New Appointment – Administrator



Emily Jose

The VUA executive is thrilled to announce that Ms. Emily Jose has been appointed as VFUA Administrator, effective as at the conclusion of the Association’s Annual General Meeting held on 13 February 2024.

Emily has studied extensively and commenced her career in the event management industry, along with having umpired community football for the past seven seasons, which demonstrates her thorough understanding of the umpiring space.

The executive believes Emily’s appointment is a superb fit for the VFUA given her experience in event management and administration and also her interest in umpiring.

Emily’s role will incorporate taking a lead role in planning activities, projects and managing the administration of the VFUA.

Please join us in welcoming her to the Association.

Joon-Yip Wong


Chris Doyle – 150th VFL Match


Chris Doyle – 150th VFL Match

This week Chris Doyle became the 27th umpire, and the 10th goal umpire to officiate 150 VFL Matches. Chris’ journey at the VFL would be described as one which is filled with resilience, perseverance, and consistency.
Doylely, as he is affectionately known, started his career running the boundary for his alma mater St. Kevins in 1997 (Yes! Years before many of our current members were born). In 2002, he joined the VAFA to take boundary umpiring more seriously, but after a soft tissue injury that year he moved across to the goals. It was in 2006 that he joined the VFL Development Squad.
The next seven years were filled with many trials and tribulations for Chris as he struggled to break into the senior squad. This came to a head at the end of 2012 when former goal umpire coach Steve Stirling gave Chris an ultimatum, improve his fitness standards to the benchmarks required or not to come back. During the off season, Chris lost almost 15 kilograms and in Round 3 2013 he was rewarded with his first senior match when Williamstown played Werribee at Downer Oval. After joining the senior squad in 2013, Chris went on to become one of the most consistent performers on the squad, which resulted in him officiating the 2016 and 2017 TAC Cup Grand Finals.
The one match that stands out for Chris was a semifinal in 2016, when Footscray played Essendon at Port Melbourne. Doylely believes he had an “out of body” experience that day as he had 41 scoring shots and nailed all of them. However, he also vividly remembers the moments when he split his pants at Werribee to get Hungry Jack’s before a match and when he was “put on his arse” in a TV match at Preston.
Chris would be described as a unique and peculiar character with elite performance habits. Over the course of his 16-year journey he has demonstrated habits which included drinking a diet Coke before a match, having a piece of flake, Three potato cakes and minimum chips the night before a match, and finally being the last out of the rooms with the comment “Lack of Ability: Check”.
When reflecting on his career to date, Chris believes the thing he enjoys the most is the camaraderie from the group, especially the weekly story times at The Retreat, and the banter from his biggest pest Callum Leonard. While these days he doesn’t enjoy the short sharp agility training sessions, he looks forward to umpiring the new interstate teams and no longer having to worry about the fitness benchmarks.
Umpiring 379 matches at state league level, Chris has developed a well-rounded perspective on footy and goal umpiring. His advice for aspiring goal umpires is to do the work (he hates seeing people waste their talent), and to not sweat the small things. He also believes that if he could change one thing about footy, it’s that if the if ball hits the post and goes through the goal, it should still a goal (like in all other sports).

Also, did you know that he is a Timekeeper for the AFL!


Matt Young – 150th VFL Match



Matt Young – 150 VFL Matches

Chompers. Slappsy. The Helmet. Youngy. The man of many nicknames, Matthew Young, brings up his 150th VFL match this Wednesday night, when he takes control of the Richmond v Werribee match under lights at the Swinburne Centre.
Youngy began his umpiring career in his home state of Queensland at age 12, in the AFL Brisbane Juniors Football League, because he thought “it was a pretty cool first job”. He progressed through the ranks and made his NEAFL debut in 2012, age 19, in the Round 2 match between Southport and Gold Coast. He would go on to umpire 46 NEAFL matches, including four finals, between 2012 – 2014, and was appointed as the Emergency Umpire for the 2013 NEAFL Grand Final.
In 2015, he made the move down south to Melbourne and joined the VFL umpiring group, making his debut in Round 1 of that season. Since then, Youngy has been a mainstay of the VFL competition, umpiring 103 matches since. He made his VFL finals debut in 2019, in the elimination final between Geelong and Port Melbourne, an appointment he considers a career highlight.
Youngy’s commitment and dedication to his umpiring saw him selected in the AFLW Field Umpiring Squad for the 2022 season, and recently saw him promoted onto the AFL Rookie List. He is also a member of the VFL Umpiring leadership group, highlighting the strong regard in which the group hold him.
Good friend and fellow VFL umpire Tom Chrystie describes him as “a very genuine person who has always tried his guts out”, adding “with such a great work ethic and personality I think he will continue to climb the umpiring ranks quickly”. Another recently crowned member of the 150 VFL matches club, Jack Edwards, said Matt is “an incredibly selfless person who wants to get the best out of himself and is great company to be around”. If you’ve had the pleasure of meeting Matt, you would know all of this to be true.
Youngy says the thing he loves the most about being a part of the VFL umpiring group is the support and mateship: “it has grown into a genuine team first environment”. He lists the 2014 Under 18s AIS All Australian Europe Tour as his career highlight (he was the travelling umpire, not a player as he would have you believe!) and says the best match he has been a part of was the 2012 NEAFL Semi Final between Southport and Redlands (Southport kicked a goal after the siren to win by 3 points).
He lists Nic Palmer (NEAFL Development Squad Coach), Cameron Nash and Kym Brockhoff as having had the biggest impact on his career, across both his time in Queensland and Victoria. And his advice to any young umpires coming through the system? “GET FIT!” This isn’t a surprise, as he has gained the reputation as always being one of the hardest workers across the pre-season period, in recent years taking his fitness to the next level, and being the only member of the umpiring group disappointed to see the 2km time trial go!
As a group, we consider ourselves very fortunate to have Youngy as part of our team. He is incredibly hard working, committed and driven in his umpiring pursuit, and provides a perfect example to follow for any umpires entering the state league system.

All the best for match 150 CHOMPERS!


Jack Edwards: A Ton and a Half


Jack Edwards: A Ton and a Half

In the early 2000s, a marathoner turned boundary coach at the Diamond Valley FL had somehow convinced his eldest son to follow suit as an umpire. A self-proclaimed fat-kid who loved basketball, picked up the whistle and took to field umpiring instead of the boundary in 2004 because “It paid more and you ran less.” Fast-forward almost 20 years and Jack Edwards is notching up game 150 in the VFL!

This sort of milestone, that has only been reached by 13 others before him, is significant to everyone in their own way. For Jack, it acknowledges 10 years of umpiring State League football and 10 years of good mates, good times and lots of enjoyment. “Not many get there so I’m very lucky. It signifies the story I’ll have when I move away from the game,” he explained recently while chowing down a cheap $19 steak.

When you’ve umpired that many games, many of them blur into one, but for Jack, there was one stand out – The Lock-out Game.

That game was the 2014 Preliminary Final at North Port Oval. It was Port Melbourne and Footscray. The crowd was that big, they had to lock the gates. “The atmosphere was electric. Scores were level at the 21min mark of the last quarter.” It’s no wonder he went on to be appointed to the VFL Grand Final the following week.

In amongst his 10 years at State League level include 2 years on the AFL list. He may have only notched up 11 games, but those 11 games have left that hunger to climb back on to that list. His AFL debut, Melbourne vs Hawthorn in round 7 of 2015, also left a couple of memorable moments. He had a dreaded score review in the first quarter when David Hale took a towering mark on the behind line. But the biggest accomplishment is flooring Viv Michie.

We all know being an AFL umpire has it’s perks, and Jack took full advantage when he told the story of being appointed to a game on the day of his engagement party. “I spoke to Mel to see if she would be able to get everything ready so I could have a crack that night. So I organized dad to go and get the car with 10mins to go in the last quarter and go wait at the Moorabool St entrance for when the siren went. I was in the car and on the highway when the theme song was still playing.”

Jed’s journey hasn’t been all smooth sailing. He reflected on his first couple of years on the Development Squad. “2010 I did ok. I went backwards in 2011 and was warned that a return was not a guarantee in 2012.” Jack made sure it was a certainty but having a big preseason which resulted in his VFL debut in round 1, 2012.

“The footy was good back then and umpiring was much simpler. We are more professional now and follow better preparation practices. We can over-analyze sometimes but the VFL has much better exposure.”

When asked about some of the best umpires he has graced the field with, he premised his answer with “I’m going to leave good people out here.” From a developmental aspect, he named Brett Rosebury and Shaun Ryan as two. They happened to be his exact teammates in his AFL debut. When it came to an umpire as teammate and having fun, it was the infamous Daniel Butcher. As one of the veterans now, Jack also acknowledged the enjoyment of umpiring with the younger umpires coming through the State League system.

It’s not just umpires that Jack has come across. He named two players from opposing clubs as two of the best players he has seen at VFL level. Toby Pinwell from Port Melbourne and Ben Jolley from Williamstown. “Toby played hard, but he also respected you once he got to know you. But Port and Willy back then were stacked. Whenever they played each other, you knew it was going to be on.”

For Jack, there has always been one constant support – Papa Craig. Craig has gone from father to Jack’s biggest critic. What Jack values is the fact that Craig, as a respected boundary umpire and coach in his own career, often provides feedback that is on par with the official coaching. For this reason, even when Craig says Jack has had a shit game, he knows he is getting an honest point of view.

10 years at the State League level provides perspective and wisdom. For umpires aiming for the State League, or even aiming for the senior squad, Jack’s advice: “You need to understand that you’ll need to make sacrifices, you’ll have to work hard and the journey will be hard sometimes. But whatever you put in, you get back times 10 with mates, the footy and the experiences, all of which shouldn’t be taken for granted. Being a State League umpire is not a right of passage. The position needs to be respected and earned.”

It’s been a privilege being part of Jack’s journey from the good ol’ DVFL days to now. Not just as an umpire, but getting to know his immediate and now own family in Craig, Pina, Matt, Mel and Mable. Everyone in the VFUA congratulates you on your journey and all your achievements to date and we are all hoping to see many more achievements!

And one final message for his younger self starting to umpire for the first time…

“Umpiring is a rollercoaster with highs and lows. The between times are the bulk of the ride. Enjoy the ride and be proud to be an umpire.”


Adam Bell – 150 VFL Matches


Adam Bell – 150 VFL Matches

Adam “Ding” Bell started umpiring at the VFL in 2009, which means he’s been gracing Victoria Park with his presence almost as long as Johnny Summers. In the days of Coach Vitiritti, Belly was in charge of navigating the correct footage during coaching, which was shown on a projector via a DVD player. This alone meant that he provided more valuable input than a number of people in that coaching room.

Belly spent three years on the development list before being promoted to the senior panel in 2012 doing his first game with Matthew Tomkins and Brenden Elvey. This means Belly has spent over a decade umpiring VFL senior football. This type of longevity is extremely rare at VFL level, particularly in the boundary discipline and is a sign of the commitment that Belly shows towards umpiring.

To explain how long that’s been, close mate with Belly, Lokky Harty has started umpiring (2009), stopped umpiring (2011), started umpiring again (2015), stopped umpiring again (2018) and started coaching (2020) all at the VFL level.

Continued hard work has seen some great success for Belly, filling his career to date with great moments and fantastic achievements. He did his first final in 2014 and aside from when COVID meant there were no finals at all; Belly has umpired minimum of one final in every year since.

Reaching a ranking as high as number five at the end of the 2016 season, Belly was only one step away from getting the VFL grand final in both 2015 and 2016 when  he umpired the TAC Cup grand final. The amount of dedication and hard work that Belly has put in reflects in the quality of the umpiring performances that he’s been able to consistently produce. He shows great leadership on the field, letting his experience shine through and he is an extremely reliable umpire. For this reason, Belly is one of my favourite people to umpire with because you can always back him in to be where he needs to be, when he needs to be there.

It’s also no secret that Belly is one of the biggest characters on the VFL list. Subsequently, he’s one of the most well-known people out on the track. From his “serious sideburns” getting a mention by the 7 VFL commentators to his general sick behaviour out on the training track, Belly always manages to find a way to make himself stand out from the crowd.

Enjoy your 150th mate. It’s been a pleasure umpiring some of those 149 games with you and I’m sad I’ll be cheering you on from the sidelines instead of running out on the ground with you.

Sling on, Ding

Written by Simon Blight.