Anthony Black has been the childhood goal umpiring idol for a number of AFL and state-based umpires across Australia and Steve Williams, who walks onto the ground for the North Melbourne v St Kilda game on Friday night to officiate his 150th AFL game, is one of them. His legacy lives on as Steve still tries to emulate Anthony’s style in his performance today.
Steve hails from Geelong Football League and officiated his first AFL match in 2009. He has umpired nine finals. His most memorable on-field career highlight to date was the epic preliminary final last year between Greater Western Sydney and the Bulldogs. The closeness of the match, combined with the importance the match was to both sides, meant it was always going to be something special and will always stick in Steve’s memory.
Steve attributes his success as a seasoned goal umpire to his love and admiration for the craft of goal umpiring which has held him in good stead throughout his career. “Loving what you do makes it so much easier to immerse yourself and get the best out of your experience.” Steve also believes the friendships he has developed over his eleven years at VFL/AFL levels keeps him motivated to come back week after week. “Being able to run around on a cold June night with a bunch of clowns joking amongst each others makes life so much more bearable.”
Steve recently acted as an emergency umpire in China and hopes others get the opportunity to experience what he and the others did in Shanghai. “It was terrific be a part of the game but also it exposed us to a different culture and way of life on a grand scale with so many people living in thousands of apartment blocks.”
In addition to Anthony, Steve acknowledges Steven Stirling, Leigh Keen, David Flegg and Rod Davies as providing incredible levels of support and advice in various coaching / mentor roles and that he couldn’t have done it without them.
Steve wants to be remembered as someone who is skilled in the craft of goal umpiring and thrives in the enjoyment of being a part of such a special group. He looks forward to giving back to umpiring in the years to come, including digging deeper into coaching / mentoring opportunities, “Umpiring has given me great life experiences and skills, it’s only fitting that l give back and share with a different generation.”
In the lead up to his 150th game this Friday, Steve will try and keep his preparation as normal as possible on the day, leaving work mid-afternoon so he can rest before heading into Etihad Stadium. He acknowledged it will be nice to have a couple of extra family and friends in the stand cheering him on.
Well done Steve on your milestone and we wish you all the best on Friday night!
Article written by: AFLUA Marketing and Communications Coordinator, Peter Kelly