Congratulations to field umpire, Ray Chamberlain, who umpired his 300th game last Friday night at Marvel Stadium when Essendon took on Hawthorn. Ray’s transition onto the AFL list was a little out of the ordinary. He wasn’t trialled through the normal pre-season system, rather he was appointed to the list in mid 2004 as the best performing State league Umpire when another contracted AFL umpire walked away from his contract mid season. It didn’t take fans and the media to look at this little fella running around an AFL ground and want to know more about him. Ray wasn’t one of your run of the mill umpires, Brian Taylor made sure Ray wasn’t forgotten and nailed a nickname to him, that stuck. No other umpire since Darren Goldspink has had a nick name stick. So “Razor Ray” was born. It was probably opportune that Goldy was part of the Razor send up on The Front Bar on channel 7 prior to Ray’s 300th. Ray will never die wondering but he is one of the most accurate decision makers going around. Love him or hate him he is undeniably resilient, having missed many matches with serious leg injuries. He is also one of the best and has been for more than a decade now. Ray’s game statistics, 300 AFL matches including 23 finals and 2 grand finals has stood the test of time. Ray has also sat on the bench as the emergency in another 3 grand finals. Well done Ray. Ray becomes the 27th field umpire in the history of the VFL/AFL to umpire 300 AFL matches.
The heat was supposedly getting to much for the folk of Townsville with 50% of the crowd leaving by three quarter time. Not sure why but it was a very dry heat getting up towards 27 degrees. Radio commentators confused field umpire David Harris running off during the third quarter to seek medical assistance with simply a change over of umpires with the 4 umpire trial happening for the second week. We are not certain that the mid quarter change overs are for everyone with 2 senior umpires injuring them selves during the course of games over the weekend.
Our FM MDE participant this weekend was Brooke Canham. Brooke had a great day with our umpires, while her parents, who are staunch softball supporters got their first glimpse of Optus Stadium and a game of AFL while being chaperoned by Darryl and Fiona Sinclair.
Stephen McBurney is still prepared to speak up for umpiring at all times of the day and night. A little Birdy told me that he went on Sunday evening Macquarie radio across the country to stick up for all umpires who simply love the game and want to be involved. Stephen always had a great way with words and put our view very succinctly. Interestingly, the talkback callers had some left of centre observations, one calling him McLaren and another suggesting the game would be better with all umpires gone!