Another senior field umpire has succumbed to injury. Serious questions now need to be asked about the four into three field umpire trial over the bye rounds and the potential future of the system. The system was designed to have four appointed umpires interchange during games to reduce workload and look to using those more senior umpires in two matches over a weekend. The three senior umpires all sustained injuries in matches and couldn’t complete the match. The latest, Shaun Ryan came off the back of two games the previous week and has appeared to sustain stress fractures in his foot. He was forced out of Friday nights clash between Sydney and Hawthorn at half time.
Despite our historian, David Flegg AM being overseas we are still receiving some statistical gems from him in between his visits to baseball matches. His gems this week included Adam Coote moving into 9th all time on the boundary umpire games records with 309 games one more than John Hicks (308). Ray Chamberlain became the 50th umpire to reach 300 games (27th field umpire) and became the 19th fastest to the milestone in 14 years 338 days. He eclipses Darren Goldspink and Murray Williams 15 years 37 days. David’s third gem is the broken run of games from Dean Margetts who until last week had umpired 49 games straight from Rd 10 2017 until Rd 12 2020, including 2 games in Rd 14 2018. You may remember that Dean missed the first 9 games of the 2017 season after collapsing on a plane from Melbourne to Perth with a stomach ulcer bursting. The plane was re routed to Adelaide and Dean spent 3 weeks in an Adelaide hospital recovering. Jacob Mollison had his 67 game streak broken as well. It was the 14th longest streak in history and ran between Rd 16 2016 until Rd 13 2019. For the records, Scott McLaren holds down number 1 position with 177 games straight. Brett Allen, Brett Rosebury, Ray Chamberlain, Stephen McBurney and jack Elder are the only other umpires to officiate in more than 100 games straight. John Morris holds the record for boundary umpires at 65 games straight. Chris Gordon’s streak of 59 games was more remarkable as it was the first 59 games of his career. Craig Clark holds the goal umpire record at 54 games. Boundary and goal umpires had to contend with selection policy which stood between 1897 and 2000 that you would only umpire three of every four weeks and then from 2001 when appointments were based on rankings.
It was good to see our veteran field umpire, Shane McInerney back on the field this weekend. Shane has missed the previous four weeks with a soft tissue injury. He was back in familiar territory at GMHBA Stadium in Geelong but with a VFL size crowd, unlike the last time he was there. Dillon Tee also resumed on Sunday following a season compounded by injury. Dillon was umpiring at Box Hill in a NAB Under 18 fixture. He was very nervous on Thursday night hoping not to make an error in his return game.
Commentators still don’t get it when it comes to boundary throw ins. Whenever, ruckmen don’t make it to the drop of the ball it is a boundary umpire’s mistake! Where in the rule book does it say boundary umpires must throw the ball to the ruckmen? Take a Josh Mather throw in during the Western Bulldogs v Collingwood game on Sunday for example. Grundy and his opponent, English stand so far back when the ball drops at 18 metres (the required distance for a throw in) Grundy lunges for the ball takes it below his knees and kicks a goal. Fox Footy commentators call for the ball to be thrown in again. The camera pans to Josh waiting to run the ball up the middle of the ground and all they can comment on are his “big guns,” and how impressive they are. Replays show that his throw in was the correct distance and the tactic used by Grundy to get to the throw in late was a good one because he scored a goal. When will they ever learn?
Goal umpire Peter Challen is always looking for ways of improving his skills, he was given the opportunity to have this weekend off but decided against it. His last three appointments have been in China, at the Adelaide Oval and now at Thebarton Oval in in Torrensville SA. Well done for supporting community football Pete.
Congratulations to our FM MDE participant this weekend, Owen Roberts. Owen assisted our umpires in the Melbourne v Fremantle match at the G. (See his day in pictures on our website later in the week)