Completing his two hundredth AFL match… Umpiring in his first career AFL Grand Final in front of over 100,000 spectators at the MCG… For field umpire Brendan ‘Hosko’ Hosking, season 2022 was strewn with memorable umpiring moments.

Brendan recently shared how rediscovering his self-belief and adjusting his mindset proved to be the cornerstones that fuelled his umpiring journey across the milestone year.

The 2022 campaign culminated into 25 games, including three Finals series matches and the Grand Final, which took his tally to 211 AFL games. In the process, he became the 66th field umpire to officiate in a VFL/AFL Grand Final, and is the third most experienced field umpire appointed to their first grand final after Mathew Nicholls (202). Brendan was first promoted to the AFL list in 2012.

Explaining the changes he felt attributed to his success the past year, Brendan said, “Part of my preparations for the year was working more on my mindset than anything else. After a number of years missing out on Finals, you do start to doubt yourself a little bit.

“It all came back to me rediscovering self-belief in my umpiring ability – almost starting afresh, getting that hunger and that willingness to learn and be coached, and be really honest with myself and my feedback.”

Brendan Hosking during the 2022 Toyota AFL Grand Final match between Geelong and Sydney Swans at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos)

On taking charge of prime matches during the season, Brendan continued, “In terms of the little goals that I aimed to be ticking off in order to reach bigger goals, that was really important. It gives you the confidence to get going and keep pushing, keep exploring different ways to go about your learning with your umpiring.

“I had opportunities to go out in bigger games and to do well in those games, which gave me the confidence I needed to keep that process evolving.

“So, when milestones roll around, like my 200th game, and the support and appreciation from your peers you get with milestones like those, I felt like I belonged here.”

Realigning his focus on the professional front was another key decision. He scaled down to three days of part-time teaching work, which provided him more time to dedicate to both his umpiring and family commitments.

He continued working closely with AFL Field Umpires’ Head Coach Michael Jennings to put learning strategies in place quickly, which helped Brendan power through the season more consistently.

One thing Brendan has done to mark his 2022 milestones is to collect a copy of the AFL Record magazine for those landmark matches he officiated in – continuing on what he had done for each of the first 100 games of his AFL umpiring career.

Although he has pulled the reins on this matchday ritual after the first century of matches, the latest additions to his collection on the way to a double ton and maiden Grand Final were further reasons for him to celebrate the achievements of last year.

Brendan said, “We’re so lucky to be able to do what we are doing. Those little things like that you can hold on to and be proud of, I think go a long way.

“There’s no way that I would have been able to do or achieve what I did last year without so much support – from coaches to my umpiring mates to my family. It is pretty special and pretty important.”


Featured image – Brendan Hosking during the 2022 AFL Round 16 match between Carlton and St Kilda at Marvel (Docklands) Stadium. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos)

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