Chris Doyle – 150th VFL Match


Chris Doyle – 150th VFL Match

This week Chris Doyle became the 27th umpire, and the 10th goal umpire to officiate 150 VFL Matches. Chris’ journey at the VFL would be described as one which is filled with resilience, perseverance, and consistency.
Doylely, as he is affectionately known, started his career running the boundary for his alma mater St. Kevins in 1997 (Yes! Years before many of our current members were born). In 2002, he joined the VAFA to take boundary umpiring more seriously, but after a soft tissue injury that year he moved across to the goals. It was in 2006 that he joined the VFL Development Squad.
The next seven years were filled with many trials and tribulations for Chris as he struggled to break into the senior squad. This came to a head at the end of 2012 when former goal umpire coach Steve Stirling gave Chris an ultimatum, improve his fitness standards to the benchmarks required or not to come back. During the off season, Chris lost almost 15 kilograms and in Round 3 2013 he was rewarded with his first senior match when Williamstown played Werribee at Downer Oval. After joining the senior squad in 2013, Chris went on to become one of the most consistent performers on the squad, which resulted in him officiating the 2016 and 2017 TAC Cup Grand Finals.
The one match that stands out for Chris was a semifinal in 2016, when Footscray played Essendon at Port Melbourne. Doylely believes he had an “out of body” experience that day as he had 41 scoring shots and nailed all of them. However, he also vividly remembers the moments when he split his pants at Werribee to get Hungry Jack’s before a match and when he was “put on his arse” in a TV match at Preston.
Chris would be described as a unique and peculiar character with elite performance habits. Over the course of his 16-year journey he has demonstrated habits which included drinking a diet Coke before a match, having a piece of flake, Three potato cakes and minimum chips the night before a match, and finally being the last out of the rooms with the comment “Lack of Ability: Check”.
When reflecting on his career to date, Chris believes the thing he enjoys the most is the camaraderie from the group, especially the weekly story times at The Retreat, and the banter from his biggest pest Callum Leonard. While these days he doesn’t enjoy the short sharp agility training sessions, he looks forward to umpiring the new interstate teams and no longer having to worry about the fitness benchmarks.
Umpiring 379 matches at state league level, Chris has developed a well-rounded perspective on footy and goal umpiring. His advice for aspiring goal umpires is to do the work (he hates seeing people waste their talent), and to not sweat the small things. He also believes that if he could change one thing about footy, it’s that if the if ball hits the post and goes through the goal, it should still a goal (like in all other sports).

Also, did you know that he is a Timekeeper for the AFL!


Matt Young – 150th VFL Match



Matt Young – 150 VFL Matches

Chompers. Slappsy. The Helmet. Youngy. The man of many nicknames, Matthew Young, brings up his 150th VFL match this Wednesday night, when he takes control of the Richmond v Werribee match under lights at the Swinburne Centre.
Youngy began his umpiring career in his home state of Queensland at age 12, in the AFL Brisbane Juniors Football League, because he thought “it was a pretty cool first job”. He progressed through the ranks and made his NEAFL debut in 2012, age 19, in the Round 2 match between Southport and Gold Coast. He would go on to umpire 46 NEAFL matches, including four finals, between 2012 – 2014, and was appointed as the Emergency Umpire for the 2013 NEAFL Grand Final.
In 2015, he made the move down south to Melbourne and joined the VFL umpiring group, making his debut in Round 1 of that season. Since then, Youngy has been a mainstay of the VFL competition, umpiring 103 matches since. He made his VFL finals debut in 2019, in the elimination final between Geelong and Port Melbourne, an appointment he considers a career highlight.
Youngy’s commitment and dedication to his umpiring saw him selected in the AFLW Field Umpiring Squad for the 2022 season, and recently saw him promoted onto the AFL Rookie List. He is also a member of the VFL Umpiring leadership group, highlighting the strong regard in which the group hold him.
Good friend and fellow VFL umpire Tom Chrystie describes him as “a very genuine person who has always tried his guts out”, adding “with such a great work ethic and personality I think he will continue to climb the umpiring ranks quickly”. Another recently crowned member of the 150 VFL matches club, Jack Edwards, said Matt is “an incredibly selfless person who wants to get the best out of himself and is great company to be around”. If you’ve had the pleasure of meeting Matt, you would know all of this to be true.
Youngy says the thing he loves the most about being a part of the VFL umpiring group is the support and mateship: “it has grown into a genuine team first environment”. He lists the 2014 Under 18s AIS All Australian Europe Tour as his career highlight (he was the travelling umpire, not a player as he would have you believe!) and says the best match he has been a part of was the 2012 NEAFL Semi Final between Southport and Redlands (Southport kicked a goal after the siren to win by 3 points).
He lists Nic Palmer (NEAFL Development Squad Coach), Cameron Nash and Kym Brockhoff as having had the biggest impact on his career, across both his time in Queensland and Victoria. And his advice to any young umpires coming through the system? “GET FIT!” This isn’t a surprise, as he has gained the reputation as always being one of the hardest workers across the pre-season period, in recent years taking his fitness to the next level, and being the only member of the umpiring group disappointed to see the 2km time trial go!
As a group, we consider ourselves very fortunate to have Youngy as part of our team. He is incredibly hard working, committed and driven in his umpiring pursuit, and provides a perfect example to follow for any umpires entering the state league system.

All the best for match 150 CHOMPERS!


Jack Edwards: A Ton and a Half


Jack Edwards: A Ton and a Half

In the early 2000s, a marathoner turned boundary coach at the Diamond Valley FL had somehow convinced his eldest son to follow suit as an umpire. A self-proclaimed fat-kid who loved basketball, picked up the whistle and took to field umpiring instead of the boundary in 2004 because “It paid more and you ran less.” Fast-forward almost 20 years and Jack Edwards is notching up game 150 in the VFL!

This sort of milestone, that has only been reached by 13 others before him, is significant to everyone in their own way. For Jack, it acknowledges 10 years of umpiring State League football and 10 years of good mates, good times and lots of enjoyment. “Not many get there so I’m very lucky. It signifies the story I’ll have when I move away from the game,” he explained recently while chowing down a cheap $19 steak.

When you’ve umpired that many games, many of them blur into one, but for Jack, there was one stand out – The Lock-out Game.

That game was the 2014 Preliminary Final at North Port Oval. It was Port Melbourne and Footscray. The crowd was that big, they had to lock the gates. “The atmosphere was electric. Scores were level at the 21min mark of the last quarter.” It’s no wonder he went on to be appointed to the VFL Grand Final the following week.

In amongst his 10 years at State League level include 2 years on the AFL list. He may have only notched up 11 games, but those 11 games have left that hunger to climb back on to that list. His AFL debut, Melbourne vs Hawthorn in round 7 of 2015, also left a couple of memorable moments. He had a dreaded score review in the first quarter when David Hale took a towering mark on the behind line. But the biggest accomplishment is flooring Viv Michie.

We all know being an AFL umpire has it’s perks, and Jack took full advantage when he told the story of being appointed to a game on the day of his engagement party. “I spoke to Mel to see if she would be able to get everything ready so I could have a crack that night. So I organized dad to go and get the car with 10mins to go in the last quarter and go wait at the Moorabool St entrance for when the siren went. I was in the car and on the highway when the theme song was still playing.”

Jed’s journey hasn’t been all smooth sailing. He reflected on his first couple of years on the Development Squad. “2010 I did ok. I went backwards in 2011 and was warned that a return was not a guarantee in 2012.” Jack made sure it was a certainty but having a big preseason which resulted in his VFL debut in round 1, 2012.

“The footy was good back then and umpiring was much simpler. We are more professional now and follow better preparation practices. We can over-analyze sometimes but the VFL has much better exposure.”

When asked about some of the best umpires he has graced the field with, he premised his answer with “I’m going to leave good people out here.” From a developmental aspect, he named Brett Rosebury and Shaun Ryan as two. They happened to be his exact teammates in his AFL debut. When it came to an umpire as teammate and having fun, it was the infamous Daniel Butcher. As one of the veterans now, Jack also acknowledged the enjoyment of umpiring with the younger umpires coming through the State League system.

It’s not just umpires that Jack has come across. He named two players from opposing clubs as two of the best players he has seen at VFL level. Toby Pinwell from Port Melbourne and Ben Jolley from Williamstown. “Toby played hard, but he also respected you once he got to know you. But Port and Willy back then were stacked. Whenever they played each other, you knew it was going to be on.”

For Jack, there has always been one constant support – Papa Craig. Craig has gone from father to Jack’s biggest critic. What Jack values is the fact that Craig, as a respected boundary umpire and coach in his own career, often provides feedback that is on par with the official coaching. For this reason, even when Craig says Jack has had a shit game, he knows he is getting an honest point of view.

10 years at the State League level provides perspective and wisdom. For umpires aiming for the State League, or even aiming for the senior squad, Jack’s advice: “You need to understand that you’ll need to make sacrifices, you’ll have to work hard and the journey will be hard sometimes. But whatever you put in, you get back times 10 with mates, the footy and the experiences, all of which shouldn’t be taken for granted. Being a State League umpire is not a right of passage. The position needs to be respected and earned.”

It’s been a privilege being part of Jack’s journey from the good ol’ DVFL days to now. Not just as an umpire, but getting to know his immediate and now own family in Craig, Pina, Matt, Mel and Mable. Everyone in the VFUA congratulates you on your journey and all your achievements to date and we are all hoping to see many more achievements!

And one final message for his younger self starting to umpire for the first time…

“Umpiring is a rollercoaster with highs and lows. The between times are the bulk of the ride. Enjoy the ride and be proud to be an umpire.”


Adam Bell – 150 VFL Matches


Adam Bell – 150 VFL Matches

Adam “Ding” Bell started umpiring at the VFL in 2009, which means he’s been gracing Victoria Park with his presence almost as long as Johnny Summers. In the days of Coach Vitiritti, Belly was in charge of navigating the correct footage during coaching, which was shown on a projector via a DVD player. This alone meant that he provided more valuable input than a number of people in that coaching room.

Belly spent three years on the development list before being promoted to the senior panel in 2012 doing his first game with Matthew Tomkins and Brenden Elvey. This means Belly has spent over a decade umpiring VFL senior football. This type of longevity is extremely rare at VFL level, particularly in the boundary discipline and is a sign of the commitment that Belly shows towards umpiring.

To explain how long that’s been, close mate with Belly, Lokky Harty has started umpiring (2009), stopped umpiring (2011), started umpiring again (2015), stopped umpiring again (2018) and started coaching (2020) all at the VFL level.

Continued hard work has seen some great success for Belly, filling his career to date with great moments and fantastic achievements. He did his first final in 2014 and aside from when COVID meant there were no finals at all; Belly has umpired minimum of one final in every year since.

Reaching a ranking as high as number five at the end of the 2016 season, Belly was only one step away from getting the VFL grand final in both 2015 and 2016 when  he umpired the TAC Cup grand final. The amount of dedication and hard work that Belly has put in reflects in the quality of the umpiring performances that he’s been able to consistently produce. He shows great leadership on the field, letting his experience shine through and he is an extremely reliable umpire. For this reason, Belly is one of my favourite people to umpire with because you can always back him in to be where he needs to be, when he needs to be there.

It’s also no secret that Belly is one of the biggest characters on the VFL list. Subsequently, he’s one of the most well-known people out on the track. From his “serious sideburns” getting a mention by the 7 VFL commentators to his general sick behaviour out on the training track, Belly always manages to find a way to make himself stand out from the crowd.

Enjoy your 150th mate. It’s been a pleasure umpiring some of those 149 games with you and I’m sad I’ll be cheering you on from the sidelines instead of running out on the ground with you.

Sling on, Ding

Written by Simon Blight.


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!


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.


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


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.


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.