Matt Dervan – Umpire Operations Manager
This week the significant contribution and role umpires play in our great game across community football in Victoria will be celebrated at all levels.
Community Umpiring Round is an annual AFL event supported by our state body AFL Victoria and recognises those men and women patrolling the boundary line, manning the goal line, and controlling the action out in the middle.
Coming out of COVID community umpiring numbers statewide have suffered significantly for a variety of reasons, however what can be guaranteed is that every man and woman who walks out in the green uniform each weekend at VAFA grounds, are committed to playing their part to ensure the VAFA continues to be the place to umpire.
The VAFA continues to have wonderful partnerships with the SMJFL and YJFL where we provide both pathway and coaching opportunities for aspiring, young, up-and-coming umpires wanting to develop their skills in Senior and U19 football. The VAFA continues to host the SMJFL umpiring group every Monday night at Elsternwick Park as we look to build and nurture the next generation of umpires.
To celebrate the occasion, the AFL will forgo normal training sessions and travel to community umpiring groups across Victoria. The VAFA had nine of the AFL’s top officials across Field, Boundary and Goal facilitate VAFA training this week and talk about their experiences both at community and AFL level. These opportunities are highly valued by community umpiring groups, where members are extended the chance to engage and interact with the game’s elite officials.
The VAFA’s current representation on the AFL and state league lists is at the highest number in Association history. 15 former VAFA umpires currently make up spots on the AFL list, whilst a further 17 currently make up the state league list. The 2020 AFL Grand Final saw 33% of the umpires appointed come from the VAFA, which in the scale of a national competition proves that the VAFA provides a first-class training, coaching and social environment.
The VAFAUA provides excellent leadership and support as well as a welcoming atmosphere and is extremely well led by President Joshua Colman and his committee. The work they do to support the Association and the umpires is second to none.
Community Umpiring Round is another opportunity to encourage those who still want to be involved in football, to take up umpiring and stay involved in the greatest game on the planet. Whether you are new to the game or you’re playing days are over, then umpiring is a great way to contribute to the game. The VAFA offers a quality coaching program led by Head Coach Russell Davidson as well as a BJS Women’s Academy designed to encourage female participation in umpiring.
Regardless of your age, gender, culture or ability, anyone can get involved in umpiring and enjoy the many benefits the roles provide, and not only do you have the best view of the action, but it’s also an excellent way to keep fit, be a part of a team and learn skills that you can take when you walk off the ground.
This weekend, we thank and recognise the wonderful contribution umpires make to our great Australian game.
If you have interest in umpiring at the VAFA please feel free to contact me at [email protected]