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Call for more AFL umpires

Tuesday, 3rd March, 2015

Craig Burke hoists the Sherrin high in the air at the umpire’s first training session on Thursday. PICTURE: Patrick Reincke Craig Burke hoists the Sherrin high in the air at the umpire’s first training session on Thursday. PICTURE: Patrick Reincke

By Patrick Reincke

As the 2015 football season approaches, the league is once again in need of umpires.

The first umpire training kicked off at Jubilee Oval on Thursday night as the Lightning Cup looms four weeks away.

At the current moment, there are a low number of umpires and umpiring coordinator Shane Chapman is no stranger to recruiting.

“Every year we need umpires,” he said.

Umpiring offers opportunities for all ages and fitness levels. 

There are numerous positions needing to be filled including junior boys and girls to run boundaries on Wednesday nights and Saturday mornings. 

“As long as they can throw the ball in, they can earn a bit of pocket money.”

Teenagers can develop great fitness through boundary umpiring and may eventually progress to field umpiring junior matches with a mentor.

The financial incentive to those interested in umpiring ranges from $20 to $100, with the A-grade umpires paid the most.

Umpiring nationally is attracting new people to the sport who may not have the desire to play, but love the game.

“If you can show enough talent and skill, you can start here and there’s no reason why you couldn’t end up in the AFL.”  

This year former players Peter Bongetti and David Hunt will be back umpiring Junior football as well.

Female umpires are also welcome to join with Stacey Toohey continuing to do just that.  

Toohey will be entering her third year as a field umpire and could be on track to umpiring her first A-grade game this season.

At Jubilee Oval, there is now a dedicated female change room which is the first of its kind in Broken Hill.

The two remaining grounds do not currently have female change rooms but the hope is to have all ovals installing female change rooms in the future. 

There is also a need for goal umpires for Wednesday night or Saturday junior matches and former umpires to volunteer their time to observe and provide feedback to the umpire and umpires’ coach. 

Goal umpiring provides a bird’s eye view of the game and everyone is capable of doing it.

Goal umpiring is a great option if the body is not what it used to be, with concentration the major skill needed.

The local umpires will again be sponsored by Cristal Mining this season as part of a three-year sponsorship package that began last year.

The funds help AFL Broken Hill to entice new umpires, and to provide educational opportunities.

There are currently great pathways to take your umpiring career to the next level with the professionalism of umpire coaching, assessment and feedback continually improving.

Training commences every Monday and Thursday at 6pm at The Jube and anyone is welcome to try out.

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