I completed work experience with the AFLUA from Monday 15 – Thursday 18 April 2019 and during this time I worked on tasks around the office including being able to attend AFL umpire training which took place on Tuesday afternoon at Ikon park.

Initially when I first arrived, I was greeted by Peter Kelly and soon met Julia Gauci who I’d been communicating via email for months. My first task was to unbox and organise orders for the umpires which included Asics, 2xu and Musashi. Umpires who live interstate receive their packages via courier, while Melbourne based umpires received their orders by CEO Peter Howe and myself at training.

I worked on a video that was created for the latest Fiona McBurney match day experience participant, Madeline Fox. The video included photos and videos from the Essendon v Brisbane game. The program involves being an assistant AFL Umpires trainer for the day. At the end of the day, Madeline received a certificate, a signed record and guernsey. She also got to see her team (the Bombers) get the win over Brisbane.

Julia and I then worked on the milestone letters for round 5, which included Drew Kowalski and Matthew Konetschka celebrating their 150thgame and Nathan Williamson celebrating his 50th. We also worked on updating and sending out a survey to the partners of 18 umpires who recently attended a function.

We then moved on to sending out the member benefit newsletters for the month of April which are unique depending on where the umpires are from. This involved individually updating and changing the 5 newsletters individually which was very strenuous. I also began working on the first draft for the quarterly newsletter set to release in May.

I then worked on drafting another survey, this time for all of the AFLW umpires to receive feedback with how they found their 2019 season, including the first season of being AFLUA members.

I had the opportunity to travel to Ikon Park in Carlton with CEO Peter Howe. When we arrived at the ground, we were given the honour to meet the majority of the 2019 field umpires. We watched their intense training which was mostly conditioning at first, but they then moved to skills such as positioning themselves in relations to where the ball is.

Overall my week at the AFLUA has been a very enjoyable and unique experience which has given me an insight into the lives of the umpires on and off the field. I have also learnt how the Association looks after their umpires. The AFLUA are fantastic at caring for the umpires off field welfare. I wish the best for the association and AFL umpires in 2019.

Article Written By: Thomas Borg, work experience student from St. Bernard’s College

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