From September 25th-29th I had the absolute pleasure of attending and umpiring the 2016 Female Diversity Championships in Shepparton, Victoria with fellow Gold Coast umpire Georgia Brehmer.
The Championships offered girls from across the country with a range of cultural backgrounds the opportunity to represent their state. Each state also provided one or two umpires generally from the Umpiring Diversity Program.
As first year umpires, Georgia and I weren’t sure what to expect but were greeted with open arms by the two umpire coaches at the tournament. The entire umpiring team quickly formed strong friendships which made for a high standard of umpiring throughout the tournament.
Experience within the team largely varied and umpires were often required to officiate outside of their field of expertise. However, as a credit to all umpires and coaches, everyone was encouraging and offered guidance and support. If umpires were not involved in ongoing matches, they were supporting their team mates from the sideline and the feeling of camaraderie amongst the group was incredible.
After umpiring 16 matches across three days, both Georgia and I were extremely fortunate to be selected to umpire the All Nations final on the final day as boundary and field umpire respectively.
The immense confidence we’d gained over the course of the tournament enabled us to call an outstanding match between two very deserving and passionate teams. I’m so proud of the growth and sportsmanship I witnessed throughout the tournament between all players and officials involved.
I feel incredibly privileged to have represented Queensland umpiring for the Female Diversity Championships, especially as a first-year umpire. I have come away from the Championships with amazing umpiring experience and a huge amount of confidence that I’m extremely excited to bring to my matches next season. I would like to extend a huge thank you to all coaches and organisers involved in making this trip such a fantastic experience.
- Both Gemma and Georgia are graduates of the Gold Coast Female Umpiring Program. Both are in their first year as umpires and offciiated in the 2016 all girls under 15 AFLQ Gold Coast Juniors Grand Final.
- In season 2017 the AFLQ Umpiring department will be running Female Umpiring Programs. In the meantime if anyone is interested in umpiring can contact Nicholas.Liparota@afl.com.au