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.


Peter Kelly Retires


Peter Kelly Retires

The words on the Lifetime Achievement Award presented to Peter Kelly at the 2021 VFUA Life Members Dinner capture the essence of his vast contribution:

A man whose passion for umpiring has changed the game. This award celebrates his extraordinary contribution and lifetime commitment to the umpiring profession and the association since its inception.

But what of the detail; and details were always part of the way PK conducted business – endless details.
The VFUA was formed in 1992 and began work for the 1993 season as the Victorian State Football League Umpires’ Association – Social Secretary, Peter Kelly.

In the following years PK and his committees organised 5-6 events per year from the UPD to variety nights to the grand final dinner dances. These events were also run for the AFLUA and catered for upwards of 350 attendees at the ball.  Taking on the role of both treasurer and social secretary in 1994 he was instrumental in the change of structure of the association from 1995 when he became VFUA administrator and later executive officer.

As 1996 President Greg Kennedy noted “My greatest recollection of PK during my time as president, was I never once had to worry about anything administrative. The VFUA was only a few years old and it was new ground we were breaking. Peter was instrumental in the formation of this great group”.

As administrator much fell into PK’s purview. Dealing with the VFL administration, usually in the form of Kevin Mitchell could be challenging but PK developed a process to deal with Mitch, his reactions and the sometimes concerning liberties or directions the VFL wanted to take with its umpires.

It was an indication of 2006-07 President, Rob Findlay’s thoughts that “PKs greatest asset is his ability to develop fantastic relationships with people across a broad spectrum. PK’s experience in human resources certainly put him in the box seat for drafting policies and initiatives in advance of the VFL: heat policy, formalised selection policies, extensive contributions to fees and condition arrangements, the biennial VFUA survey and he was also never far away from social events as either having some part in planning or as an enthusiastic participant.

And it was not just the VFUA as an organisation that benefitted from his involvement. Two former presidents both reflected what the association and individuals received:

I loved working with PK and learnt a lot. There was never anything left to chance. He thought of everything and he is the single reason why our Association is in such good order today. Presidents and Executive members come and go. This can have a topsy turvy effect on any Association. However, PK has been the rock. The strategy has never diverted and each year the conditions for umpires in the VFL get better and better. Umpires are respected more and the powers that be at Football Victoria have a greater understanding of who we are and what we want to achieve. Why – because one man has had a single vision. That vision has been to ensure that every umpire has the best possible chance to succeed and that they are well looked after by a professional organisation whilst they are a member (Russell Davidson, 1999)

If PK had not taken the VFUA by the reins who knows where it may have ended up. His passion, dedication and certainly commitment to his roles, the Executive Officer position, show what type of person PK is. He has assisted a lot of people, including myself with their leadership skills and developed some fantastic role models for up and coming umpires. He has done all this whilst most importantly having fun (Adam Wojcik, 2007)

VFUA matters were never far from his mind regardless of location. Richard Mills recruitment as president was one example.

“In my time on the list PK was always present at functions (drink in hand!) mixing with and welcoming everyone that came along. I used to run into PK at any one of the many MCC bar’s on grand final day each year and we would have a chat. One year the conversation turned into an invitation to run for presidency of the association – an invitation I took up. Without having been on the executive before – it was always going to be a big challenge. PK was there right the way though, always a constant support.”

And let us not forget that PK was also a 36-match AFL goal umpire in the early days of the then VSFLUA and had contributed to the AFLUA on the Social Committee in 1989 and as Social Secretary in 1992 before that role was merged with the VSFLUA. He was also Penguin Vic while working at the Department of Tourism, being aptly cast through both stature and likeability.

Also, he contributed to the administration of the Southern Football League umpires (now SFNL) and Southern Umpires Association at various times during his VFUA tenure

Currently working in a part-time role with the AFLUA it’s a pretty full working life following his retirement from the Victorian public service – although they will be noting a large drop in the photocopying and printing costs in the last few years.

Peter Kelly leaves VFUA office having after 29 of outstanding service he has taken the association from infancy to maturity such that it was recognised as the bargaining agent for the new VFL competition incorporating umpires from NSW and Queensland.

He remains as life member, Special Award and Lifetime Achievement Award recipient and respected among the association Executive Committees with which he has worked and by the generations of umpires he has served.

“A man whose passion for umpiring has changed the game”

Andrew Talbot – 200 VFL Games

 Talbo_200th_web_InstagramAndrew ‘The Human Turtle’ Talbot

Andrew Talbot umpires his 200th VFL match – Port Melbourne v Carlton at ETO Stadium on Saturday 19 June 2020.

By Peter Bailes

Ahead of the incredible achievement of reaching the 200 VFL game milestone, in which only a total of 3 umpires before him have reached, I had the pleasure of sitting down with someone who I’ve looked up to on my journey and has set a benchmark for the commitment and passion required for umpiring state league football. I sat down with Andrew ‘Turtle’ Talbot to discuss all things and find out more about the 237 sporting teams supporter to chat all things life, as well as the continued dedication and passion he has for umpiring and football.

  • VFL Life Member
  • 2018 VFL Field Umpire of the Year
  • 2018 VFL Grand Final
  • 2 TAC Cup Under 18 Grand Finals
  • 1 VFL Development League Grand Final
  • 17 VFL Finals
  • AFL Rookie 2013 – 2015
  • 1 AFL game
  • VFUA Life Member
  • VFUA President 2019

PB: So, let’s start on the fact that you’ve reached 200 games, congratulations on the achievement first and foremost. Two-part question. First, what’s been the best achievement, and what have been some of the greatest times for you along the journey?

AT: “Achievement wise, the individual pursuit of getting appointed to games like my state league game, the 2018 grand final. Even as umpiring has now become a team effort, it’s still nice to enjoy the individual accolades along the way.

Personally, though the best highlights have not necessarily been around being appointed to these matches, it’s the moments such as umpiring with Dos in last game, umpiring with Burgo in his life membership game, in which he decided to stay in the EZ all day mind you. And of course, the off-field shenanigans, Mad Mondays and catch ups with the extended group.”

PB: In 2019 you got a new job as Growth and Development Coordinator of Community Umpiring in Victoria, and you do a lot of great work for the community and umpiring in general. What’s your job at the AFL involve?

AT: “My main responsibilities is helping out all community umpiring clubs recruit umpires, retain them, train and develop their umpiring skills and then transition them to higher levels, whether it be senior football or state league football. I am also across providing resources for programs that these community leagues run, as well as support and assist any of their needs or queries.”

PB: Tell me about the time you were meant to run a marathon on the Sunday of a planned weekend away with the boys? Talk to me about your preparation for the event?

“This was one of the better weekends I’ve ever had. So, I was meant to run the marathon on the Sunday, and I was ‘adequately hydrating’ myself on the Friday night, and I may have had one too many beers, and I wasn’t in a good way come early Saturday morning. Then I spent the Saturday by the pool and properly rehydrating myself, ate my pasta and drank a Lucozade on the Saturday night, and then I was good to go come Sunday. Elite preparation.”

PB: Where did the turtle tattoo originate?

AT: “The tattoo represents a symbol from Vanuatu, representing perseverance, longevity and protection.”

PB: Most embarrassing moment umpiring?

AT: “I didn’t rock up for a scheduled game once, there was one email saying that the venue was changed. Somewhere along the line I missed the 2nd email with a day change and didn’t rock up on the Saturday, unfortunately left Cheever and Annie to do a reserves game by themselves.

After 5 senior games, Ian brown told me that I should be umpiring under 12’s footy’. I think I have come a long way since then.

Or how about how Phil Cleary said during one of my early TV games that ‘Andrew Talbot is a very technical umpire’. I haven’t changed since then.”

PB: “We won’t talk about that GF bounce, I’m sure you’re reminded of that on the regular.”

PB: What does the future hold for the great man? VFL games record, another grand final?

AT: “I just want to umpire as long as I can, I’d love to help to continue to develop the umpires that are coming through. It’s great to be able to contribute to the group and seeing all of the umpires progress through the ranks and watching them improve.”

PB: On the topic of umpires coming through the ranks, what’s the best advice for the up-and-coming umpires of the VFL, as well as all the local community umpires you work with?

AT: “Biggest thing that I’ve learnt is that you need to have a release outside of umpiring. I’ve seen too many umpires come down to the VFL and be too focused on making it as an umpire and it doesn’t work out, or they umpire poorly, and it affects them. And I know that’s contradictory of my job, as I basically eat acme thunderers, but when I’m not working or umpiring, I’m doing triathlons, exploring Australia or the world or watching any sport. I think it’s important to find what release works best for you, and don’t be afraid to give things a try.”

Considering it was his 200th, I organised a few umpires to give their views on Andrew Talbot.

Joel Clamp
I first met Talbot in 2012 during pre-season where Andrew was the fitness coach for the umpires in the Northern Football League, I was a 15-year-old boundary umpire. This weekend, we will be walking out for his 200th game, and just my 21st as a field umpire. Coming down in 2017 to the VFL Development Squad, Talbot was one of the first blokes to take me under his wing and show me the way. His guidance, experience and knowledge has not only rubbed off on me, but he has also made an impact on the whole group, including senior and development umpires. Talbots passion for umpiring is second to none, his continual willingness to learn after 14 years is inspiring. Over the many years I’ve got to know Talbot, there are a few moments in particular that stand out: our first game together at Windy Hill, the VFUA Grand Final After Party in 2018 where we both umpired grand finals in the same weekend, the many dinners post training, but the most memorable one for myself is our footy 7’s premiership in 2018 with the Cunning Stunts. I am looking forward to creating another memorable moment this weekend running out with you for your 200th. You have had an amazing career thus far and I am sure there are many more years to come for the turtle! Clampy

Samuel Ferguson
One of the most inspiring people I’ve been fortunate enough to meet is Andrew Talbot. This is not only through his contribution to umpiring both on and off the field, but also through many other important aspects of life. His work and dedication to spreading awareness for charities close to his heart, such as the foundation for PWS, speaks volumes about the kindness and generosity of the man, and has taught me the importance of supporting and being engaged in things meaningful to me. Andrew’s impact on me to become not only the best umpire I can be but more importantly a better person is second to none (more than he’d probably realise) and I consider myself extremely lucky to have such a role model as Talbo. I look forward to sharing the field with him this week for his 200th!

Marty Rodger
When you think of Talbo, a few different words come to mind: Friendly, Committed, Driven, Always Improving. But I think Talbo’s greatest attribute, as a person and within the VFL umpiring group, is he is the epitome of the perfect Team Player. Talbo is always looking at ways to improve, not only himself, but those around him and the wider VFL umpiring experience as a whole. There’s nobody who is more committed to giving back to umpiring as Talbo is, and not many who deserved to umpire a VFL GF more than Talbo. He’s been a fantastic contributor to VFL football for now 200 games, and thoroughly deserves his place as one of the great umpires of the competition. Congrats Talbo!

Kevin Charles Mitchell OAM


Former VFL Director of Umpiring and VFUA Life Member Kevin Mitchell was the recipient of a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the recent 2021 Queens Birthday Honours.

Over his 24 years in charge of umpiring in the VFL Mitch, as he was universally known, transformed it on more than one occasion and introduced much of what is taken for granted today. Over the course of his umpiring administrative and coaching career he has influenced hundreds of umpires many of whom have had significant AFL and VFL careers.

Speaking with the AFL in 2014 following his retirement he  noted ““if you stand still and stop looking for improvement you will fall away quickly. I was always challenged by the drive to get better.”

The physical legacy of the Victoria Park training facility which he worked so hard to have built is perhaps the most obvious result of Mitch’s persistence in so many things in life. Negotiating with Collingwood, Yarra Council, builder and the VFL administration he took a decrepit building and made a home for Victorian umpiring. The provision of match day trainers, the regular upgrading of coaching technical equipment to improve performance, the employment on non-umpiring professionals such as dieticians and psychologists were other initiatives that have become the regular part of the modern umpire’s experience at VFL level.

It is that VFL level that has provided the vast majority of AFL field, boundary and goal umpires in the last quarter of a century. Those that have made it to that level recognise Mitch’s influence. It was rarely smooth sailing for anyone but the striving for perfection and the honesty of the feedback built formidable umpires.

Mitch’s contribution to Victorian state level umpiring was recognised by the association with life membership of the VFUA in 2006. Like his coaching the relationship between the Umpiring Department and the association was rocky at times but both recognised they were looking to get the best for the umpires and that was what was important. Harmony was rarely far away.

Mitch’s umpiring credentials were second to none. He began as a boundary umpire in the VFL Reserve Grade in 1962 and was promoted to the VFL following his appointment to the 1967 VFL Reserve Grade Grand Final. The immediacy of his success was remarkable; a final in his first year and then four consecutive VFL grand finals. When he retired from the VFL his career stood at 236 matches including 23 finals and 8 VFL grand finals.

Off the field he contributed to the VFL Umpires’ Association in a significant manner. As trip organiser 1971-76 and Executive Committee member 1971-74 he remains the only boundary umpire to ever ascend to the presidency of the association in 1977. His association honours include life membership, lifetime achievement award, AFLUA Team of the Century and AFLUA Hall of Fame induction.

Prior to his role at the VFL he held various umpiring administration roles: Umpires Advisor Dandenong and District JFL 1980-83, Umpires Advisor Southern Umpires 1984, Assistant Director of Umpiring VFA 1985, Part time Umpire Recruitment and Promotions Officer VFL 1986-88, ull time Umpire Recruitment and Promotions Officer VFL 1989-90. He was recognised in 2000 with an Australian Sport Medal.

Congratulations Mitch on your honour it is well deserved recognition for a life of service to umpiring Australian football at every level.

Matt Edwards 100 VFL Games

Medwards 100th BMatt Edwards 100 VFL Games

On Saturday evening the 1st of May at the Downer Oval, Matt Edwards became the 78th umpire in the VFUA era to reach the 100 game milestone when he officiated in the Williamstown-Port Melbourne grudge match. He also became the 20th Goal Umpire to reach the milestone and the second Goal Umpire from the Diamond Valley/Northern Football league to reach the milestone.

Matt joined the VFL in 2012 and later went onto make his debut in senior footy in 2014 when Coburg played Werribee at Piranha Park. Matt comes from an umpiring family with his father being a 300 game legend of the Diamond Valley League , and brother Jack also completing 100 VFL games either side of a stint at the AFL. Matt credits both his father and brother’s involvements in the game as a catalyst for getting him involved, and also notes the first senior game that he did with Jack at the VFL as being one of the favourite moments of his career.

A career that has included the 2016 TAC Cup GF, the 2017 VFL Dev League GF and being involved in AFLW the past 2 seasons which culminated in being the emergency for this years decider between Adelaide and Brisbane indicates a career to this point of consistency and solid performances week to week. When pressed for his favourite moment he said that there were too many to mention, but did point out his involvement in the numerous grand finals as being a highlight, and also being able to share his 100th game with his family in the rooms post match.

When asked if he has a favourite ground to umpire at he was adamant that ETU Stadium would be his favourite by the length of the Flemington straight. Contrary to this he would have to say that the Downer Oval would have to be his least favourite and one that he had managed to avoid for two years. This statement confused the author of this article especially considering that his requested game happened to be a night game at Williamstown and the last time Matt had done a night game at Williamstown game there was a torrential downpour. Thankfully for Matt and the author Williamstown managed to produce one of its more pleasant evenings.

Congratulations again Matt on the achievement of 100 VFL senior games!!!