Nothing could detract from Rob O’Gorman’s first official game (he umpired a quarter when he came on in the GWS v Melbourne game in Round 3) Hawthorn v. St Kilda at the MCG on a Saturday afternoon. Not even the score line! “It made no difference to me I still had to judge each contest on its merits. Dean Margetts and Jacob Mollison looked after me and we had a great day,” reflected Rob when we caught up with him early in the week.
“The pre-match was very good. Hayden Kennedy invited Stephen McBurney and Scott McLaren into the rooms and Stephen presented me with an engraved whistle as a memento of my first game. There is a synergy with Stephen, we are both old St.Bedes boys so it was nice of them to be there for me.”
The crowd was up and about early and Rob certainly got a taste for the noise when Cyril Rioli kicked a couple of great goals in the second quarter. For the remainder of the game the weather forced the crowd back into the stands and they pretty much left the umpires alone. “I got a game in an AFL environment that was a great experience. I am totally looking forward to my next one.”
Rob knows he has to work on his bouncing and acknowledged he probably paid a couple of hot holding the ball decisions but he will settle into the environment well.
He enjoyed catching up with his parents and family after the game and to share his experience with them. “They have supported me it was good to give something back to them.”
Queensland boundary umpire, Matthew McKenzie returned for his first game in 12 months. Matthew was ravaged by injury in his first season of AFL football and he has done a great job to get back on the park.
The AFL umpiring department has promoted three more rookie field umpires into its ranks. Stuart Parry and Matthew Adams come on in WA to replace long term rookies Scott McPhee and Justin Orr who have retired. Kayne Nund has been appointed in Queensland. The rookie process helps to streamline appointments so field umpires do not have to travel extensively to sit as emergency umpires. It assists the rookies by educating them in AFL practices and they get a good feel for the environment as they continue their pathway to winning an AFL contract.
Pictured: First gamer AFL Field Umpire – Rob O’Gorman