2019 welcomes Nathan Toner onto the AFL Rookie Squad in Victoria.

Nathan started umpiring after hanging up his footy boots. Like a lot of up and coming umpires, he wanted to stay involved in some way and earn pocket money so umpiring provided a logical step for a 13 year old.

Nathan umpired EDFL from 2012 to 2015 before joining the VFL Development Squad in 2016. He umpired the VFL Women’s Grand Final in 2016 before being appointed to the VFL Senior-Development Squad in 2017. He umpired the inaugural AFL Women’s game – Carlton v Collingwood at Ikon Park, participated in the Under 16 National Championships on the Gold Coast, made his senior debut in Round 18 – Collingwood v Geelong and then went on to umpire the TAC Cup Grand Final. In 2018, he was promoted to the VFL Senior Squad, participated in the U18 National Championships, umpired his first senior VFL final between Box Hill and Port Melbourne which was decided in extra time and then umpired the AFL Grand Final curtain raiser at the MCG.

In looking back over his career to date, Nathan believes the EDFL coaching group, including his junior coach Brett Pallini and in seniors Rowan Sawers, have been the most influential people on his career to date. His parents have also been highly supportive, both on and off the field, his dad having not missed many games since he began umpiring at a 13 year old.

Like most umpires, Nathan one day hopes to umpire AFL football, and this is his prime motivator. He also enjoys the challenges of umpiring and making those who support him in his endeavours proud of his achievements.

Nathan counts himself lucky to having one day met Brett Rosebury at one of the community umpiring rounds when he was back in his local league. Ever since then, Nathan has admired Brett for his work ethic and accomplishments.

Nathan’ journey to becoming a Rookie umpire has been a quick one, having only been with the VFL for 3 years. His advice to up and coming umpires is to enjoy yourself and embrace the opportunities that come your way. “The people you meet are fantastic, some of my best mates and memories have come from people l have met through my years in umpiring.”

Nathan graduated from Penleigh and Essendon Grammar School (class of 2016) and is currently a full-time university student studying a double degree of Law and Business. He enjoys travelling and basketball, is a fussy eater and loves watching AFL footy in Melbourne.

Well Nathan, you can now watch AFL footy a bit closer than normal spectators – on the bench. We wish you every success in the year ahead.

Article written by: AFLUA Marketing and Communications Coordinator, Peter Kelly

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