David Flegg AM Receives His Gong

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Government House, Friday 23 September 2019

Former VFL/AFL Goal Umpire, AFLUA Historian & VFUA Statistician David Flegg was presented with an Australian Medal for his services to umpiring by the Hon. Linda Dessau AC, Governor of Victoria at Government House on Friday 20 September 2019.

David’s contribution to the Australian Football League Umpires’ Association (AFLUA), Victorian Football Umpires’ Association (VFUA) and umpiring for 37 years has been profound. Most of his work off-field has been done in an honorary or voluntary capacity – he has donated years of his life to both Associations.  He has done this whilst maintaining full-time employment as a research librarian with a number of government organisations.

But it is not the accumulation of records and researching and recording the history of umpiring that makes David a special person.  It is his passion and genuine care and interest in the tradition and history of umpiring as well as in umpiring and umpires.  He is a mentor to young umpires, a genuine role model to current umpires and respected amongst the umpiring fraternity as one of the all-time contributors to umpiring in Australia.

As can be seen from the umpires’ association positions held and his achievements, David’s contribution to the AFLUA and VFUA and indeed AFL and VFL umpiring in general, has been truly outstanding. A summary of David’s voluntary positions can be viewed by clicking here

On behalf of the VFUA, congratulations David on this great honour in recognition of your valuable contribution over so many years.  May it continue for many years to come.


Order of Australia for Umpiring Legend



It is with great pleasure to announce that David John Flegg has been awarded an Order of Australia (AM) for his services to umpiring at the VFL and AFL level over a period spanning in excess of 35 years. The Award was announced today in the Queen’s Birthday 2019 Honours List.

A summary of David’s voluntary work for both the Australian Football League Umpires’ Association and the Victorian Football Umpires’ Association can be viewed by clicking the link below.

Click to see David’s Achievements


David Flegg

Life Members’ Dinner 2017

Sunday evening, 4 June saw the annual gathering of the VFUA life members at the Exchange Hotel Bourke Street, Melbourne. 

As well as the ‘usual suspects’ who attend every year we had the welcome return of Lindsey Hardman who was in Australia for the first time in a while and the delightful addition of Sue Sambrooks, boundary track rep Melissa’s mum. While there were a number of apologies this year Richard Mills please check your calendar more carefully in future – we missed you.

life members butcher

The dinner marked 20 years as life members for Judi Elliott, John Hall and David Flegg but was the first for newly inducted 2016 life member Daniel Butcher. Daniel’s terms as track representative (2012), communications officer (2013), vice-president (2014) and president (2015) indicate his outstanding service to the VFUA through almost the entirety of his time with the VFL and he spoke eloquently about what life membership meant to him.

Equally worthy of the honour a last minute difficulty meant Daniel Pieper was unable to attend and will be presented with his certificate and badge at a future date.

The range of umpiring and football related activities and involvements still undertaken by VFUA life members gives further indication of how much their commitment to the association is an extension of their commitment generally. From trainers, long-serving community umpires and administrators, coaches and observers to even statisticians they continue to give passionately to what they love.

It serves as an excellent example to the current VFUA Executive Committee who were also in attendance and were able to connect with a life members and hopefully take away some of their experiences for consideration. The VFUA has always attracted the best, the brightest and those who most want to make some sort of difference to the umpiring experience and the Life Members’ Dinner is a celebration of those qualities.

Thanks go to David Flegg for his (somewhat laissez-faire) organisation of the night, to Nick Brown for his ‘State of the VFUA address’, the Association for its subsidy of the catering and to all who attended to make a great night!

Farewell TC

Senior field umpire Tim Carlos retired during the 2017 preseason after an impressive VFL career. The VFUA recently caught up with TC to learn a bit more about his 8 years at the VFL…


In his VFL career Tim umpired 95 VFL Senior Matches (including 9 finals), 26 Development League Matches and 29 TAC Cup matches. Tim umpired two VFL Development League Grand Finals, 1 TAC Cup Grand Final and was emergency umpire in 1 VFL Senior Grand Final.

We sat down with TC to ask him a few questions:

How did you get into umpiring?
I used to play footy but was pretty small so got thrown around a bit! My uncle started umpiring in the local competition (Eastern Football League) so I tagged along with him to see what it was about. Thought it would be a good way to earn some pocket money. I will most likely get back to Grassroots level at some stage this season and give back to the league that was able to provide me with my first opportunity and developed my love for umpiring. 

In your 8 years at the VFL, what was your favourite game?

TC3Either the 2012 TAC Cup final, it went to Golden point and was just so intense! Also, the 2012 preliminary final between Werribee and Geelong in the VFL. Geelong was cruising and up by 7 goals late in the 3rd quarter and Werribee fought back to almost pinch it. The last 4 minutes I was in the mid zone and had a lot of difficult contests but the way I handled it gave me the belief that I was good enough to umpire VFL footy.

… and what was the worst game?
After a really poor performance in a TV Game, instead of getting put back in the reserves, I got sent to Warrnambool and it was a horrible day! We arrived 3 hours early because I miscalculated the time. It was bucketing down all day and 4 degrees. The ground was just mud, and sloshy mud too so it stank. The game was 2 goals to 1 at 3/4 time and the players were literally standing there talking about all the other places they would rather be! It was a tough day at the office, but taught me the lesson of not stuffing up on TV. I rolled home at about 11pm and Kevin Mitchell made fun of me for leaving home so early! 


Do you have a best moment or memory at the VFL?
I think the best thing for me has been being able to share so many good times with so many different people. Being involved in the VFL was the best thing that ever happened to me and has made me a much better person. The Mad Mondays were outstanding, I always seemed to surprise a few with my form on the big stage and the social events were always great as you get to mingle with different squads and have a laugh.

I had opportunities to umpire all over the country, run on AFL Grand Final day, umpire at elite venues and be involved in some of the best footy in the country – an absolute pleasure! But better still, being able to spend 2-3 days a week with my best mates and have everyone supporting you in the team was the best thing about the VFL and credit to everyone who has helped build that strong culture. I know for a fact the people involved in umpiring are incredible, resilient and selfless people who really don’t get the recognition that they deserve. The VFL has developed a culture where you put individual success second to the team’s success, which is incredible. Thank you to everyone who was part of my journey! 


You’ve been an umpire for 14 years, what do you miss the most now you’ve put down the whistle?
When I first got to the VFL I would have never thought I would say this, but training is easily the thing I will miss the most (besides the social side, of course!). In my final year (2016) I arrived at training late and it made my year extremely difficult from a mental perspective, but thankfully the coaches stuck by me, I did extra work and I know the team had faith in me and trusted I would do what’s right for the group. However, I miss the routine of training, the professionalism, the coaching and the social aspect too. I try to keep in a similar routine at home but it isn’t the same without my best mates there!

… and what won’t you miss?
I would love to say nothing because I loved every moment at the VFL, but probably North Ballarat in winter. Last season I did a game there where the wind was -6 degrees and it was blowing a gale across the ground. I think the quarters were all close to 40 minutes and I couldn’t wait to hit up KFC on the highway home! 


Any advice for up and coming umpires?
It’s going to sound cliche, but enjoy it and try your hardest. When I started out as an 18-year old I was not committed to my training and I was not taking it as seriously as I should have. That’s not saying don’t have a social life or have any fun, it’s saying to not take it for granted and the more you put in, the more you get out of it. It’s great to see the Rookie Squad in full swing again giving young umpires an opportunity to see the training demands and mental demands, it is awesome to see some great young umpires getting opportunities at Senior level and really taking each opportunity. Work your hardest, ask questions, train not only your physical side but work on the emotional side of yourself too and enjoy it! You don’t get many chances to umpire state league footy, so no matter the level, go out and enjoy it!

Thanks Tim for everything you’ve given to VFL football and the VFUA over the years. You will be much missed!

Rumour has it Tim is returning to where it all started – the Eastern Football League – to coach and mentor developing umpires. Good on you Tim and best wishes for the next adventure!


Hank and Lawlor call time on umpiring careers

Field umpires Tyler Hankinson and Daniel Lawlor announced their retirements during the 2017 pre-season. The two made quite an impression on and off the field in their time at the VFL and will be much missed on the track.

hankinson-tylerAfter 7 seasons, and one last preseason, Tyler Hankinson made the tough call to put away the whistle. ‘The Hank’ has left his own mark on the VFL.


After back-to-back Division One Grand Finals in the Southern Football League in 2008 & 09, and the SFLUA’s Graeme Bertram Award, Tyler trialled in 2010 and was successful in securing a position on the VFL Development Squad. He spent 3 years on the Development Squad before being promoted on to the VFL Senior Panel. Over the course of the next four years, ‘Hank’ umpired 33 VFL games that would eventually go along with his 56 VFL Development games and 27 TAC Cup games.

hank2‘Hank’s’ greatest impact though, was off the field. He was well known for his Cale Morton smile and larrikin nature, often making jokes at the expense of his fellow teammates. He could give as good as he could take, which made many of the long training nights much more bearable!

Everyone at the VFUA congratulates and wishes Tyler the best for the next chapter of his journey.



The VFUA was introduced to the Lawlor family back in 1983. 34 years later, we say farewell to the second member of the Lawlor clan, with Daniel calling time on his 6-year career at the end of the 2017 preseason.

Daniel joined a host of fellow former VAFA umpires in the VFL when he was selected in the VFL Development Squad in 2011. He forged his craft in the VFL Development League and TAC Cup for 3 years, before his promotion to the VFL Senior Squad in 2014.


Daniel spent his summers between football seasons competing in athletics and often made an appearance on the final day of the Stawell Gift, running in the 800m handicap. This was a highlight of Daniel’s running abilities, which aided his umpiring to eventually finish his career with 33 VFL Senior games, 37 VFL Development games and 34 TAC Cup games.

The VFUA would like to congratulate Daniel on his achievements and wish him all the best in life after umpiring.