Field umpire Ray Chamberlain was forced off the ground due to a heel injury at half time in the “Q clash” on Saturday evening. Ray took some convincing that he needed to put his welfare first and leave the game to first gamer, James Waldorf.

James is a long serving NEAFL umpire who has worked as a rookie on the AFL panel for the past two seasons. He has two NEAFL grand finals and 130 games under his belt. James came on in a seamless operation that left commentators and the crowd oblivious to the change. Well done James. When we asked how he felt after the game James replied, “I only had 10 minutes to think about it before I was on and the first 10 minutes of the third quarter was just a blur. It was a bit of a shock really to be out there and having to pay free kicks. Once that feeling faded it was just a great game to be involved in.”

WA boundary umpire, Ryan Kukura had a planned debut on Friday night in the WCE v Richmond game. Ryan, who came onto the AFL list in the middle of a stellar WAFL career never lost sight of his dream to umpire AFL football. Ryan’s AFL apprenticeship included 7 WAFL grand Finals and 273 WAFL games. He joked when appointed to the list that, “becoming an AFL umpire may stop me getting to 300 WAFL games in the next couple of years!” When asked about how he found the game he indicated that his hamstrings were still a little sore so he might have done a little more than he thought. “I put a lot of pressure on myself in the lead up to the game but that had disappeared by the time the game came around. I loved it, the game was easier to read but you know you had to get everything right.”

Congratulations also goes to Matthew Tomkins who umpired his 100th game in Tasmania where Hawthorn played St.Kilda and Jacob Mollison brought up his 150th game in the GWS v Pt Adelaide.

Field umpire Andrew Stephens had his Twitter account bombarded after the Hawthorn v St.Kilda game and realised that perception can fast become reality. Andrew’s picture was taken on grand final day at the MCG in 2014. In the background the Hawks banner was raised. That innocent picture certainly raised the roof on social media for a few days this week.

Field umpire Dean Margetts has started his long trek back to fitness following his hospitalisation early this year. He was given medical permission to walk for 10 minutes twice a week.

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