VAFA Umpires announce coaching panel

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The VAFA Umpiring Department would like to announce its coaching panel for the 2021 season, with some familiar VAFA faces taking charge in key roles ahead of Round 1 on April 10.

Multiple Premier Grand Final Umpire Russell Davidson has been appointed as Head Coach of Field Umpiring, which is a newly created role, where he will be responsible for the management and coaching of all the Field Umpires and coaches. Rusty, as he is affectionally known was to take up a role in 2020 coaching the senior squad umpires before the season was cancelled, will now turn his attention and focus on setting the direction for field umpiring in 2021.

Russell’s coaching team is headlined by the new appointments of Owen Hinson (Premier Squad Field Umpire Coach) and Lionel Katz (Senior Squad Field Umpire Coach) who again both have a long history with the VAFA, and after many years of service combined on the field, will now take up key roles in the coaching space.

Guy Hexter (Development Squad Field Umpire Coach) rounds out the coaching team as he manages our talented and up and coming field umpires in an important role he fulfills in the development of our aspiring umpires within the talent pathways. Peter James and Mark Gibson will continue as a matchday coaches running with umpires looking to take their umpiring to the next level.

Umpire Operations Manager Matt Dervan said “we have assembled a unique and dynamic field coaching group with great experience as well some new faces within a new structure to better resource all our field umpires in season 2021. After the departure of Tony Hales it gave us an opportunity to look at the areas to expand and provide quality coaching across the board, and we’re delighted with the panel we have on board to take field umpiring forward in 2021”.

In the Boundary Umpire coaching team, Ryan O’Shea (Head Coach) and Asha Hinton (Development Coach) will continue in their respective roles in 2021.

Bernie Jephson will again lead the Goal Umpire Coaching team in 2021 with Garry Baumgarten, Shane Herbert & Charlie May all returning to the VAFA Coaching Panel. Clayton Evans is the only new appointment as he re-joins the VAFA as Development Coach. Like Rusty, Clayton is a multiple time Premier Grand Final Umpire and his experience in developing talented umpires for the next stage of their careers will be a valuable asset for the goal umpires.

“Ensuring our umpires have the best resources possible via our training venues at Elsternwick Park & Westbourne Grammar, as well as partnerships with the SMJFL & YJFL, and having the best coaches in community football is our priority as we continue to give those who umpire with the VAFA the opportunity to develop their skills on the field, and try to be leaders in the community off it”.

To get involved as a VAFA umpire contact Matt Dervan at [email protected] and ensure you stay up to date by following “VAFA Umpires” and “VAFAUA” on all social media platforms and