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by Brad Beitzel

ALEX Anthony has overcome major hip surgery to become just the third woman to field umpire a Premier match in the VAFA. 
 The Melbourne Uni law student was still a teenager in 2011 when she had the operation and it put her off the track for nine months.
But the 22-year-old regained her fitness and adjudicated the season-opening De La Salle and Old Scotch match at Waverley Park.
Anthony, who lives a boundary throw-in from E E Gunn Reserve, said she followed older brother Damien Anthony into umpiring as “it seemed like a way to keep up my running”.
As a Little Athlete, Anthony ran the 800m at the state titles.
By 2006 she was running the boundary for the VAFA and in the field with the Moorabbin juniors — a pathway instituted by the Association’s football and umpiring chief Brian Goodman when he was the head of MSJFL.
A few years later Anthony switched to field with the VAFA and she progressed until that hip problem. “It was a wear-and-tear problem,” she said of what is seen to be a middle-age complaint.
Another unusual aspect was her commitment to rehabilitation.
“Alex was down at training speaking with the physios and riding the (stationary) bike when many others (at this level) wouldn’t — it’s not compulsory to attend training at the VAFA,” Goodman said.
With athleticism at the heart of umpiring Alex Anthony’s next goal is: “to get to VFL if I can”.
“I also train with the Female Umpire Academy through AFL Victoria, and a few of the girls trialled for VFL this summer and one of them made it. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to trial in the next few years.
“I think the most difficult thing for girls getting through to VFL is the running and meeting the time for the time trial but I think that if I were to train for it I am definitely capable of making the time.”
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