Losing weight is what attracted Corey Watkins to take up boundary umpiring which allowed him to run whilst also allowing him to follow his passion of being involved in the great Australian game.
His career now sees him appointed as an AFL boundary umpire, a far cry from his early days when he unofficially umpired for his brothers Under 12 team – Payneham, when he was just 10 years old. He continued with his brother’s team for 2-3 years until he was invited to join the SANFL academy, where during his two years, he officiated in First 18 school games and the occasional Under 17 SANFL game.
In 2010, Corey joined the SAAFL (Amateur League) where he umpired two Division One grand finals during his four years with the League. In January 2014, Corey received a call from Hayden Cook (SANFL Coach) to re-join the SANFL. Corey enjoyed instant success making his senior debut in round one of the home and away season. He then went on to umpire the SANFL Preliminary Final in 2014, the 2015 and 2016 SANFL Grand Finals and the 2016 State Game between South Australia and Victoria.
Corey mentioned two career highlights to date – his SANFL debut game in round 1 2014 between Norwood and Port Adelaide and his first SANFL grand final in front of 30,000 people. Suffice to say, the phone call from Simon Leigh to join the AFL Boundary list is now his third.
Corey keeps himself busy running and surfing and is studying physiotherapy at University of South Australia. He is motivated by his desire to always being the best version of himself and to make his family and partner proud of his achievements.
Two people have been most influential on his career to date – Matthew Konetshka and Hayden Cook. “Matthew is a close mate and has mentored me on rule uncertainties, helped with my throw-ins and been a running training partner. He is also someone l admire given his professional approach to umpiring. He has a long career ahead of him.”
Corey acknowledges the support Hayden Cook has provided with adapting his throw in action through many tireless practices to be more sustainable and biomechanically advantageous. “Without Matt and Hayden, l wouldn’t be half the umpire l am today.”
Congratulations Corey on your appointment to the AFL Boundary list in 2017 and we wish you all the best for the season ahead.
Article written by: AFLUA Marketing and Communications Coordinator, Peter Kelly