The umpiring department obviously thought that Jack McBurney might need some assistance in his 400 AFL appearance on the weekend so they appointed him with Shane McInerney who was doing his 373rd game and with veteran “rookie” Stuart Wenn who was doing his 330th game. When was the last time three field umpires with 1103 games and a combined age of 130 years umpired a game of AFL football?
It was good to see some golden oldies in the rooms after the game on Saturday afternoon to celebrate Jack’s achievement. Darren Goldspink and Scott McLaren headed the list, add John Harvey, Mark Prince, Derek Humphrey-Smith and Tim Shearer to that and the old stories were rolled out. Ex AFL umpires, Michael Sexton was a timekeeper and Vince Sercia an interchange steward for the game. Former fitness advisor Damien Woods made a brief appearance as did some old VFL mates.
This week we roll out of Jack’s celebrations and straight into another milestone of equal proportions when AFL goal umpire Mark Canning will become only the sixth goal umpire in VFL/AFL history to umpire 300 games. Included in that tally are 19 finals and 2 grand finals. We will have more on Mark as the week progresses.
Shane McInerney moved into fourth place in the all time field umpire list when he passed Darren Goldspink’s 371 games tally.
The AFL hosted a luncheon yesterday for all former grand final umpires. One of the apologies was from former boundary umpire George Smith who turns 100 later this year. He umpired the first of his three grand finals in 1946. George, who is living in Mildura these days finds it a little difficult to get down to Melbourne for the annual event. He is still as keen as ever on his footy. Roly Caird, who is 93 years old goal umpired the 1959 grand final was at the luncheon. Roly is an active member of the AFLUA and attends many of our X men luncheons.