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!