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Umpire crisis

Saturday, 14th April, 2018

Robert Hickey umpired last season but has since accepted the role of senior coach for North. PICTURE: Tyler Hannigan Robert Hickey umpired last season but has since accepted the role of senior coach for North. PICTURE: Tyler Hannigan

By Tyler Hannigan

Umpires past and present along with club umpires from last season are being encouraged to come along this Monday night to discuss the shortage facing AFL Broken Hill for season 2018.

Normal umpire training will take place at 5pm at the Jubilee Oval followed by what AFL Broken Hill Umpires Coordinator Shane Chapman labelled as a ‘crisis meeting’ straight after at 6pm.

“We need everyone who is interested in umpiring to come down and discuss the upcoming season,” Chapman said.

“There is a big possibility that we’ll need to have club-supplied umpires for all grades, up to and including League, considering the numbers we currently have.

“So any interested umpires - or those that have done it in the past - that can come down would be great. Even if you can just make it to the meeting at 6pm.”

Umpiring numbers have been dwindling over the past few seasons which has led to clubs supplying umpires for the juniors and women’s grades but that could increase to seniors in 2018 if numbers don’t improve.

Robert Hickey was a great addition to the umpiring ranks in 2017 but he has now moved back to coaching, taking up the senior role for North.

The league was in the same situation at the beginning of last season and Chapman said at the time that injuries were the main cause although abuse from the crowd doesn’t help.

“You do need a bit of a thick skin but abuse is not something that usually stops people from umpiring,” he told the BDT in 2017.

“I’ve always thought that most people when they pay their money to come to the football, they want to be umpires,” he added.

“They yell ‘ball’, they yell ‘man’ and things like that and that’s great. It’s part of the game and we never want to see that disappear. We don’t want to have games played in silence and football needs that passion.

“But there is a line and certain things that shouldn’t be yelled out.

“Don’t leave your morals in the car and don’t say anything that you wouldn’t say at home or at your workplace.”

Anyone wishing to become an AFL umpire or who would like more information, contact Shane Chapman on 0427 877 674.

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