David Flegg AM Receives His Gong

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Government House, Friday 23 September 2019

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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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!

Just a Country Kid Making His Way in the Big Smoke

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As Daniel Butcher walked onto North Port oval on the weekend for the blockbuster clash between Port Melbourne and Williamstown, he held the ball aloft for the 100th time at VFL Senior level. It is a far cry from running around the Heathcote League where it all started for Daniel.

Persuaded into umpiring for some extra pocket money, he began umpiring junior district matches as a member of the Rochester-Echuca Umpires Association. He would work his way through the junior ranks and his first senior match came calling in the Heathcote Football League at the ripe age of 16.

At the end of the 2010 season, Daniel was nominated to trial at the VFL in Melbourne. The kid from Lockington would travel down to Victoria Park to chase the dream. After a well-planned trip to Singapore, much to the distain of Kevin Mitchell in his trial period, Daniel was successful in gaining a spot on the VFL Development panel for 2011. He hit the ground running and soon found himself promoted to the Senior List at the beginning of the 2013 season.

In the world of umpiring there are a lot of key moments that can define careers on whether you make it or you don’t. Daniel’s came at the end of the 2014 season in a year in which he umpired the TAC Grand Final. He missed out on a senior final and he could have gone two ways with his attitude. He chose to work hard over the Summer under the close guidance of Kym Brockhoff and come back and have a break-out season. “To miss out on the finals was disappointing but it gave me the drive to come back fitter and more determined than ever.” He certainly ticked those boxes and had a stellar year, achieving the ultimate goal at VFL level of umpiring the 2015 VFL Grand Final between Williamstown and Box Hill as well as being named umpire of the year.

His success was rewarded with an AFL Rookie promotion at the end of the year where he spent the next two seasons attending training and sitting on the bench at AFL matches to improve his umpiring skills. The results of that experience speak for themselves as Daniel went onto umpire the 2016 and 2017 VFL Grand Finals- 3 in a row! A feat that has only been done once before.

Daniel shares his success so far with the people that are closest to him- his family. “They have played a huge part in where I am today and without their support I wouldn’t have achieved anything like this” he says. His father, Ron, Mother, Dianne and siblings Briony, Matthew and Jacelle have been there every step of the way. There is no doubt you will hear a “hey bore” from the sidelines this week as Daniel completes his warm up.

Throughout his whole umpiring successes, he has remained as humble as the day he left Lockington. He is a great role model for younger umpires and is often seen watching them in his spare time to provide them with the feedback needed to progress their umpiring in the way he has. He has given his time to the VFUA association serving as Vice-President and President in 2014 and 2015 respectively to which he has fittingly been awarded Life-Membership.

On behalf of the VFUA and all the umpires that have had the privilege to umpire with you over the journey, congratulations on the 100 games; it is a great achievement and a testament to your application you have shown over the journey!

Rob Young Notches Up Ton

youngA few weeks ago, our good mate Rob Young umpired his 100th VFL match. When we look back over his career to date, we see Rob as a great bloke on and off the field who has a big amount of talent.

Rob made it to the VFL in 2009. In his first year at the VFL he impressed many and after only a year, he was promoted to the Senior Field Umpire Squad. In only his second year on the list he went on to umpire the TAC Cup GF.

Rob has also shown great resilience and strength through the numerous injury challenges thrown his way. The most significant was when Rob broke his leg in a game in 2014. It took over 18 months of physiotherapy, dedication and courage but his hard work paid off making a come back and again umpiring at the Senior VFL level. In the same year he returned, he went on to umpire the VFL Reserves Grand Final.

When we think of Rob and look back on his career to date, we think of a massively talented umpire, who has shown true resilience and courage to get back to such a great level of umpiring.

A great achievement reaching 100 games; it is a testament to this legend of a bloke being such a great umpire but an even better bloke.

Congrats from all of us on this great achievement legend!