Tee is making good progress from his pre season injury and we are hopeful he will resume in the VFL soon. Michael Saunders has been dogged by injury since his return this season from surgery. He has had a couple of set backs but resumed in the NEAFL two weeks ago and should be ready to step back into AFL footy soon. Curtis Deboy has made his return to AFL games and has pulled up well in the two games he has umpired to date.
Spare a thought for the goal umpires in China on Sunday afternoon. They are on a plane back to Melbourne on Monday morning ready for training and their next game on Saturday afternoon at Adelaide Oval. There was no sight seeing for those three boys. The four boundary umpires on the other hand have this weekend off to recover.
Watch with interest this weekend, there are a number of trails that will occur with four umpires within each game. Unlike previous trials there will only be three field umpires on the field at any one time but in different combinations.