The final pieces of the list management process have been completed and our umpires are in full pre-season training. Our field umpires have been involved in club visits across Australia since early January. All umpires have been completing their fitness benchmarks. The field umpires held their annual camp last weekend in Portsea and all goal and boundary umpires will be in Melbourne this coming weekend for their annual camp.
The AFL have listed 32 field umpires this season, 29 of whom now reside in Melbourne and three who live in Perth. This requires significant time and travel to meet the demands of the interstate clubs. In some instances, our umpires have stayed interstate visiting each club on alternative days.
With the retirement of Shane Jones, Lachlan Rayner joins the Victorian based boundary umpires. He joins Patrick Cran (NSW), Gareth Hughes (Qld), Ryan Kukura and Josh Garrett (WA) as the newest boundary umpires to make the AFL panel. Josh, at age 19 has the world at his feet following a rapid rise through the ranks of the WAFL competition.
In the goals, Angus McKenzie-Wills (NSW) steps up from the NEAFL list as does Alistair Meldrum (Qld) and Matthew Dervan (Vic) as young aspiring men. Joining them in WA is our newest female on the panel, Sally Boud. Sally has umpired the last two WAFL grand finals.
Our field umpire rookies have also been nominated. Their role is to sit as the emergency field umpire in AFL games on six to eight occasions a season. They will be coached and train with the AFL umpires one night per week and return to their state based groups on the other night. It is part of the pathway to becoming a listed AFL umpire. New to the rookie list this year is Alex Whetton (Qld), Cameron Barr (NSW) and Daniel Butcher (Vic). Player to umpire participant, Andre Gianfagna (Vic) has joined the rookie list in the next phase of his development. Shane Stewart (Vic) and Leigh Haussen (SA) rejoin the panel.
Eleni Glouftsis and Lucinda Lopes continue their development as part of the female pathway for field umpires and former Carlton player Andrew Carrazzo will step out for the first time as an umpire in community football in April.
We will be profiling all of our young umpires later this month.
Pictured: Player to umpire pathway – Andre Gianfagna