The annual AFL umpires camp was the venue to present two prestigious association awards to two champions of umpiring.
Current field umpire, Matt Stevic had the pleasure of presenting retired field umpire Shaun Ryan with his Honorary Life Membership of the AFLUA. Shaun’s statistics certainly underline his status on field but it was a focus of the off field that saw Shaun presented with his award.
Shaun is the fastest umpire in the history of VFL/AFL to reach the 200 game milestone. He finished his career on 215 games including 25 finals and 5 grand finals. Shaun saw much more that could be done to bring a young and talented group through the ranks. He lobbied the umpiring department and along with a few other running umpires developed the leadership group and was instrumental in getting Leading Teams founder, Ray McLean to assist in developing that model and supporting it in its formative years. Umpires took control of their environment and worked to develop leaders within its ranks. Shaun fondly reflected on the relationships he formed with all umpires on the list and revelled in being back in the umpiring family to be presented with his award. Shaun is a strong supporter of the association behind the scenes. Since his retirement in 2010 his business as a barrister and his pursuit as a triathlete has kept him very busy.
President, Stefan Grun presented AFLUA life member, Brett Allen with his plaque on being elevated to Grand final legend status. Brett became the 10th field umpire elevated to legend status. He umpired his first AFL game in 1992 but did not umpire a grand final until 1999. Brett then umpired seven of the next eight grand finals, including 37 finals in his 347 game career.
Stefan indicated that Brett umpired a final on average every 9.4 games in a stellar career. He was also named All Australian in 1999, ’00,’02,’06.
Brett, like Shaun deflected from his career and spoke about the driving force behind his success, having fun and working hard with his mates. Brett thought his best asset was his ability to remain composed and deliver the game plan required by the coaches in a very consistent manner. Asked why he missed out in 2001 (the only year he didn’t get the grand final between 1999 and 2006) “I wasn’t in the best three, others were obviously better performed,” said Brett as a matter of fact. It is critical in big games like grand finals that you just pay the major, obvious free kicks and that was what I was able to bring to the game. I never got involved in anything I didn’t have too.”
Brett and Shaun were asked to present milestone and grand final trophies to those who achieved them in 2013. They were able to mingle with their old team mates and field questions from the younger members of the panel at the conclusion of the presentations.
Field umpire Shane McInerney missed most of the camp when he came down with appendicitis and was rushed to Geelong hospital for emergency surgery. Shane was released from hospital on Monday and is at home recovering comfortably.
Pictured: Matt Stevic and AFLUA Honorary Member – Shaun Ryan
Pictured – From left to right: Scott Jeffery, Brett Allen, Stuart Wenn and Jeff Dalgleish