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Player of the Week

Each week AFL Europe is profiling a European player and finding out how they got into the great game of Aussie Rules and a bit about themselves. If you’d like a profile or know of someone who would, then email ben.durance@afleurope.org to receive a question sheet.

This week were are profiling the Paris Cockerels gun centre half-back, Huw Ryan. The Aussie-turned-Frenchman has been plying his trade in France for the past few years. Check out his profile below.

Name:

Huw Ryan

Club:

Paris Cockerels

Nationality:

French/Australian

What position do you play?

Full-Back

AFL team you support:

Essendon Bombers

Favourite AFL player:

Nic Naitanui

How did you find out about AFL?

I played football as a child and picked it back up again in Paris vis the annual ANZAC Match in Villers-Bretonneux

How long have you been playing for?

I’ve been playing for two years in France

What is your memory of your first Aussie Rules game?

Being put in the ruck against a man-child, and the frost being crispy under foot

Best AFL moment?

Winning the French Premiership in the 2014-2015 season

Any other interesting information, quirky stories or interesting things about yourself?

I stopped playing Aussie rules for 12-13 years then picked it back up when I arrived in France, first at the ANZAC match then with the Cockerels.

 

Player of the Week – Lisa Wilson

Each week AFL Europe is profiling a European player and finding out how they got into the great game of Aussie Rules and a bit about themselves. If you’d like a profile or know of someone who would, then email ben.durance@afleurope.org to receive a question sheet.

Name:

Lisa Wilson

Club:

Wimbledon Hawks

Nationality:

British

What position do you play?

Half forward/half back

AFL Team you support:

Crows/Bulldogs (can’t decide!)

Favourite AFL Player:

Taylor Walker

How did you find out about AFL?

My basketball coach at university used to play AFL for England and moved to Australia to play. When visiting in Australia I went to watch him at a game and he took me for a kick afterwards. On moving back to London I looked up Aussie rules in London and wandered down to the Wimbledon Hawks and the lads were so welcoming…fell in love with the sport instantly.

How long have you been playing for?

Just over 2 years

What is your memory of your first Aussie Rules game?

It was Wimbledon Hawks Ladies Day 2014 and we managed to rumble up 20 girls to play a ten aside exhibition game and within 5 minutes one girl broke her leg and by the end another had broken her hand and there were plenty of bumps and bruises to go around – loved it!

Best moment in your career?

Playing for the England Vixens and thrashing Denmark in the Euro Cup final in Croatia to become champions.

Any other information or quirky stories?

I am genuinely addicted to footy; since starting I have helped set up and run the Wimbledon hawks ladies, played for England twice, set up the GB Swans team, started the Clapham Cubs Auskick club and started umpiring.

 

Registrations Close Today! – Euro Cup 2016

The 2016 Euro Cup in Lisbon, Portugal is only 4 weeks away! Don’t forget to register as a player, volunteer or coach/team manager before registration closes today.

Your registration fee this year INCLUDES all of the following:

  • Playing registration fee
  • Event t-shirt
  • 2-nights accommodation at either Hotel Amazonia or Praia Mar (price is for a triple room with two of your teammates)
  • Breakfast both Saturday and Sunday morning at the hotel
  • Wristband and free entry to the official after-party
  • Transfers to the after-party

Follow the link below.

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/2016-afl-europe-euro-cup-tickets-26639362049

Please contact Ben Durance at ben.durance@afleurope.org with any queries.

 

2016 AFL Europe Euro Cup

Welcome to the 2016 Euro Cup! This year’s tournament is being held in Lisbon, Portugal at the National Stadium Jamor.

Date: Saturday 8th October 2016

Venue: Lisbon, Portugal (National Stadium Jamor)

Map:

 Pitch Map

Registration:

Your registration fee of €110 + Eventbrite Fee, this year INCLUDES all of the following:

  • Playing registration fee
  • Event t-shirt
  • 2-night accommodation at either Hotel Amazonia or Praia Mar (price is for a triple room with two of your teammates)
  • Breakfast on Saturday and Sunday at your hotel
  • Wristband and free entry in the official after-party

Please note – if you wish to stay at the accommodation for longer (before or after the tournament), please contact us ASAP on admin@afleurope.org so we can organise this for you. Beds are limited so get in early. 

 

Eventbrite - 2016 AFL Europe Euro Cup

 

Volunteers:

Any volunteers who which to help during the event can register on Eventbrite AND contact AFL Europe at admin@afleurope.org. The price for Volunteers covers your accommodation and breakfast we will supply you with lunch, t-shirt and never ending gratitude.

Umpires:

All umpiring enquiries regarding Euro Cup can be made by contacting umpires@afleurope.org – registration is available on the Eventbrite link.

Information Pack:

2016 Pre-Tournament Booklet

Player Eligibility:

1) The Player was predominantly resident in the country of the league between 10 and 16 years of age subject to the qualification in sub clause A below.
2) The Player is a citizen of the country of the league at the time when the competition is conducted, subject to the qualification in sub clause A below.
3) The Player is not under suspension in that Player’s local competition during the period of the competition.
AFL Europe may on a case by case basis, waive the eligibility requirements if it is satisfied that a player is a bona fide resident in the country of the league and his participation would be in the best interests of the competition. Submissions in this regard must be made by lodging a Application for Eligibility Exemption – 2016. Any player who has previously obtained exemption must apply again in 2016 – please complete the form and email to admin@afleurope.org

Tournament Rules and Eligibility

Team Registration & Waiver:

The Eventbrite form makes it compulsory for all players, coaches and team officials to specify which team they are registration for/with however, all teams need to submit a Euro Cup 2016 – Team Entry Form before the cut-off date (Saturday 17th September) as well as a Euro Cup 2016 – Team List and a AFL Europe Euro Cup – Waiver and Release – all players must sign this form before registration on Friday 7th October 2016. This will ensure all information is received by us and we can then go ahead with the rankings and draw.

Tuesday Around the Grounds

Around the Grounds

Swedish Elks and Irish Warriors release their AFL Europe Champs Squads

The Swedish Elks and Irish Warriors have released strong squads for the upcoming AFL Europe Championships taking place in London during the third week of August. Congratulations to everyone selected. We look forward to seeing these boys in action.

Team lists as follows:

Irish Warriors

Defenders

Muiris Bartley (UCC & Leeside Lions)

Sean Paul Henry (Belfast Redbacks)

Luke Hickey (UCC & Leeside Lions)

Brendan Kelly (Belfast Redbacks)

Stiofán Mac Finn (Wimbledon Hawks)

Tom McKenna (Belfast Redbacks)

Paul Murphy (UCC & Leeside Lions)

Conor O’ Halloran (Leeside Lions)

Eoin Ó Súilleabháin (Leeside Lions)

Tom Stack (Manchester Mosquitoes)

Gerard Walls (Belfast Redbacks)

 

Midfielders

Liam Burns (South Dublin Swans)

Conor Fitzgerald (Wandsworth Demons)

David McElhone (Belfast Redbacks)

Sean McGlinchey (Belfast Redbacks)

Stuart McKeating (Belfast Redbacks)

David Miller (Belfast Redbacks)

Gavin Murray (South Dublin Swans)

Kevin Young Kev O’ Brien (Wandsworth Demons)

Eoin Ó Murchú (Wandsworth Demons)

 

Forwards

Conor Fitzgerald (North London Lions)

Dominic Joyce (Leeside Lions)

Ryan McCloskey (Belfast Redbacks)

Kevin McDonnell (Galway Magpies)

David McGinty (Galway Magpies)

Kevin McSorley (Belfast Redbacks)

Kevin Old Kev O’ Brien (Wandsworth Demons)

Padraic O’ Connell (Leeside Lions)

Cóilín Ó Lordáin (Leeside Lions)

 

Standby/Emergencies

Rory O’ Donnell (UCC & Leeside Lions)

Alan Tobin (Wandsworth Demons)

 

 

Swedish Elks

Andreas Svensson – Helsingborg

Anton Tellström – Helsingborg

Jacob Lantz – Helsingborg

Hampus Olsson – Helsingborg

Jacob Nilsson – Helsingborg

Philip Nilsson – Helsingborg

Robin Nilsson – Helsingborg

Niklas Jonsson – Norrtälje

Martynas Alijosius – Norrtälje

Erik Lindqvist – Norrtälje

Gustav Svensson – Norrtälje

Buster Sund – Norrtälje

Tim Lindgren – Port Malmö

Tobias Gogu – Port Malmö

Tony Persson – Port Malmö

Jonas Lovén – Port Malmö

Christopher Mårtensson – Port Malmö

Jonas Birgén – Årsta

Mattis Kvarnström – Årsta

Oscar Magnusson – Solna

Pekka Tångström – Göteborg

Kaj Karlsson – Södermalm

 

AFL announces 8-team women’s competition for Season 2017

Last week the AFL announced a new 8-team national women’s competition for 2017. With the growth of the women’s game over the past few years this will further develop the amazing participation and exposure for women’s football.

We’re hopeful one of our talented AFL Europe women’s players will be running around on the MCG in the near future.

http://www.afl.com.au/news/2016-06-15/eight-teams-named-for-inaugural-womens-league

 

CNFA Grand Final takes centre stage

Forget about the Euros a brand new CNFA premier will be crowned this weekend in Bordeaux when the Paris Cockatoos and Cergy-Pontoise Coyotes go head-to-head. Both teams head through to the big dance with wins two weeks ago. The Coyotes downed the Toulouse Hawks and the Cockatoos took down reigning premiers and big brother, the Paris Cockerels.

This one is set to be an absolute thriller. Keep an eye out for the match preview this Friday as AFL Europe’s ‘Match of the Round’.

 

Get your nominations in!

Nominations for the AFL Europe Championships in August and the Euro Cup in October are still open. We’d love to have as many teams as possible join in the fun at two of the biggest AFL Europe events of the year.

For further information regarding either tournament please email admin@afleurope.org

 

Another female umpire joins the ranks

Massive congratulations to Odense Lioness, Maria Falkesgarrd Jorgensen, for becoming the first Danish female field umpire during a game between the Odense Lions and Farum Cats in late May.

This is a huge achievement and a testament to Maria, the Odense Lions and the Danish Australian Football League. Keep up the good work.

Maria

Mixed results for Titans in AFL England South

The Southampton Titans had mixed results over the weekend in what was a hard fought day of footy in Brighton.

In their first game they got the W against the Surrey Stags 16.5. 101 to 1.6. 12. The tables turned when they came up against the Sussex Swans who downed the Titans 14.15. 99 to 4.5. 29.

Best on Ground for the day for the Titans was Martyn Hinchey.

Keep up the good work down in AFL England South.

Southampton Titans

Surrey Stags

Sussex Swans

Australia take home the 7th Annual ANZAC Cup

There’s another traditional ANZAC Day football match that takes place just slightly north of the MCG, in the small but incredibly beautiful town of Villers-Bretonneux, France.

This year’s Slater + Gordon ANZAC Cup saw Australia take out the win 112-63 making the tally 4 victories to Australia and 3 to France. What the tally doesn’t show you is the incredible relationships that are formed over the short few days between all involved. With both the Australian and French players and their guests being hosted by local families throughout the Picardie region, it has truly cemented this unique bond.

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ANZAC Day in Villers-Bretonneux began with all the French and Australian players attending the Dawn Service, held at the Australian War Memorial, in the early hours of the morning in the cold and heavy rains. Not one complaint was made, all involved shared this special experience, hearing only the rain and the bugle.

The players reunited for a march through the streets of Villers-Bretonneux, following three bagpipers and the French and Australian flags, right up to Stadium Timmerman. Standing arm in arm the National anthems played, and a minute of silence for our ancestors, who had fell on that very ground.

IMG_9528

A spirited start for the Australian team saw them dominate in the first quarter but the second quarter onwards showed a feisty French team not go down without a fight. With great quality of football being seen, two stand outs were chosen by the opposing teams. Best on ground for the Australian team, James Gottschalk, said he, “Just gave it my all for my country, it’s not every day you get to wear your country’s jersey. I wore it with pride and represented my country to the best of my ability to pay my respects to the ANZACs who also gave it their all for their countries”. With the players being chosen on their connection to the land and the history of Villers-Bretonneux and the ANZACs the quality of football was outstanding. The French best on ground went to Thibaut Picard who read the movement of the play outstandingly and worked exceptionally well with his team mates, always being on hand to keep the ball moving forward. Inside and outside player, tough and explosive, and really embodied the ANZAC spirit.

At the conclusion of the men’s match we saw the first ever Women’s match played at the AFL Europe ANZAC Cup. A lack of Australian numbers wasn’t an issue for the ladies, a seven a side match was played with the French lending a helping hand to their opponents. All the women mingled and played alongside and against each other adding another level to the relationships already formed. Australian, Jess Edwards, was awarded best on ground for the women’s team after dominating and coming away with 6 goals. Edwards also made an incredibly moving speech about mateship and the French-Australian relationship. The French women’s best on ground went to Camille Portal, twin sister to fellow French player, Berengere, for her aggressive and skilful approach to the game!

IMG_9685

Captain-coach, for the Australian men’s team, Tom Rischbeith, was fortunate enough to play his second year for the Australian Spirit. In reflecting on the game, Rischbeith said “I have found that one of the nicest thing about being involved in this game is that is has been a platform for myself and others to reconnect with our ancestors and with an era which is fast becoming old history rather than recent. I think it’s becoming rarer and rarer these days for people our age and younger to put much thought to the incredible sacrifices made by those who have fought for Australia at war, but with an event like this it gives a unique twist on ANZAC Day which us youngies (loosely applied term!) can attach to.”

Photo 25-04-2015 8 37 38 pm

AFL Europe would like to thank all those who volunteered and supported the ANZAC Cup. It was an extremely special and touching event that we hope will get bigger and better in the years to come.

Photo 25-04-2015 1 02 40 pm

 

 

Sarah Ongarello

AFL Europe Champions League Review – Amsterdam

The weekend saw AFL Europe and DAFA play host to the Inaugural Champions League tournament which brought ten teams to Amsterdam to face off for the title. Teams qualified for the event after finishing as premiers in their local leagues allowing for 17 of the top teams in Europe to receive an invite and 10 to make their way to the Netherlands.

The round robin style tournament, with the ten teams split into two groups, kicked off at 9am with some players really feeling the cold donning thermal gear under their kits. The red group was tightly contested with many games able to go either way. The exception was the West London Wildcats, who went through the group stage undefeated. It came down to the percentage, the Amsterdam Devils scraped through to the finals over the Edinburgh Bloods and Solna Axemen after they ended on the same amount of wins with a straight kick deciding who went through. The black group had the Rheinland Lions storm through to finals undefeated, with Belfast Red Backs only nursing their Lions loss to play the Wildcats.

The semi-finals kicked off with the West London Wildcats barely holding off a valiant Belfast Red Backs by 2 points with a late goal to make it into the all important final, whilst the Manchester Mosquitoes managed to avoid the wooden spoon by defeating the Zagreb Hawks. Shortly after, the Rheinland Lions and Amsterdam Devils kept the crowd on their feet by drawing at the final siren. In a nail biter, the game went into overtime (first score wins) and saw the Lions steal a quick goal to seal their place in the finals. Malmo Redeyes had a comfortable win over the Solna Axemen to take out 7th place in the all Sweden contest whilst the Toulouse Hawks finished in 5th overall ahead of the Edinburgh Bloods who had tired from the long day at that point.

The Belfast Red Backs overpowered the Amsterdam Devils, on their home turf, to take 3rd place by a healthy 10 goal margin before the inaugural final took place. After both the West London Wildcats and Rheinland Lions dominated their collective groups, they faced off for the title of the AFL Europe Champions League. With the crowd at its highest capacity all day, rugged up, with Coopers in hand, the West London Wildcats took out the crown finishing 8.6.54 to the Lions 1.1.7.

 

1stWest London Wildcats
2ndRheinland Lions
3rdBelfast Red Backs
4thAmsterdam Devils
5thToulouse Hawks
6thEdinburgh Bloods
7thMalmo Redeyes
8thSolna Axemen
9thManchester Mosquitoes
10thZagreb Hawks

 

Post tournament festivities ran far into the night only pausing to allow AFL Europe CEO, Ben MacCormack, to announce the team of the tournament. The best player from each team, as voted by their own teams, was also revealed and presented with an AFL Europe Champions League guernsey making them part of the 10 man Champions League squad.

A big congratulations to the West London Wildcats for taking home the cup and well done to those players who made the team of the tournament:

 

Nicholas MoranAmsterdam Devils
Gerard WallsBelfast Red Backs
Ewen PicklesEdinburgh Bloods
Daniel ScotfordMalmo Redeyes
Jake NorrisManchester Mosquitoes
Kristopher MarshRheinland Lions
Adam CubbageSolna Axemen
Emilien MartinezToulouse Hawks
Todd PfeifferWest London Wildcats
Josip HabljakZagreb Hawks

Sarah Ongarello

What do the Axemen, Bloods, Devils, Hawks and Lions have in common?

 The Solna Axemen, Edinburgh Bloods, Toulouse Hawks and Rhienland Lions will land in Amsterdam this coming Saturday to join us, and co-hosts Amsterdam Devils, for the Inaugural AFL Europe Champions League. With the tournament looming and the need to take home the cup becoming stronger, AFL Europe headquarters caught up for a chat with five of the ten teams hitting the turf this Saturday.

 

Alan “Sparro” McSparron and the Bloods are making their way from Edinburgh to Amsterdam to test the standards of football around Europe. With great excitement and a constantly growing Scottish League, the Bloods are looking forward to measuring themselves against these top European Teams.

 

Along with the Bloods come the Rhienland Lions heading west from Germany to show Europe why they won AFLG Championship. Being named after the region of Rhienland due to rivalry between the cities of Cologne and Düsseldorf, the team boasts players from both these cities. With friendly game experience against teams from the UK, Netherlands, France and Denmark the Lions are raring to show they’re a force to reckon with.

 

It was an easy decision for the Solna Axemen to head to Amsterdam for the first ever AFL Europe Champions League. The excitement has been building since receiving the invitation. The Stockholm Australian Rules Football Federation (SAFF) began in 2007 and the Solna Axemen have cemented their invite after winning 6 from 8 premierships, including back to back in 2013 and 2014. Not only are the Axemen excited to play against new teams and test their skills, they’re ready to meet other players from around Europe and a few, hopefully celebratory, beers after the Tournament.

 

Being founded in 2008 by only 5 French players, the Toulouse Hawks quickly moved up the French Championship ladder and managed to snag a few key players from the French National Team. Winning the French Championship and being undefeated in the both the 2013 and 2014 seasons, the Toulouse Hawks are definitely one of the teams to watch in the Champions League. They are excited to participate in the Inaugural Champions League and looking forward to some international exposure all the while hoping to take home the cup!

 

The host of the first inaugural Champions League, the Amsterdam Devils were founded in 2010 and proudly took out the Dutch league in their first year and every year since! With a combination of Dutch and Australian at the heart and soul of the Devils, and strong British and South African legs the home team is ready to put up a good fight to keep the Cup on home soil. New star recruit, Nick Moran and the team and ready to compete with the best teams from Europe.

Follow the Tournament at @AFL_Europe, #AFL_Europe and #ChampionsLeague

 

Sarah Ongarello

AFL Europe Umpires’ profile – Part 2

By Michael McCormick

George Wood

Having to break up a fight in London may be a common occurrence for some, especially on a weekend. When you’re on your own, trying to break up a fight between two teams of footballers is a whole new ball game.

This was the situation that AFL England Umpire, George Wood found himself in during one of the first games he umpired.

“I came off the ground that day feeling absolutely spent, that’s when you know you’ve put your best effort in,” stated Wood. “Or it means you’re really unfit.”

Wood, who watched a lot of AFL growing up in Australia, has ambitions of becoming an umpire in the TAC Cup, through which most of the current and past greats of the game were recruited.

Wood became hooked with the game at a very early age.

“My earliest memory would probably be at Auskick when I was about five years old. It really helped set down some good foundation skills for me.”

Wood believes that Australian Football is growing in popularity due to the athleticism of the players and entertainment of the fast paced games.

“When Geelong full forward, Tom Hawkins kicked a goal after the siren against Hawthorn to win the game in 2012, I was ecstatic,” remarked Wood.

“They came from the brink of defeat to snatch the game as a result of pure determination and will and that’s what makes footy great.”

Wood also watches a lot of games to analyse the umpires in order to improve his own skills.

“They really establish a presence on the ground and a commanding aura. So I try to replicate them as much as possible.”

Wood underpins confidence as the number one factor that will determine the success of an umpire on the field. He advocates standing by decisions and not being afraid to blow the whistle.

“Don’t allow outside influences to impact your decision, you’re there for a reason.”

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 John Enright

John Enright

Playing Australian Football in two countries is an achievement in itself but when neither of those countries are Australia, it is a rarity.

ARFLI umpire, John Enright has accomplished that and much more in his career to date.

Born in a small town in the County of Kerry in Ireland, it wasn’t until Enright moved to Ontario, Canada that he began playing Australian Football. Upon returning to Ireland after his Canadian gap year, with a premiership medallion around his neck, Enright joined a local team and continued to grow his passion for the sport.

It wasn’t until 2007 that Enright’s umpiring crusades kicked off, being thrown I the deep end and made to umpire the ARFLI Grand Final.

“I initially went to the game as a spectator but the assigned umpire was at a wedding the night before and was late in arriving,” said Enright.

“I was asked to step in and so got my first shot at blowing the whistle.”

Enright was exhilarated by being in control of the match and was hooked from there.

Over the next few years, Enright went on to complete many course and become one of the most accredited Indigenous umpires in Europe.

This level of commitment lead to his finest moment – coordinating and managing the European Championships in Dublin in 2013.

“It was a quite a thrill to assign umpires for games and to umpire prominently in a major European Championships,” said Enright.

He now has sights set on representing European umpires at the International Cup in 2017 which he believes to be quite achievable.

He has a less realistic goal of umpiring at an International Rules game between Ireland and Australia yet with his prior experience as a Gaelic Football referee and an AFL umpire, Enright has established himself as a prime candidate for the role.

Enright also believes that being an umpire is a very fortunate position to have and one not to take for granted.

“Don’t be afraid to have a go,” said Enright to any aspiring and young umpires.

“Be confident in your decision making and enjoy the game from the best seat in the house.”

#umpiresweek #betterumpiresmeansbettergames #thethirdteam

Gavin Ward’s experience as DAFL umpires coordinator

Picture Derek Clarke

By Gavin Ward, DAFL umpires coordinator

“The more things change, the more they stay the same”

After moving to Denmark with my Danish wife in 2002, I came across Australian Football by accident and to my surprise. Being a retired player back home and out of the game for many years, I saw this as a great opportunity to firstly get involved with the Danish society and secondly to give back to the game the great experiences it gave me growing up.

As umpires are like hens teeth in a minority sport, being asked to umpire came quite quickly. I thought I would give it a go, and I’m glad I did.

My first game was bit hairy at the start with a few tense moments, but I pulled through unscathed. Looking back, you realise how challenging umpiring can be, due to the considerable amount of focus and concentration required.  From a playing perspective, the challenge of umpiring probably goes unrecognised as your focus is on yourself, your team and winning the game, and not much appreciation is given for the umpires’ efforts.

The past couple of years I have been umpiring on a regular basis.

I find that umpiring a good way to still be involved in the game, maintaining fitness and enjoying the social side afterwards. I started really enjoying learning another side to the game. I found you learn and understand the game from one perspective as a player; where umpiring has quite a different focus and a need to understand the rules on a much deeper level.

I’ve since been asked if I would like coordinate the umpires and help in trying to build an umpiring team.

Once I took on the role, I naturally found the need to dig deeper into umpiring, to improve myself as an umpire and help other umpires do the same. Last year’s AFL Europe Level 1 accreditation course was really helpful in moving forward in my role as coordinator. The preparation, coursework, drills and feedback were all beneficial to me both as an umpire and as a coordinator.

One of the highlights I have had in umpiring was umpiring the European Championships in Dublin.

You can really notice the different standard of the game – it gets the heart rate going and motivates you to perform! Umpiring in those games was really enjoyable because all involved wanted to do well. The Championships were quite exiting to umpire – it was nation up against nation every couple of days, which gave a feeling of being as part of something special. Another, more recent highlight, was umpiring the Scandinavia Cup in Malmo, Sweden. It felt like a local derby, as the intensity level was quite high.

As an umpire, these are the types of games that send chills down your spine!

Coordinating a team of umpires comes with its ups and downs. I knew it would be challenging trying to recruit more umpires as well as retain our existing guys and girls. Setting up a social media group helped with recruitment and engaging the team. A lot of questions the guys and girls had leading up to games could be discussed privately amongst the team, and I think everyone appreciated the support. Using the website for promotion and encouraging new umpires (or injured players) to try out goal and boundary umpiring as a taster seems has shown some positive signs.

The most rewarding part of my role as coordinator so far has been seeing new umpires pick up the whistle for the first time and love the part that they play in our great game. Takes me back to my first time in control of a match!

One of the biggest challenges is encouraging new umpires to umpire rather than play.

Umpiring is to an extent seen as something to do after your playing career has finished and the few regular umpires we do have are retired players. Keeping the young guys involved who have ambitions to play is an issue, so something we may try next year is “Play one day, Umpire the next.”

Ideally, we would also like to work with the clubs ahead of the season to identify three or four rounds where new umpires will officiate alongside an experienced umpire. This will boost interest in umpiring and help handle those first-game nerves. Also, some of our female club supporters have been helping with goal umpiring this year. Potentially we have our own Chelsea Roffey in our midst, or better still one will go on to become a regular field umpire.

The last few years in the DAFL have seen more neutral umpires, which is improving the culture around umpiring.

It’s really important to have a supportive environment around our umpiring group, as it has helped retain umpires. In addition, since AFL Europe introduced accredited training and support, the standard of umpiring in the league has improved, as it gives our guys and girls something to strive for. I am also hearing this from Umpires’ Coordinators in other leagues, who all seem to be doing well in developing their umpiring teams.

I’m looking forward to the rest of the 2014 season and am starting to plan for next year already. Reminds me of how it went my playing days, really!

#umpiresweek #betterumpiresmeansbettergames #thethirdteam