Justin Schmitt chalked up his 250th AFL game when Hawthorn played Gold Coast on Sunday afternoon. Justin would agree that over the past 18 months, he is in career best form, which included two finals in 2012.
Justin, commenced his AFL career in SA in 1997 before relocating to Melbourne in 2001 to give himself the best chance of succeeding in his chosen sport. Justin hasn’t had it all his own way. In 2007 he missed the entire season with a serious back injury and most of 2010 with a shoulder reconstruction. There is nobody on the AFL list who looks after himself as well as Justin does, in particular with his rehab, following those serious injuries.
Drew Kowalski officiated in his 50th AFL game on the weekend in the Nth Melbourne v Adelaide game. Drew commenced his career with the Western Region Football League in 2000 and then to the VFL, culminating in the 2010 VFL grand final. Drew’s first AFL game was in 2011.
Canberra based boundary umpire had his boyhood dream come true yesterday when he walked onto the MCG in the Hawthorn v Gold Coast match. Scott Gordon, in his first year on the list dreamed of playing on the “G” as a youngster growing up in SA. He got his chance, albeit as an umpire, but hey, there is nothing wrong with that!
Sydney players were caught in congested Melbourne, Friday night traffic when their bus broke down on the way to the game. It reminded me of some of our trials and tribulations getting to games.
Brett Rosebury abandoned his car in St Kilda road on NAB Cup grand final night three years ago when a series of car crashes brought Melbourne’s roads to a stand still. He was seen on a tram also. Nic Liparota abandoned his car near the Storey Bridge and ran to the Gabba when traffic was gridlocked in Brisbane last year. On semi final night in Melbourne in 2010 two of our interstate boundaries had to catch a tram after sitting in gridlocked traffic on Flinders street. They got to the ground 40 minutes from start time.
Many of our older members would remember trips to Sydney in the early eighties, when umpires were getting changed into their gear in the back of cabs trying to get to the SCG by start time when planes were delayed on the day of the game. Now that was preparation!
Congratulations to the McBurney family who welcomed baby James into the world on Wednesday.