The third annual Pride match was played between Sydney and St.Kilda on Saturday night at the SCG. Both Sydney and St.Kilda stand united to promote inclusion in our game from all corners of our society. The AFLUA are strong supporters of this match and inclusion in our game.

It’s not often that a 300 game milestone plays second fiddle to a greater one, but that’s occurred this weekend when evergreen boundary umpire Mark Thomson umpired his 350th AFL match beating Mat Nicholls to the line in only his 300th match. Thommo certainly doesn’t look like slowing down any time soon as he skirted the boundary in Friday night’s game at Adelaide Oval. Thommo spoke to the AFLUA on the eve of his 350th match and simply wanted to be known as someone who always gave 100% and got the most out of their ability. What else can we say but well done Thommo. Thommo is now 10th all time for games umpired and second among boundary umpires.

Let’s not forget “Nicho” who achieved his 300th match. When asked why he chose Melbourne v. Port Adelaide for his milestone game it was simple, the MCG, 2pm Saturday. Now there’s tradition for you! A young man who recognises something enduring in AFL football. The other lasting memory for Nicho, is “sirengate,” where the siren wasn’t heard by the umpires in a 2006 match in Launceston between St. Kilda and Fremantle. It was only the second time in history the VFL/AFL has changed the result of a game. Nicho says, “It’s a great dinner party ice-breaker.”

On no lesser note Troy Pannell officiated in his 200th AFL game when he took to the field in the Essendon v. North Melbourne game at Etihad on Sunday. Troy has missed many games in the past 12 months with a broken wrist and torn hamstring accumulating only 17 matches in 2016 and 12 to date in 2017. Troy is one of few umpires with the resilience to have come back strongly after being delisted for 12 months in 2008. Once he returned in 2009, Troy hasn’t looked back and is now a leader among the group.

Our boundary umpires continue to push through some catastrophic injuries with Sean Burton now out for the remainder of the season with a stress fracture of the foot. Damien Cusack is racking up the frequent flyers heading to Perth on the weekend to replace Perth based Nathan Doig who flew to Adelaide. SA based Corey Watkins and NSW based Pat Cran ran at the “MCG” yesterday. Watch this space as others will be called upon to do the same. There is some concern that veteran boundary umpire, Nick Wade, who has succumbed to a calf injury might struggle to get back for the remainder of the season also.

Is it true that the Cairns crew we seen lazing by the pool getting some sun on Friday afternoon before heading to do some development work for the Cairns umpires association. Veteran field umpire Chris Kamolins has never been averse to getting his shirt off and getting some rays?

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