Field umpire, Justin Schmitt became just the 19th umpire in VFL/AFL history to umpire 300 AFL games on the weekend in the traditional Carlton v Collingwood clash at the MCG. Justin, who joined the AFL panel from South Australia in 1997 has had to overcome significant injuries to post this great milestone. His 300 game tally includes 9 finals, one of which was the Hawthorn v Pt Adelaide preliminary final last season. We will hear more from Justin later in the week.
Matt Stevic posted his 300th game as an AFL field umpire to qualify for AFL life membership on the weekend when he had to come onto the ground at halftime to replace the injured Shane McInerney. Matt’s games tally includes 269 premiership games, 28 pre-season matches and 2 international rules games.
Speaking of 300 game milestones, boundary umpire John Morris is about to reach his this weekend in what has been a stellar career that has continued through three states, Victoria, NSW and SA. John will become only the ninth boundary umpire to achieve that milestone and equal Matthew Vitiritti on 300 games.
Sam Hay, Jason Armstrong, Heath Ryan and Nick Foot will go into the record books as the first umpires to umpire an AFL premiership game in the 4 umpire system. The AFL and AFLUA have agreed to trial the system in four rounds at the end of the season with a view to consider its introduction in 2016. While there is still a lot of water to go under the bridge, on first viewing the operation appeared to be seamless with all umpires indicating that they were not under as much physical duress in the game and therefore their decision-making became easier. The same four umpires will do it all again this weekend.
The ANZ bank gave its corporate box at the MCG on Sunday to the Fiona McBurney Match day experience partners. Down Syndrome Victoria President, Natalie Graham welcomed all of our guests to the event organised by umpire Chris Donlon who has championed this event right from the start. The corporate suite was the perfect venue to network and hopefully put more publicity into the event as we head into 2016. The AFL again presented this weeks participant, Kez with her uniform and “the best day of her life.” The synergy between participants, our wonderful trainers and the umpires is amazing. See the video of the event tomorrow.
The AFLUA was in Canberra during the week to present retired goal umpire, James Savage with his life membership certificate. James is still unwinding from his 12 year career by spending more time on the golf course now. He is still playing somewhat of a mentor role with current goal umpires, Dale Puren and Rose O’Dea.
Pictured: AFL Field Umpire – Justin Schmitt