There is one thing to get that much awaited phone call in early October to tell you that you’ve earned an AFL contract. The next exercise is to pick up your belongings and move to the other side of the country, establish your new work environment, ensure your partner is comfortable in her new environment, start training, fly around the country umpiring preseason JLT matches but to top it all off, selection in round one, now that’s special.
That’s what newly contracted former West Australian, Justin Power has achieved over the past 5 months. He will now travel back to Perth to umpire his first AFL match between Fremantle and North Melbourne.
Our other two debutants haven’t had to travel that far but are no less excited by their selections. Josh Furman’s last official game was the VFL Grand Final in September last season. He became contracted following the retirement of Chris Roberts, who said of Josh when he presented him with his AFL shirt last week, “he doesn’t speak much, he is very polite, in fact he doesn’t even eat much. I don’t know if he can umpire either because I haven’t seen him umpire, but I wish him all the best because he has taken my place on the list.” Now Josh what else can we say? Josh will debut in the Melbourne v Port Adelaide game at the MCG.
Our last debutant has spent 12 months being groomed for his round one debut. This time last year Nick Swanson was one of three NEAFL boundary umpires still vying for a place on the 2018 list. Having missed out in 2018, Nick has dedicated himself to his fitness regime and was a standout at the end of the NEAFL season. Nick will debut in the Brisbane v WCE clash, just a 45 minute drive from his home on the Gold Coast.
Congratulations and good luck to our debutants.