Last Saturday night at the Wrest Point Casino in Hobart, current AFL field umpire Scott Jeffery was elevated to legend status in the Tasmanian Football Hall of Fame. Scott and his family attended the night to share in the achievement of one of the best, yet understated umpires in the game.
Scott wanted to brush his achievement aside by saying, “It was fantastic for umpiring to be afforded the accolade. It belongs to my family, especially my mother and father, my wife Brooke and my two children and of course my many coaches along the way.” What Scott failed to acknowledge was that he still had to go out and earn the credits to be considered worthy of this most magnificent award. A brief overview of Scott’s statistics shows the contribution he has made to Australian Rules Football at all levels.
Field Umpire, TFL/VFL/AFL, 1993-2007
- Officiated 324 AFL matches, 2001-2017
- Officiated 13 AFL finals matches, 2005-16
- Officiated 45 TFL matches, 1995-97
- Officiated 78 VFL matches, 1998-2001
- Officiated 14 TAC Cup matches, 1995-96
- AFL Grand Final umpire – 2016 (Western Bulldogs vs Sydney)
- TFL Grand Final umpire – 1997
- VFL Grand Final umpire – 1999, 2000
- AFL pre-season Grand Final umpire – 2007, 2008, 2009, 2013
- Umpired AFL exhibition matches in London (2006) and Shanghai (2009)
- VFL Umpire of the Year Award, 2001
- AFL Umpires Association president, 2011-12
- AFL Umpires Leadership Group, 2012-17
- Tasmanian ‘Team of the Century’ (Umpire)
- Inducted into the Tasmanian Football Hall of Fame 2008
Scott Jeffery is without question the most prolific Tasmanian umpire of the AFL era. A highly-respected official, he has built a reputation for consistency over a fine career which has spanned more than 25 years.
Born in 1977, Jeffery started his football journey as a junior player with Howrah and Clarence High School, but constant injuries to his small build hindered his ability to play the game. Still keen to maintain an involvement in the sport he loved, Jeffery subsequently took up umpiring, and in 1991 he commenced umpiring matches in the Southern Tasmanian Junior Football League (STJFL). It soon became apparent that the young man had a talent with the whistle, and in 1995 he was fast-tracked into the TAC Cup Umpires program. In this role, Jeffery was charged with officiating a number of home matches for the Tassie Mariners in the TAC Cup. He also took charge
of his first TFL senior match in this season, and by mid-1996 he was regularly umpiring senior TFL matches. Late in the season, he was chosen to umpire a TAC Cup final at the MCG, which served as a curtain-raiser to an AFL finals match. He would later point to this moment as the first time he really believed he could make a serious career as an umpire.
Jeffery spent the 1997 season officiating solely in the TFL, and his fine performances were rewarded when – aged just 20 – he was selected to umpire the 1997 TFL
Grand Final between Clarence and Burnie.
After 45 TFL matches, Jeffery decided to move to Victoria to pursue umpiring more seriously, and was appointed to the VFL Umpires senior panel in 1998. Jeffery’s rapid rise up the ranks continued in the VFL, and in 1999 he was selected as an umpire for the 1999 VFL Grand Final. Early the following year, Jeffery trialled for an AFL position when he umpired two Ansett Cup pre-season matches, however he failed to win a place on the AFL list and returned to the VFL, ultimately selected to officiate his second consecutive Grand Final. Jeffery again trialled for an AFL berth in the 2001 Ansett Cup, and this time was successful, earning the distinction as the first Tasmanian to win a place on the AFL Elite Umpires Panel.
Jeffery made his official AFL senior debut in the Round 6, 2001 match between Essendon and West Coast at Colonial Stadium.
Over the following eight seasons, Jeffery would be chosen to umpire finals matches in six of them, but never more than one per year. Despite this apparent lack of recognition as one of the game’s top echelon in umpiring, Jeffery continued to ply his trade with consistency and diligence. The respect he was affordedby his peers was confirmed when he was elected President of the AFL Umpires Association in 2011, and from 2012 he was a member of the AFL Umpires’ LeadershipGroup for six years. Jeffery’s efforts were finally rewarded in 2016 when, the year after umpiring two finals in a season for the first time, he became the first Tasmanian
umpire to officiate in an AFL Grand Final – the epic match between the Western Bulldogs and Sydney. During the year he had also reached the 300-game milestone,becoming only the 20th AFL field umpire to achieve the feat.
Throughout his career, Jeffery has remained admirably free of controversy, no mean feat in an era when the interpretation of the laws of the game is so fluid and open to debate. His success has opened the door for other aspiring Tasmanian umpires, with many such as Nick Foot having subsequently joined Jeffery in the umpiring ranks.
However, arguably Jeffery’s greatest achievement came more than a decade ago: in 2004, after less than three years at AFL level, Jeffery was named as the officialumpire in the Tasmanian Team of the Century. No-one could argue that over the last decade Jeffery hasn’t more than justified his selection.
Scott is the second umpire to become a legend behind Jack McMurray Jnr.
Please click on the link to see the tribute to Scott on his elevation to legend status in the Tasmanian Football Hall of Fame.
Article reproduced from afltas Hall of Fame.