I might sound like a broken record at times, but the football world should stop momentarily and salute an umpiring champion who equaled a record this week and should break the record in round 16. Hayden Kennedy retired at the conclusion of the 2011 season with 495 AFL games including 39 finals and 5 grand finals in the bank. Hayden, at the time decided that he couldn’t continue for another season because in his words, “I am done.” Hayden umpired his first AFL game in 1988 and hung up the whistle 23 year later in what was a truely remarkable and stellar career. We walked away at the time wondering who would ever get near the record, don’t worry about breaking it! On Sunday, Shane McInerney walked onto Marvel Stadium for the St Kilda v Richmond match following a five week layoff with injury and a game in the VFL, to equal that amazing record. Just for the record Shane umpired his first senior AFL match in 1994 and some 24 years later, is on the precipice of breaking Hayden’s remarkable record. Shane has umpired 495 games including 26 finals and 2 grand finals. We await this weekend……….
Congratulations also go to our 100 gamers. Andrew Stephens was contracted out of Queensland in 2014. He moved to Melbourne to further his career as a field umpire in 2015 and despite some injury set backs has been a very consistent performer over the past couple of seasons. Andrew has finished in the top 16 field umpires and sat as an emergency in the last two finals series. Andrew umpired the Hawthorn v West Coast Eagles game at the MCG. Our second milestone goes to Rob O’Gorman. Nicknamed “Rog” by his colleagues, he was also contracted in 2014 and has worked hard to develop his craft and top it off with his 100th match in the Fremantle v Carlton game is just reward.
On another game equalling note, Brett Rosebury now equals Rowan Sawers games tally of 410 matches. With all things going well this week, Brett will move from currently being equal second, to third on the all time list! Go figure that one.
Queensland boundary umpires coach, Randall Gibson and three of his boundary umpires undertook a community service role last Friday night to feed the homeless. Drew Kowalski, Adam Reardon and Nick Swanson worked with Randall and a community service company in Brisbane, Rosies. Drew said afterwards, “it certainly was an eye opener and we realise just how lucky we are.” See more in an article later this week.
Were my eyes deceiving me or did Patrick Dangerfield give goal umpire David Rodan a “low five” when players were moving back into their starting positions following a goal on Friday night in the Geelong v Adelaide match? D Rod as he is affectionately know in the footy world received high praise from Mathew Richardson in commentary for channel seven who said that D Rod was a most likeable bloke in the AFL when he played. I can only assume that was why D Rod was late for his early morning wake up call last weekend after sitting on the bench as the emergency goal umpire in the Port Adelaide v Geelong game and then heading to a Port Adelaide past player reunion?
Some field umpires are now wearing a go-pro camera in games to get library vision for a series of skill based sessions now conducted by the Umpire Department at training. Channel 7 has access to the vision that you will see broadcast in their Saturday night games. It’s still a pity they can’t get the names of the umpires right while they show the vision. Craig Fleer who wore the go-pro on Saturday night was called Alex Whetton. It certainly didn’t bother Craig who indicated he’d been called much worse over the course of his career!