Field umpiring over the weekend became became a war of attrition as three umpires went down on Sunday with injury during matches.
Ben Ryan left the ground in the GWS v Melbourne with an ankle injury and was replaced by Rob O’Gorman for his first game. Rob would’ve been a little tired as he had umpired the NEAFL curtain raiser prior to the start of the GWS match, but with adrenalin kicking in he would’ve floated around for the last quarter with his feet hardly touching the ground.
Jason Armstrong was cannoned into by both ruckmen at a stoppage in the North Melbourne v Port Adelaide match and was forced to leave the ground with a corked thigh. Second year rookie umpire Andrew Talbot came on to replace Jason and looked very much at home in a fast paced and close encounter in his first AFL game. Andrew had also umpired the day before (Saturday) in the VFL match of the day.
Veteran Justin Schmitt continues his wretched run of bad luck with a calf strain. He was replaced in the Carlton v Essendon match ten minutes into the first quarter by AFL field umpire Nick Foot who was sitting on the bench as the emergency umpire, following his game on Friday night at the same venue Hawthorn v Fremantle.
Combine these injuries with the hamstring strain that occurred to Matt Leppard in the last 300m sprint at training last Wednesday night and the group will really need to consolidate this week to be ready for round 4.
It was a very wet debut for goal umpire Rose O’Dea at Spotless Stadium on Saturday afternoon. It took until the 14 minute mark of the second quarter before Rose was involved in her first goal in AFL footy. Both teams struggled in the wet conditions. Not so for debutant Michael Craig (goal umpire) under the roof at Etihad in the Western Bulldogs v Richmond game who only had to wait forty-five seconds for his first goal in AFL footy.