Sam Walsh -100 VFL matches

walsh-sam2 PBSaturday 7 April saw Sam Walsh take to the field to umpire in his 100th VFL game Frankston vs Essendon.

Reaching 100 for Sam hasn’t been exactly run of the mill. The start of 2013 took a turn and saw Sam succumbing to glandular fever, which took him out of action for all of the pre season. Many on the track admire Sam’s resilience, fitness and work ethic for bouncing back and achieving what Sam has today.

Sam has officiated in two TAC cup grand finals (one being in his second year listed!) In 2012 Sam was awarded with the best first year goal umpire, followed by 2013 the most improved senior umpire. It’s also worth mentioning that 12 of these games have been VFL finals, which is a reflection on the kind of umpire Sam is.

So why not get into Sam’s mind, and find out what really makes Sam tick…

How did everything start? What got you into footy?

I always loved footy as a young kid. My brothers and I would often kick the footy in the backyard and I often played at lunchtime with my friends throughout primary school. I played over 140 junior games, but got into umpiring at age 14. I started to notice the umpires more and more at the AFL games I attended or watched on TV and thought it was something that I would be really interested in. My passion for umpiring really grew from that point onwards and after I’d umpired my first game in 2007, I knew umpiring was where my true passion in footy was.

You started in 2013 and were elevated in 2018. How would you describe your time at the VFL?

My time at the VFL was amazing. You know you really enjoy something when you look forward to training each and every week. The atmosphere that we were able to create, enjoying each other’s company, made the umpiring experience really special. Then relationships built between the umpires were always very special. The time, energy and commitment the coaching staff spent on all of us across my six years spent at the VFL was amazing.

What’s your best memory of umpiring football?

I have several on field moments that I won’t forget, but my absolute favourite moment came after the final siren of last year’s VFL grand final. When Simon, Callum and I were sitting in the rooms after the game, the feeling that was running through us is just about indescribable. Knowing you’ve just been part of a thrilling grand final that was decided after the siren, we couldn’t wipe the smiles off our faces. The energy running through me was still at a high level until about 30 minutes after the game. In no other industry do you get that energy running through you like that.

You broke your finger this year. Does this still mean you have the longest signalling finger on the list? How did this come about?

Haha! I’m not sure about the longest on the list… but they’d be up there!! One week before round one (cricket season!!), I was doing some routine catching practice. I got a ball on the end of my middle finger (If only it was shorter?), and managed to break it in five places, as well as dislocate it. We had the VFUA ball that night, so I didn’t exactly go to hospital straight away like I probably should’ve… eventually, I got to hospital and got the news that I’d be missing the entire cricket season as it’s a six month injury!! Unbelievable scenes…

You have a few pre game rituals and routines; please enlighten us….

I always bring a subway sandwich to eat beforehand, although I’ve been constantly reminded for the last four years or so that I have stolen this from Dylan Benwell… I can say, hand on heart, I am not guilty of this!! Other than that, I like to have an iced coffee before the game as well. I’m also normally quite talkative, but you’ll notice with about five minutes to go until walk, I become very quiet!!

'walsh-samSo….Lets learn more about what you’d prefer:

Make your girlfriend pay for an uber/or make her pay you?

Agwa lemonade/Cointreau soda?

Middlesbrough / Melbourne City….BOTH!

Steve Smith / David Warner

Sam Walsh / Sam Martin

Sam, you have been an integral part of the culture we have now introducing the Walsh games which tradition is going strong 3 years in. We all congratulate you on your 100th game milestone and wish you all the best with your upcoming season and cant wait to watch you go from strength to strength.



Andrew Leggo – 100 games

Saturday 5 August 2017 may not stand out to many people but it was the day that well-respected boundary umpire Andrew Leggo officiated in his 100th VFL senior match.  After arriving at Lulie Street in 2009, it was a great reward for Andrew to umpire the Round 16 Werribee vs Collingwood match on the fine turf of Etihad Stadium.

leggo-andrew 3You only have to ask around the group and coaching staff to hear how hard Leggo has worked to achieve this milestone.  “My first recollection of Andrew was this bloke will never make it. He struggled at the back of the group and I thought this bloke won’t last too long. Fast forward to 2017 and he has umpired 100 VFL games. It is a testament to the hard work and commitment put in from Andrew to get to where he is today” were just some of the stories heard in the boundary coaching theatre on the eve of the game. 

Andrew first got involved in umpiring at the age of 15: “A mate from school asked me if I wanted to join in as a part time job on a Saturday and as a way to earn some cash” Andrew said. Andrew took up his advice and started umpiring whilst playing football but it wasn’t actually until 4 years later that he attended his first umpiring training session. “I went on to umpire over 100 senior games of local footy in the Mornington Peninsula region before I came down to trial at the VFL”. “I spent 3 years on the development squad before making the senior list”.
It was an unusual way that Andrew officiated his first VFL game: “I had umpired the reserves at Coburg’s Piranha Park and straight after soon found myself running the senior game after one of the senior umpires had gone down with an injury” Leggo recalls. “My first official senior game was in my 3rd season at Box Hill where I was observed by one of the greats of boundary umpiring, John Summer”.
With umpiring 100 games comes a long list of highlights and Andrew certainly has plenty of them. “My first time umpiring a senior game at Frankston was special as something I had wanted to do as a young umpire was officiate a Dolphins match in front of a big hostile crowd”. “Umpiring my best friend Mark Baguley (current Essendon defender) whilst playing for the Bendigo Bombers is another good memory” he said. Season 2014 was arguably one of Leggo’s best where he racked up many individual accolades. ” It was certainly a memorable season, I umpired my first VFL final, umpired the Development League Grand Final as well as being awarded the most improved senior boundary umpire”.

leggo-andrew 5Umpiring VFL footy takes you to many different grounds and Leggo has umpired on quite a few. “All the road trips and overnight accommodation to places all over Victoria including Bendigo, Ballarat, Geelong, Shepparton, Swan Hill and Wangaratta have been good fun.” On a lighter note there is one memory that sticks with Andrew pretty well. “In my first season we used to get given a dvd of some of our match footage and had to self assess. It’s fair to say that Kevin Mitchell (previous head coach) wasn’t too impressed when I handed in my assessment with a statement relating to a particularly good looking young water girl running past”. 

Reflecting on the milestone means a lot to Andrew: “It certainly means a tremendous amount to umpire 100 VFL games . I’ve come a long way from the guy the local umpiring group were worried to send up. It may sound like the old cliché but just doing one game was the ultimate goal and anything else was just a bonus. I’m extremely proud to reach the 100 and I’ve managed to remain injury free throughout my career”. 
Just like in 2009 when a young Andrew Leggo came down to trial, 2018 will see new faces invited down to Victoria Park and Andrew has some simple advice for the them: “You shouldn’t underestimate how important recovery is. Whether that be the extremes such as a beach recovery session in the middle of winter or something as simple as a protein shake or stretching, it all counts. The best tip I could give is that you will umpire better when you are enjoying yourself”. 
Off the field Andrew has enjoyed some important roles such as being captain of the senior group whilst also being in charge of the fines and Mad Monday. Andrew could be described as the “fabric” of a tight knit group and should be credited for making Victoria Park a fun environment on a cold winters Tuesday or Thursday night. 

leggo-100It’s been a pleasure to catch up with Andrew and certainly a fantastic achievement in reaching 100 VFL games. Whilst he hasn’t reached the ultimate high of the AFL, the selfless nature of Andrew says it all. “Making the AFL would be nice but seeing some of my best mates achieve their dream of umpiring at the top level makes it worthwhile knowing that I’ve had some influence along the way to help them get there.”

Good luck for the rest of the season!

Simon Plumridge – 100 VFL Games

I had the pleasure of sitting down recently with Simon Plumridge – milestone man and all-round top bloke – to chat to him about his career to date.

How did it all start?

I played footy until I was 13, but I wasnt much chop. I enjoyed going to watch my local senior team and I’d see the umpires and think that would be cool to do – a good way to be involved in the game and to earn a little pocket money. Then I saw an ad in the local paper, phoned the coach and got stuck in from there.

You’re one of the fitter goal umpires going around. Have you always been between the sticks?

Yes, I’ve always been in the goals. It’s the role that appealed to me most. Fair to say, I wasn’t the fittest when I first started; it’s something I really had to work on and apply myself at.


When did you realise that you could progress your career?

At the end of my second season, I umpired the Eastern Football League (EFL) Division Two Senior Grand Final. The match was tied at full time, so went into extra time. That really fuelled my desire to umpire in big games and I started thinking about and working towards coming to the VFL. The people who were most influential to me were the other goal umpires, who really encouraged me and inspired me. My first coach, Graeme Williams, was very important, too.

Describe your experience of trialling at the VFL.

I was very nervous and excited to get the chance to trial. The environment I stepped into was a far cry from where I’d come from – much more professional. I relished it and dove in. My first practice game was at Arden Street and I wore my local EFL top, as they didn’t have any shirts for trialees. I buddied up with a couple of other first years, including current AFL umpire Dylan Benwell. We shared a lot over those first couple of years.


Speaking of Dylan, Leigh Keen once described both of you as ‘once in a century’ umpires. Give us your thoughts on this and also your bond with Dyl.

Its very humbling to be thought of in such a way by someone of Leigh’s stature. An amazing umpire and person, Leigh was instrumental in my umpiring development. At the time, I was chuffed to receive such praise. Now Im a little embarrassed by the label.

Dyl and I have shared a friendship since that first year in 2011. Its been great to grow and develop as umpires together over the years. I was stoked at the end of last year when he was elevated to the AFL; he’s an extremely talented umpire and deserved his spot after his second Granny. At leashe’s living up to his label!

Who’s been most influential on your career to date?

Leigh was outstanding when I first got to the VFL. Steve Stirling was another big influence in the short time before he was promoted to AFL Head Coach, and also David Flegg and David Dixon – the way they think about, coach and approach the game.

As for umpires, the people I’ve looked up to who’ve been very influential – Steve Piperno, Pete Balding, Michael Craig, the list goes on! Ive got a lot of people to be thankful for.

What are the highlights of your career so far? The lowlights?

All the finals I’ve been involved in. The VFL Grand Final in 2015 is very special to me – a great day with a great panel. Also being involved in the 2016 State Game in Adelaide was a great experience. Im lucky that lowlights are really few and far between. Missing most of 2016 through injury was very tough, but its an experience Im still working through and learning from. You get to meet so many great people through umpiring – funny moments involved spending time with those people. There are too many to count, although its fair to say that games nights at training and Mad Mondays make up most of those moments of fun.

plumridge-simon2 R10

How was your milestone game?

It was a good day overall. I think the most special aspect of the day was the support I got from family, friends and fellow umpires. The game was a real arm-wrestle; players on both teams battled hard all day. The wind was certainly a factor and, in the end, Casey probably played the conditions better at their home ground [than the Northern Blues].

Whom did you pick to partner you in the goals for the day?

Sam Walsh. I’ve umpired with Sam for a long time – we umpired at local level for a few years and did a Senior Grand Final together.

Some quick-fire questions to finish off…


Best you’ve umpired withI’ve had the privilege of umpiring with lots of great umpires – Dylan Benwell, Steve Piperno and Michael Craig spring to mind. The most consistent umpire I think I’ve ever run with would be Matthew Dervan – absolutely amazing.

Best coach: Four-way tie between Stirling, Keen, Flegg and Dixon! This may seem like a bit of a cop-out but I honestly can’t split them. They were obviously all amazing umpires in their own right and just the knowledge and experience they bring to coaching is phenomenal. They’re all very different coaches but have all had a big impact on me and my umpiring.

Best trainer: Another tie here – Dylan Benwell and Kate Griffiths. Both work really hard on their fitness and skills – and it shows. 

Funniest: I think Anthony Kyrkou and Callum Leonard, often featuring Chris Doyle or Sam Walsh, have proven to be funny over the years.

Strangest game day ritual you’ve seen: Having to show Cyrus that you’ve got a coin for the tossBenwell andmore recentlyMatty Edwards wearing their caps backwards before a game; Edwards again playing with downball pre-game to warm up; and Doyley getting changed at the last possible moment.

Congratulations, Simon!


– Cyrus Wong

Passing of life member Gary Best

Gary Best (right)

Gary Best (right) with Barry Farrow

The VFUA is saddened to report the passing of life member Gary Best (right, below).

Gary was promoted to the VFL list of goal umpires in 1985 following an outstanding career with Southern Umpires Association.

His 1986 VFL senior debut earned him Heritage No. 207 and over the next decade he umpired 92 VFL/AFL matches including the 1991 AFL Elimination Final. He also officiated in the 1989 and 1993 Ansett Cup Grand Finals, 57 VFL/AFL Reserves, 26 VFL U19s and 6 VFA matches.

One of his off-field occupations was as a caterer and it was in this role that he supported a number of VFUA functions, in particular the grand final balls held at the Malvern Town Hall. Gary became a life member of the VFUA and AFLUA in 1994, his retirement year.

Gary William Best passed away 16 August 2017, aged 68. His outgoing, cheery personality, big smile and bright outlook on life will be missed by all who knew him.

Vale Besty.

Funeral details:
Patterson River Fire Station, 37 McLeod Road, Carrum on FRIDAY (Aug. 25, 2017) at 11.00 a. m. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made on the day. A Fireman’s Funeral. A Private Cremation.

Cyrus’s Century

I was recently asked to sit down with a long-standing umpiring colleague, and one of my closest friends – Cyrus Wong – to get a feel for his time at the VFL as he notched up game 100 recently at Trevor Barker Beach Oval.

My earliest memory of Cyrus comes from umpiring in a junior interleague carnival at Bulleen Park. I remember it being not only the first time I’d ever seen an Asian goal umpire – but also the first time I’d ever met anyone named Cyrus!

Cyrus Wong pb

His notoriety around the Diamond Valley Football League (as it was then known) was almost instantaneous – not only for the diversity of his cultural background – but also for his ability as a first-year umpire.

Cyrus only spent two seasons at the DVFL before being sent to the VFL and he has never looked back!

JF: When did you start umpiring footy, and why did you start?

CW: I started in 2006. At Diamond Valley Athletics Club, Kim Miles, who was in my training group, always tried to recruit umpires from athletics, so, loving footy but not wanting to play, I took up her offer.

JF: What is the most memorable moment in your umpiring career?

CW: Umpiring the 2012 TAC Cup Grand Final and adjudicating the golden point which Jack MacRae kicked to win it for Oakleigh. That day I was with Jack Edwards, whom I’d umpired with in the Diamond Valley, and Tim Carlos, who remains a close friend.

Also, I like to see how players from that day are progressing – the likes of MacRae, Tim Membrey, Nick Graham, Jamie McMillan and Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti.

Any chance to be on Etihad Stadium or the MCG, in fact, has been memorable

JF: What made you choose goal umpiring over the other disciplines?

CW: Kim Miles and I were both sprinters and, although she herself boundary umpired locally and recruited others to boundary umpire from the club, I felt that my sprinting background and lack of endurance would make me more suited to the goals.

JF: How have things changed since you’ve been at the VFL?

CW: There are way more umpires because there is a lot more footy to officiate, such as the VFL Women’s competition. Also, after the amalgamation of the AFL Reserves and the old VFL in the late 1990’s, I’ve seen AFL clubs start their own VFL sides and I wouldn’t be surprised if we came full circle before too long.

One other thing – something the young’uns will find hard to believe – it that the AFL umpires used to train with us at Victoria Park and I think that it’s detrimental to both parties that this Is no longer the case. As a developing umpire, I found it extremely valuable to have AFL umpires there every week from whom I could get feedback and answers to any questions I had.

JF: What is one piece of advice you would give to umpires that might be in their first season, or who are relatively new to the list?

CW: It’s very hard to limit my response to just one thing, but I’ll try to keep it brief!

Not just for goal umpires, I’d say be clear within yourself what you want to achieve and set your mind firmly to those goals, not letting anything get in your way. You’ll get plenty of kicks up the backside, so be resilient – and patient. Things worth doing take time.

At the same time, celebrate the little wins you have along the way, but never get ahead of yourself. Do whatever it takes, get the very best out of yourself and – though clichéd – enjoy what you do and appreciate the opportunity you’ve been given to umpire at this level.

For a shortarse like me, it’s not every day, for example, I get to stand next to people like Mason Cox or Jason Holmes, who are 7 feet tall!

It was a welcome chat to have with Cyrus, whom I believe is a real testament to the hard work and focus he mentioned in the interview. As someone I have looked up to, particularly when I made the decision to take up goal umpiring, he has always provided calm and level-headed advice and been able to render my thinking into a different form when things weren’t going so well.

He also touched on some personal achievements, such as maintaining his performance for long enough to make it to game 100 and also the amount his fitness has improved over time, as things he holds dear when he thinks about his umpiring journey.

For me, umpiring has always been a place that’s full of mates – people you just really enjoy being around and learning from. Cyrus holds the invaluable characteristic of loyalty as a colleague and a friend, and I will definitely have being part of his panel on his 100th VFL game as part of my memorable umpiring moments for years to come.

Congratulations, Cyrus Wong on 100 VFL Games!

– Josh Forner

2017 VFUA Poker Night

The poker world has crowned a new champion! Saturday was the biggest night of the year for VFUA poker players and fans – the annual VFUA Poker Night.

When the last river card was dealt, Sam Walsh held all the chips. Walsh earned a trip for two to Bali for first place and now holds the most coveted prize in poker, the Poker Deluxe VFUA Champion trophy.


The victory puts Walsh in select company in poker history, placing him alongside legend of the game, Simon Blight. After the event, ‘Walshy’ was the picture of humility. One of his first remarks in the post-tournament press conference was his shock win. He was then straight on to the phone to start the bidding war between close friends to see who would join him on his tropical holiday.  Sam defied all the critics with this win, with his biggest critic, fellow goalie, Kate Griffiths, declaring, “I thought Sam would be one of the first out on the final table!”


When the final table of 9 began, each discipline was evenly represented. Chris Doyle and Pete McCaw were the first to lose their chips when taken on by Andrew Talbot. Mel Sambrooks started with the least amount of chips, but won an important hand to keep her going. Liam Pain started a new poker term, the Painy; an automatic $2000 bet regardless of the minimum bet. Sambrooks was the next to go, and the next elimination would be hard to come by as still one would miss out on the much fought after prizes!

Talbot_poker_runner-upWalsh had a couple of close scares of an early exit, but managed to survive as Griffiths was unable to survive till the final 5. Painy took on two too many hands, matching an all-in, then going all-in, against a pair of Aces on both occasions, leaving him in 5th for a set of movie tickets. Walshy and Adam Bell went toe-to-toe, leaving Walsh in a strong position. Belly, Pain’s mate and Talbot went all-in, with the latter taking the hand and leaving the tournament with two competitors left.


The final two exchanged pleasantries, talking about their nerves and rise in heart rates. But it didn’t take many hands for Walsh to wrap up the night and the trip!

Thanks to Kelly for putting on the night and to those that attended to make the night an enjoyable one for all.


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.


It’s a wrap – 2017 Golf Day

The annual VFUA golf day teed off on Sunday the 23rd of April at the delightful Ivanhoe Golf course. Perfect weather brought the best of abilities out in some but may have left others wondering what could have been with blue skys, not a breath of wind and freshly cut grass providing the best of conditions for a strong field of 36 keen golfing fanatics.


Two man Ambrose was the format for the day and as you can imagine with a bunch of umpires the topic of conversation prior to the first shot was rules, rules and rules!!

9 holes, 3 hours of banter, looking for golf balls and great company awaited and although the ladies markers situated 5m infront of the mens tee on the 1st proved to be a strong feat to carry for some (you know who you are), after a strong tee shot from Tom Chrystie, partner James Davey had ideas of slam dunking their 2nd shot of the day for eagle from 76 meters and made a clear statement to the challenges of their intentions early.


Unfortunately thats about where it ended for most PGA tour comparisons with more birdies on Aaron Langdon’s shirt, Lachie Harty decided taking 10 minutes to hit every putt gave him the all the gear, no idea approach. T-Rips white pants fitted the occasion and former VFUA member Tim Carlos who thought he would come along and caddy for Jack Edwards.

The winners by a half a stroke where Davey/Chrystie from the group of Langdon/Howorth who couldn’t handle the heat in the kitchen and missed a 3m putt on the last for the victory. Shot of the day to James Davey and best clubman undoubtably to Michael Curtis. Despite their recent retirements from umpiring, decision making continued to be an issue for the duo of Hankinson and Lawlor who finished in last place.


Thank you to all who attended and supported the event. A big thank you to those who helped organise the event in Nick Brown, Andrew Talbot and Kelly Tellam, their efforts in booking spots, advertising and running the day are appreciated and the day could not have been ran so smoothly without assistance. Thank you to Tyler Hankinson also for donating the prizes for the winners.