Article originally posted on the VAFA Umpire Association’s website, 3 November 2015.
“We would like to congratulate former VAFAUA Goal Umpire Matthew Dervan on his promotion to the AFL list for 2016.
Matt began umpiring with the VAFA in 2010 as a 14 year old. In his first year he umpired the 2010 U/19 Premier Grand Final. He made amazing progress in 2011, umpiring the Premier Grand Final in his second year at the VAFA. In his final year with us in 2012, Matt received the Golden Whistle Award, and umpired the Premier B Grand Final.
Matt’s meteoric rise continued in the VFL, where in his first year (2013) he sat the bench in the TAC Cup Grand Final. 2014 saw him promoted to the VFL Senior Panel, where his fantasitc year saw him named VFL Goal Umpire of the year, as well as appointed to the VFL Senior Grand Final. Such an award and appointment was almost unheard of for someone of Matt’s age, and in thier first year on the Senior Panel.
Matt’s superb performances continued, and he went back to back, umpiring the 2015 VFL Senior Grand Final.
It is of no surprise to any in the VAFA Goal Umpiring community that Matt would acheive the heights of AFL football, and we are all are extremely proud.
We asked Matt a few questions that might interest those considering taking up umpiring, or currently umpiring who want to progress further
I injured my knee playing junior footy, and decided I would try umpiring for a year (with the intention of going back to playing footy). I chose goal umpiring as I grew up knowing some AFL goalies, and at the age of 14 was a bit lazy too! But I ended up loving it, and the coaches saw something in me, so I decided to pursue it further.
Memories of the VAFA?
I reflect on my time at the VAFA and I can honestly say that if it wasn’t for all the guys/girls down there I probably wouldn’t be here today. The support, advice they give to you is so invaluable that I’ll carry those words of wisdom with me all the time. The VAFA has the motto of being “a great place to umpire” and it certainly holds true. The comradery, mateship and the light-hearted banter made my three years very enjoyable. The coaching staff led by Benny are fantastic, they are very approachable and at the end of the day they want to see umpiring flourish, and they’ll always strive to get the best out of you. It truly is a positive, vibrant umpiring group to be a part of.
Any thoughts for young umpires/aspiring new umpires?
If you want to be an AFL umpire get involved early. It will give you the best opportunity of one day having the best seat in the house. I feel extremely lucky and privileged to have been at the VAFA, as they’ve taken a 14-year-old kid who started umpiring through luck and laid the foundations for a 20 year old who will one day umpire and AFL game. Work hard, respect your coaches feedback and take on as much advice as you can; it all helps.
Again, we’d like to congratulate Matt on his promotion to the AFL, and we look forward to letting all of our member’s know when Matt will debut.”
On behalf of the entire VAFA community, we’d like to congratulate Matt on his outstanding achievement and wish him every success at AFL level.