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!

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!!!

Cyrus Wong Retires

Cyrus Wong 01

Resilience, determination and persistence are just some of the many values that embody recent VFL Senior Goal Umpire retiree, Cyrus Wong. Cyrus’ 136 VFL Senior Games is an incredible effort spanning over a decade career at the VFL between the posts.

Failing the time trial in 2014 led to Cyrus embarking on a unique and physically demanding journey, that being running every current and defunct Melbourne train, tram and bus routes. This journey for Cyrus later led to him beating the time trial requirements and running those thousands of kilometres demonstrate his determination to overcome his previous challenges both physically and mentally.

I had the pleasure to run alongside Cyrus and former VFL Goal Umpire, Pete Balding in his final section of the public transport network which we will remember for many years to come. To see Cyrus’ face and reaction at the end of this journey was priceless.

I also had the pleasure to umpire alongside Cyrus in his final VFL match, held at what I would call his home away from home, Whitten Oval. Remaining professional and competent all the way to the final siren, it was a humbling experience to be there in person and I was extremely honoured to have had Cyrus choose me for his final game.

All the best for retirement Cyrus and for your future endeavours away from the VFL world.

– James Rizio

Cyrus Wong 03Cyrus Wong 02

Mr Nice Guy Notches up 150

Simon Plumridge (G) 150 VFL matches

14 September 2019,  Richmond v. Port Melbourne (Port Melbourne)

Simon joined the VFL in 2011 from the Eastern Football League. From the outset, Simon was a very promising umpiring and this was reiterated by winning the Leigh Keen coaches award in his first year. After one year on the development list Simon quickly progressed to the senior list and has had an incredible career since.

Simon’s stats whilst at the VFL:

  • 150 VFL Games (20 Finals), 16 VFL reserves, 20 TAC Boys
    2015, 2017 & 2018 VFL Grand Finals
    2014 TAC Grand Final
    2014 Most improved senior goal umpire
    2015 & 2018 Umpire of the year
    2016 State Game
    2018 National U18 Championship umpire

Simon is described by his colleagues as determined, humble, hard working, quiet achiever, no fuss and committed umpire. It has not been all highs and smooth sailing for Simon. His 2016 season started well with his appointment to the state match, but that turned out to be his last game for the year. Simon ruptured his ACL the week after and had to undergo surgery, ending his season. Despite his crippling injury and disappointment, Simon continued attending training and coached skills sessions to support his fellow goal umpires. Simon wasn’t able to run again until the end of 2016, and had only a few months to get his fitness and confidence back before the 2017 season. But he did just that and was back umpiring senior footy in Round 3.

Simon notched up his 150th VFL game in style umpiring the preliminary final between Richmond and Port Melbourne. When it comes to finals, Simon is one of the most experienced finals umpires. His game on the week was his 20thVFL final putting him 2ndoverall for most finals by an umpire within the VFL. The good news continued for Simon this week being appointed to his 4thVFL grand final on Sunday between Richmond and Williamstown. After this weekend Simon will join Peter Balding on top of the leader board with 21 VFL finals.

Congratulation Simon on the massive achievement!

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Double Trouble: 100 for Goat & Wilke

This weekend sees two Boundary Umpires reach milestone games – Kieran Ferguson & Luke Wilke will both carve up 100 VFL games at Williamstown on Sunday 18th August 2019.

Fellow boundary line runner Stickz celebrates their achievements with a candid look back on their journeys towards their tons.


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GOAT (Kieran Ferguson)

Some may know him as Kieran, others by Ferg and a select few call him Goat (and they know why) but all we know is that he is a beautiful athlete, or so Johnny summers says.

I’ve had the pleasure of being around since day 1 with Goat since he started at the VFL, back then he was a very quiet character that just went about his business. Over the years he has become a very vocal and respected leader among the boundary group. He’s had to deal with a lot of crap over the years from putting up with me to Dineen telling him to shut up when he spoke, but as the great man he is, he copped it on the chin and got on with business.

Over the years Goat has flow under the radar never seeming to find himself in a stupid situation. Over the many years he has had some great accomplishments:

  • He’s umpired 3 grand finals at state league level, 1 reserves, 1 TAC cup and 1 senior grand final, then the start of the year the AFLW grand final.
  • Then Taking the boys to some good restaurants for dinner, as well as some Questionable ones “the Sandwich place”, since this dreadful place he isn’t allowed to pick dinners spots.
  • He got his face in the local paper and a radio interview back at his home town.

But all of these things come down to 2 things, the first one as many of you know is that there is one place that Goat can be found and that is his love for being on the table, every training session and game day you can find him getting a rub. The other is something more interesting and that is the fact that since day one at the VFL he has had the same pair of shoes, he loves his nimbus’s.

I just want to personally thank him for all the hard work he has put in over the years working with myself and others. I can speak for everyone when I say that he is a pleasure to be around and even more of a pleasure to watch on the game day.

Good luck for your 100thmate, all the best for the game and the rest of the season, keep putting your best foot forward, like the boys know you will.

Good luck, Stickz

wilke-luke

Silky (Luke Wilke)

Arghh Wilke where do I start with you, from your massive nights out, to getting lost on the wing at Werribee, you’ve got a lot of stories that could be told but lots that shouldn’t.

Wilke and I started together but didn’t really get to know each other till last year, but damn over the last two years we have had loads of good times. Through these good times we have learnt a lot about you, first off that you are the most expensive light bulb changer, $600 a light, really mate? No wonder you shout us dinner.

Even though you are always out, you have a really good relationship with your family. Some of you will know this but Wilke’s mum is a local boundary umpire coach, so it’s no surprise that she comes to some of his games but she actually comes to them all and she packs his bag for every game. WILKE you are 24 pack your own damn bag. Then there is the time you forgot your bag to a game and of course who came to your rescue of course your wonderful mother and sister.

There has become a bit of a saying between the boys, that it’s time to do Wilke basically this is just someone not doing the full session, Wilke spends half of training on the toilet and the other half on the table, so if you ever need to speak to him you’ll probably find him there.

Among all the interesting behaviours of Wilke, he is one of the best blokes at training, always up for a laugh at training whether it’s at his expense or someone else’s, he’s just as good on the track as he is off the track. He’s umpired at 4 grand finals in a row completing 2 development grand finals and 2 TAC cup grand finals, this is a testament to his abilities on and off the field, then to being appointed as co-captain with Staggy, whether that was a good decision or is up for debate.

Either way mate just want to say glad that you have stuck around for this long and hope you stay on longer, congratulations on the 100thgame mate, hope it’s a great day out,  go out and smash it, like I know you will. All the boundary group are lucky to have you.

Congrats mate, Stickz.

100 for “Boo-Urns”

Funky tats, false teeth and plenty of laughs.

The Patrick Boourns we have all come to know and love reaches significant milestone this week – 100 VFL senior games is nothing to be sneezed at, and this week Patrick joins the elite club of 100 gamers.

Raised in a small town in the north of Melbourne known as Oak Park, Pat’s illustrious career started at the Essendon District football league, where he umpired the 2011 B B grade, and then backed it up with the 2012 A grade grand final between Strathmore and Greenvale. After that, in 2013, he got an opportunity on the development list at the VFL, umpiring in 20 TAC cup games before a quick rise up the ranks saw him promoted to the senior list in 2014.

Pat’s career highlights include:

  • 4 senior finals.
  • 1 development league grand final.
  • 2 TAC cup grand finals.
  • AFL rookie (2017 to current).
  • AFLW umpire 2018, 2019.
  • Having part of Footy Classified’s ‘Say That Again’ dedicated to him burping over match com during a TV game.

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Although a long list of awards throughout his tenure, Pat recalls his two best moments of his career so far. One of which was umpiring the 2011 EDFL B grade grand final with his brother, while his other was being told that he was still in nappies by a Geelong supporter in his first year on the senior list. We’d probably think the latter is the lesser of the two achievements. With the ups of umpiring, Pat has also recognised a few of the lesser moments in his career. When I spoke to him, he said “one of the worse moments was finding out we have to be clean shaven every week, because I reckon I would look pretty good with a moustache”, something we don’t doubt Pat.

Pat’s talents stretch far beyond the umpiring capers. He is currently an apprentice carpenter, often seen setting up frames and hammering nails into wood. He also has a gentle side, which he shows through the appreciation of his doggo Roxy. There is a lot more to write about Pat, but I would be here all day.

What separates Pat from a lot of others is his endless energies and positivity he beams. From the humour and joy he delivers us around the track and on game day, to the calm and composed actions he takes after paying a mark from a handball, we wish you all the very best in your 100th senior game.

You can catch Pat in action as he umpires the Coburg v North Melbourne match at 12.30 this Sunday at Piranha Park, Coburg.

Double Century for Deano

Chris Doyle caught up with Dean Jones before his 200thmilestone game at Adcon Stadium (Port Melbourne v. Essendon, 23 June 2019) to reflect back on his fantastic career and journey towards 200.

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200 games participation in any sporting or official endeavour is a feat nothing to be sneezed at, let alone umpiring 200 games of VFL Senior football. So, the fact that this weekend we have the 3rdever individual to reach this milestone is a feat to be congratulated and feted upon. It is somewhat ironic that the umpire who reaches this milestone, Dean Jones is one of the more quietly spoken and unassuming people you’ll meet in umpiring. Deano, who takes the goals in the Port Melbourne v Essendon match at the Adcon Stadium this Sunday definitely puts the ‘quiet’ in quiet achiever, but one can be assured that what Deano lacks in amount of words spoken, definitely makes up for in determination and application. It was a pleasure to catch up with him this week to discuss the impending milestone:

Deano, this is not the 1sttime you have reached the double ton. Who could forget your epic 210 against India at Madras in 1986-87…whoops wrong Dean Jones. What I meant to ask you is you obviously have had a range of experiences in your 200 games. What game would you say sticks out as your favourite game?

I’d have to say my favourite game was a final I did in 2005 which was Tasmania vs the Northern Bullants, which I umpired with my current coach Brad Letson. It was at Bellerive Oval, and there were 11,000 locals in attendance. They were extremely loud, until they started to get belted (Northern won by 73 points) and they all went off home

What would be your favourite thing about umpiring VFL football Deano?

My favourite thing about umpiring at the VFL football is simply going to training each week with all the guys. We have a great group of umpires in the senior squad, and the constant banter and back and forth between certain members of our group makes the whole experience really enjoyable

And what would be your least favourite?

A thing I’m not overly fond of is having to get to games 90 minutes before. It can feel like forever if there is no curtain raiser on beforehand, and you run out of things to talk out about with the bloke you’re umpiring with pretty quickly

You’ve been on the list since 2002 and you would’ve seen a heap of changes in your time at the Project Clothing centre. What would you say has been the biggest change?

The biggest change would definitely be the increased scrutiny from observers. When I started doing senior footy there would only be 3 or 4 senior games getting observed each week. However now all our games are getting observed either at the ground or on the video each week. There’s definitely nowhere to hide

And finally, who would you say you have been your favourite blokes to umpire with?

Yeah, in no particular order I would have to say I’ve enjoyed umpiring with current umpires such as Simon Plumridge (Deano’s partner on Sunday) and Chris Doyle, and some blasts from the past such as Lloyd Fisk, Michael Richardson, and Jeremy Grey

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Deano, the magnitude of this achievement is one not to be underestimated, and we all know how hard you have worked to get there. It is incredibly well deserved. Best of luck for the big day, and let’s hope there are many more games to come.

Chris Doyle (21/6/2019)

175 for VFL’s fastest

curtis-michael1 R6Michael Curtis, the only thing higher than his VFL senior games tally is the amount of kids he has.

Coming in from Noble Park, Michael started umpiring in the Dandenong juniors and Eastern Footy League as a way to stay involved post-football career. In 2009 Michael made his way to the VFL, where he spent a year on the development list before being promoted to the senior squad for the 2010 season.

Entering his 11th season at the Project Centre, I had the chance to chat with Michael about the high and lows of his career so far.

“For me the career high and lows have come from similar experiences. Out of my 11 years, I’ve been time trial champion 9 times, that’s one of my proudest achievements. Of course, time trials aren’t that fun when you lose, which I have on two occasions, so that’s probably the career low for me.”

Michael has done it all over the journey. Richmond v. Box Hill was his 175th VFL senior game, including a tally of 11 senior finals having umpired in the 2014, 2015 and 2018 VFL Preliminary Finals. Along with the 175, Curto has umpired 19 VFL Reserves matches including 2 grand finals, 23 TAC cup games which includes 3 grand finals and 4 AFLW matches, a sensational record for a very respected man. In 2010, Michael was awarded the most improved senior field umpire. He then went on to be awarded the 2013 VFL Umpire of the Year, and was an AFL rookie in 2015, a fairly impressive resume for any umpire.

Not only do we love Curto for his on field success and all-round good bloke charisma, the responsibilities he has taken on off the field stacks up very nicely against his on field work. From 2016 through to 2018, Curto did an outstanding job as the VFUA president, sacrificing many countless hours in order to get the best outcomes for his fellow umpires, a true team player. He was to be rewarded for his service by being inducted as a life member of the VFUA in 2018 and will go on to receive VFL life membership.

“I’ve been pretty lucky to experience plenty of good memories over the journey. Some of the best highlights are just training or running with mates in general week in week out. And the life skills you learn at umpiring are second to none. Some of the stand outs would be umpiring any of the grand finals, my first TV game, the annual mad Monday and of course, the after match feeds!”

“I do remember one day when umpiring juniors at Upper Beaconsfield, snow started to tumble during the game. I think I can still feel the cold to this day!”

At the end of it all, Curto will not only be remembered for all he has done on and off the field for the VFL and VFUA, but he will be remembered by his peers and coaches as one of the nicest blokes going around. It has been a pleasure to umpire with Curto on a few occasions, as everybody has found it.

From everybody at the VFUA, we wish the fastest man in the VFL all the very best. A deserving milestone that truly reflects everything you have done for the game.

Photo: Rob Geise

President Turtle reaches 175

talbot-andrew1The human turtle, the PWS power ranger, the PE teacher, the current VFUA president. These are just some of the many identities by which Andrew Talbot goes.

Coming from the Diamond Valley Football League, Andrew joined the VFL in 2008, but not without his challenges. In 2006, Andrew was kicked off the track after the first training session of the year! After re-trialing in 2007, Andrew broke his foot in the pre-season and was forced onto the supplementary list. And then finally in 2008, Andrew trialed again, and as they say, third time lucky! Fair to say, Andrew never looked back, gained a spot on the development list and was then promoted to the senior list in 2009.

Entering his 11th season as a VFL senior umpire, Andrew has accomplished many things in umpiring. From his first senior game, Box Hill v Northern, to the infamous successful ‘head count’ when Frankston had 19 on the ground and their score wiped. That was almost as good as having his fifth senior match delayed due to a helicopter landing on the field during the reserves. But when speaking to Andrew about what he thinks of his own career highlights, he said, “One of my highlights involves sending an under 11 kid off for flashing his opponent at a set shot.”

“I also got the chance to umpire an AFL match as a rookie after coming on 5 minutes into the second quarter. Round 3, 2014, North Melbourne v Port Adelaide. I couldn’t hear my match com the crowd was that loud, it was surreal.”

“Along with the 2018 VFL Grand Final the 2009 TAC Cup and 2017 AFLV Development League Grand Finals are obviously some of my most cherished moments.”

It’s the 27 March, 2018. It’s list announcement night, and Andrew has unsuspectedly been chosen to don the number 1 guernsey for the 2018 season. With the previous season’s number 1 having umpired the grand final and collected umpire of the year, the responsibility and expectations that came with wearing the number might have overwhelmed some. For others it might be a challenge, a motivator if you will.

It seemed that throughout 2018, Andrew had decided to choose the latter. In what seemed to be a flawless display of umpiring consistency throughout the 2018 season, Andrew had embraced all challenges and had his best season to date.

Hardly putting a foot wrong all year Andrew was rightfully chosen to umpire his first VFL senior grand final, collecting the umpire of the year award along the way too. Some have even said that his 2018 campaign as the number 1 was the best they had seen in recent times. They say a week is a long time in football, and what must have felt like an eternity to Andrew was the grand final week, from being named umpire of the year and being appointed to his first VFL grand final, Andrew was brought back down to earth having started the grand final with a recalled bounce, not your finest moment, Mr. Talbot.

Apart from umpiring, you may see Andrew post about a PWS power ranger, which is his alter ego. Andrew’s work as the PWS power ranger is about raising awareness for Prader-Willi syndrome with which his good friend Jamie Grindal’s daughter was diagnosed. Whether it be attending a PWS fund raiser in Sale, or running a full marathon in his orange morph suit, there’s not too many people out there with the kindness and generosity to give up their time for others like Andrew.

What separates Andrew from a lot of others is his willingness to give up his time for the greater good of umpiring. Andrew is heavily involved with the rookie squad when they train at the VFL, along with always being a leading voice around the group and assisting his fellow umpires with questions they may have. Nothing is ever too much for Talbot, which makes him one of the most deserving blokes to receive VFL life membership.

From all of us at the VFUA, congratulations on reaching the fantastic milestone, a true reflection of a great career. Umpires_R15 (1)

Cal’s Hundred

cal 2In a year of multiple milestones for VFUA members, another one was achieved on Saturday night when senior goal umpire, Callum Leonard, brang up the ton when he officiated the Geelong v Essendon clash at GMHBA Stadium. Starting with the VFL in 2011 out of the Ballarat Umpires Association, Callum worked incredibly hard to get where he is today. When Cal started down at the VFL, he had serious issues with his weight and fitness. Whilst the on field ability was definitely prevalent, without attention being paid to these issues, Cal’s career could’ve ended before it began. However, with a lot of effort and hard work (and little fanfare), Cal has worked extremely hard to get himself fit and to be a positive example for younger umpires.

Callum has had his share of success over the journey after doing his 1st senior game, North Ballarat v Casey Scorpions in 2013. He has been involved in senior finals in both 2015 and 2017, and it was in these two seasons that he was appointed to the AFL Vic Development League Grand Final. When pressed on the most memorable moment of his career, Cal explained that the Grand Finals would definitely be. “Yeah, those Grand Finals would definitely have to be the top moments of my career. Especially the 2015 one as it went it to Golden Point, and with it being my 1st State League Grand Final, it was a great experience.” Cal was also appointed as the emergency to the AFLW decider this year which was also another feather in the cap for the big chested individual from Ballarat.

calWhilst a hard worker and solid example for the younger members of the squad, you won’t find a better sh*t stirrer than C. Leonard. He has had many favourite targets over the years, with Cyrus Wong, Ash Crawford, and Matt Richardt being some of the favourite targets of his constant jibes and prodding. But when asked for the person he has enjoyed annoying the most, he said it would have to be his partner on Saturday night, Chris Doyle. “I love getting stuck into Doyle, mainly because it’s so bloody easy. One little comment in his direction will draw that surly little stare he does or an offensive gesture, or some idle threat which normally makes no sense anyways. I always get a bite from him no matter what.” When asked about being appointed for his big achievement with his regular victim, Leonard replied, “I asked Brad to appoint me with anybody else but Doyle, but alas, I’m doing the game with him. Oh well, at least I’ll get to enjoy the night giving Doyle crap!”

Congratulations on getting to this milestone Callum. A great achievement and hopefully a portent of future success to come in your career!