Each month, AFL Europe will showcase an umpire contributing to the game of Australian Football around the continent. Many thanks to Moneycorp for their continued support of AFL in Europe and this Umpire Spotlight segment.
Will Taylor – AFL Europe
As the recently announced Golden Whistle winner in AFL London, Joshua Davey is the man of the moment when it comes to umpiring in Europe.
Unlike many umpires in the game, Josh first found footy not by seeing the game live, but by seeing it on reality TV show Neighbours and the legendary Dr Karl.
“I first saw the game on Neighbours, if I remember correctly Dr Karl played for the local.”
“What really interested me was a vlog I was following of a guy living in Geelong who recorded the scenes on the streets when they won the Premiership in 2009 and I thought I should check it out to see what provoked such a massive street party.”
“From there I looked up if the game was played in the UK and found a local team in Cardiff, the Panthers.”
It was from this moment that Josh started to playing footy for the Cardiff Panthers and the Wimbledon Hawks as he made multiple appearances in top-tier competitions. As a Welsh and European Legion representative in Dublin during the European Championships in 2013, Josh was quite the player before making the switch to umpiring.
“As I already had the time spare I decided to volunteer my services to umpire and help out.”
“A few other people had the same idea and a Level 1 umpiring course was run by Shane Hill who was Head of Umpires at the time.”
“Although I’d umpired a few games for my club before, this was the first experience of umpiring “proper”. I did my first game with Ian Kafka and we remain good friends to this day. At the end of the week I was fortunate to be chosen to umpire the Grand Final between Ireland and GB.”
“The next week I was asked to travel to London to help out the AFL London Grand Final Day and umpired the Social Division Grand Final.”
“That has led me to travel to London most weeks since to umpire within the London Leagues and I also got to umpire at various EuroCup tournaments throughout Europe.”
Josh’s rapid rise up the umpiring ranks culminated in his presence at the 2016 European Championships as an umpire. Here he was coached by National Umpires Manager at the AFL at the time, Adam Davis.
This experience saw him umpire the Grand Final between GB and Ireland, before he became qualified as a Level 2 umpire.
With plenty of big experiences in his first couple of years as an umpire, a trip to Australia for the International Cup was without a doubt a big moment in Josh’s career as an umpire to date.
“In 2017 I travelled to Australia with Oscar Ayyadi and Geoff Pascoe, umpiring in the International Cup in Melbourne.”
“I got to witness some great teams first hand, umpiring the eventual men’s winners PNG and was I selected as emergency umpire for the Women’s Grand Final at Etihad.”
With his achievements not to bee underestimated, Josh loves having the best seat of the house and seeing the greatest game in front of him when he is umpiring Australian Football.
Having achieved almost everything there is to do with AFL in Europe, Josh is looking forward to working with more umpires in the future to spread the word about this great game of ours.
“Within Europe I’ve been fortunate to umpire some great games including 1 point Grand Finals in London and Dublin and the AIS/AFL Academy team.”
“There’s a great relationship between all the umpires across Europe and we look forward to catching up with each other at various games and tournaments throughout the year.”
With the 2018 Euro Cup coming up and the 2019 European Championships set to take place in London, it’s fair to say we haven’t seen the last of Josh Davey in the fluro green!
Do you know an umpire with an outstanding story in Australian Football? Get in touch via our AFL Europe Facebook page or via email to Will.Taylor@afleurope.org.