Two umpires from completely different pathways celebrated their 100 game milestones on the weekend. It has taken goal umpire, Daniel Hoskin 9 years and 4 games to notch his 100. Dan umpired his first game in 2009 from his base in SA. He went to work and umpired in Qld for 12 months in 2015 before returning to SA where he is now stationed. Dan worked as a teacher in the country region of SA in a town called Moonta, travelling over four hours return to training each night and games each weekend. Field umpire, Leigh Fisher played 55 games for St. Kilda before turning to umpiring. Leigh umpired his first AFL match in 2013. Leigh has taken to umpiring like a “fish to water”, some would say. He certainly thrives in the environment and has become one of the first umpires picked each week. Leigh has umpired 36 AFL games straight and is third on the list of consecutive games as it currently stands. (Meredith 62, Nicholls 60 are ahead of him) Leigh, like Dan has an obvious passion for football, and we congratulate both of them on their milestone.
Andre Gianfagna, affectionately known as Gia, umpired his first AFL game between North Melbourne and Carlton in Hobart. Gia was a rookie listed player at Melbourne, before joining the Northern Blues and captained their VFL side. He turned to umpiring in 2014 and last year umpired the VFL grand final. Gia was promoted to the AFL list in October 2017.
Spare a thought for our Queensland based umpires at the moment. With GCS only playing “away” games until round 11 because of the Commonwealth Games they have been flying more miles than Dean Margetts recently. In round 3 they umpired at the new Perth Stadium when GCS played a “home” game against Fremantle and this week saw most of them in Hobart. I wonder how veteran, Aaron Deckys coped with the 4.4 degree night? Another veteran Aaron Deckys had to come off the ground following an ITB injury. Aaron tried valiantly to continue during the third quarter but succumbed in the last quarter. We certainly hope he is back soon. We certainly know that former Tasmanian, Adam Reardon would’ve had no problems adjusting to the climate and has now umpired three matches in his career. No two have been in the same state. Tristan Symes was the odd man out and didn’t have to travel to Tasmania instead he landed in Melbourne for a double header. Saturday at the G in the goals, where it was just as cold as Tassie and on Sunday he sat under the lid at Etihad Stadium as the emergency goal umpire.
Injuries have again taken their toll on the panel with field umpire, Andrew Stephens coming off in the last 15 minutes of the Geelong v St. Kilda match. Andrew, tightened up in the calf and thought it better to come off. Emergency field umpire, David Harris who had umpired the previous day at the MCG, came on to finish the game.
In a lighter moment president Troy Pannell could see the humorous side of his hamstring injury when newspaper headlines chanted “two of the greats to miss round 4.” Troy put himself into the same frame as Gary Ablett saying that he has only had one recalled bounce in more than 2 seasons.
Our two FM MDE participants this weekend, Tyler Jonas in Canberra and Ethan Draper at the MCG both had outstanding weekends meeting their favourite players and working as trainers with the umpires. See the video of their games later in the week.