Fairytales rarely come true, but with 308 games experience under his belt, Scott Jeffery became the most experienced field umpire in the history of the game to umpire his first AFL grand final in 2016.
Last Thursday night, after again succumbing to injury, Scott realized that he was never going to get back to the level of fitness he demanded of himself to umpire and decided the time was right to retire.
“The mind was willing, but the body has said enough,” explained Scott to his colleagues prior to training. There was not a dry eye in the house, such is the love and respect everyone in the room has for Scott. He is a rare breed with time for everyone, always with a smile on his face. A real team player who always has others interests at heart.
Scott was incredibly frustrated last season with continued setbacks and finished the season with only half a game at AFL level. During the season, his rehabilitation took one step forward, two steps back. Over the off-season, he made some progress and was looking optimistically to the year ahead. However, his body didn’t respond as well as he’d hoped, and he was unable to reach the level of fitness required to umpire the game he has so loved since he started umpiring many years ago in Tasmania.
Scott walks away from the game with many accolades including 325 AFL games (ranked 17thoverall), 13 finals and the 2016 AFL Grand Final. He is a life member of the AFLUA, a life member of the AFL, a Legend in the Tasmanian Football Hall of Fame and a Tasmanian team of the century field umpire. Off the field, Scott was a great leader and served on the Executive Committee from 2009 to 2010 before taking on the role of President in 2011 and 2012.
Scott concluded his comments to his colleagues saying, “So many people have supported me over the years, family, friends, coaches, team mates, medico’s and employers and l owe them a great deal of thanks. All gave me great satisfaction and many cherished memories. It is the people that l have met, that l treasure the most. Those relationships l take with me – friends for life. That is what l will miss the most!”
Congratulations Scott you have been an ornament to the game.