The AFL umpiring department has embarked on a football style approach to their list management process for 2015. In the past 16 years field umpires deemed good enough were put through a trial period between November and March where a decision was made about their elevation to a first year contract. They trained, were coached and umpired NAB Cup games to determine their bona fides.
This season every umpire considered to have “talent” was viewed by talent ID manager, Tim Shearer and AFL Umpire’s Development Manager, Adam Davis a number of times across the season. The best six attended a camp in Melbourne that coincided with the players draft combine in October. The umpires were put through some physical testing, skill drills as well as interviews with the umpire’s coaches. The three days were intense but each of the umpires who attended said the experience was invaluable.
The umpires who were invited to the combine are, Nic Brown (Vic), Jack Edwards (Vic), Brent Wallace (Vic), Curtis Deboy (SA), Matt Adams (WA) and Joel Harris (Tas).
Following the list management process the four umpires selected to make their AFL debut are, Nick Brown, Jack Edwards both from Victoria and Curtis Deboy from South Australia. Brent Wallace from Victoria, who has been on the player to umpire development pathway also makes the list for 2015.
Four umpires have not been offered contracts in 2015. They are Matt Leppard, Tristan Burgess, Craig Fleer and Shane Stewart. Stuart Wenn has retired.
On the boundary list management we have some significant changes with the retirements of Luke Roberts, Chris Morrison and Pat Tongue. Chris Simms and Scott Gordon will not be offered contracts in 2015. Current South Australian boundary umpire Dillon Tee is relocating to Melbourne as is SANFL grand final umpire Jason Moore. Both have been offered contracts as Victorian based boundary umpires.
In the goals, Mark Canning has retired. James Savage and Robert Whitehead will not be offered contracts in 2015. South Australian goal umpire, Daniel Hoskin is relocating to Queensland and has been offered a position on the list in that state.
While there are still four boundary umpire positions still to be filled and three goal umpire contracts available the umpiring department still has some work to do to get the best credentialed to fill their lists for the 2015 season.
Preseason training for the field umpires will commence the week beginning Monday November 17.
Pictured: (left) Curtis Deboy, (right) Brent Wallace