Three of the four finals on the weekend were decided on the scoreboard by over 40 points. Take one look at the results and you could be excused for thinking the games were all one-way traffic.
Finals are never that way. Leigh Fisher, who umpired his first final at Optus Oval last Thursday night and who played AFL football said, “The pressure went up ten-fold and l’ve never experienced crowd noise like it.” Couple that with the want to “get it right” and the pressure is on not only for the players but also the umps.
The MCG on Friday night was a colosseum with the third highest first week of the finals crowd ever in attendance and the Gabba broke an all-time attendance record with thirty-seven thousand fans looking for a Brisbane win.
Umpiring at this time of the year is challenging and all umpires want to do their best as the stakes are high. On Monday afternoon 50% of those umpires who performed on the weekend will be cut from the list as the others move forward into the second and third weeks of the finals.
While our debutants were the focus during the first week of finals, a number of our very best umpires continue to reach elite status as their finals and games tallies rise. Goal umpire, Adam Wojcik moves into outright 3rd place for the most finals umpired now standing at 29. Only David Dixon (34) and Luke Walker (37) stand above Adam. Remarkably this equates to a final every 7.9 games.
Field umpire Matt Stevic moves into 3rd place on the all-time finals list with 38 finals. Only Jack Elder and Hayden Kennedy equal 2nd on 39 finals and Brett Rosebury with 44 finals are ahead of him. Evergreen boundary umpire Adam Coote moves into 8th place on the all-time finals appointments with 26. It is a great return for Adam who has been periodically injured over the past few seasons and not in the finals race. This season saw him umpire his 300th game and remain injury free umpiring 21 games. Simon Meredith moves into 7th place on the all-time field umpire games ladder. Simon has umpired 25 matches to this point in the season which is another remarkable achievement.
Good luck to the remaining umpires for this weekend!!!