I didn’t play much before coming to the UK, but I played a little bit with the San Francisco Seals a few years ago, and I’ve been playing for Oxford University ARFC for the past 4 years.
How you became an umpire:
I grew up in a small country town, and I took up umpiring at school, because a few of my friends were doing it, and it made for some good pocket money. When I moved away from home for uni, it was a good way to earn a bit of money whilst forcing myself to keep fit.
I made it to the VFL squad as a boundary umpire while I was living in Melbourne, and last year I won the golden whistle at the AFL Europe Championships in London.
My favourite game would probably be a Southern Football League grand final in 2008. The game was extremely tight all day, and could have gone either way with less than two minutes to go. The team that ended up winning had played in multiple recent grand finals, but hadn’t won a flag since the 50s, and the celebrations when the siren went were ecstatic.
At a junior tournament, in a very close game, I once blew my whistle for time when I heard the siren on the ground next door. The main ground had a very loud siren, but our ground only had a small air horn, and I confused the two. I ended up having to restart the game for an extra 2 minutes or so, during which time the winner changed.
I had a friend and fellow umpire who penalised an unconscious player for holding the ball. The player was knocked unconscious, and when an opposition player bent over and put his arm over him to check how he was, my friend, not realising the player was unconscious, payed holding the ball. After the stretcher had taken the player off, he changed his decision to a ball up.
Getting selected was a really nice surprise. I didn’t realise that people from here would be going over to umpire, so being selected was fantastic. It’s a real honour to be able to head over and represent AFL Europe in Melbourne.
Preparation for the IC:
I’ve been umpiring a bit in the London league this year, including the preseason cup, which has been good. I’m trying to build up my base fitness with some long running at the moment, and will move into more speed-focused training as the tournament gets closer.