By Justin Lillecrapp
Cameron Manthey made his NEAFL Umpiring debut on Saturday. Manthey umpired the 2017 Grand Final rematch between the Brisbane Lions and Sydney Swans at Burpengary in which the Lions won comfortably.
Manthey began his umpiring journey in 2011 at Redlands (his local junior club), umpiring junior club football before transitioning to Brisbane Juniors. Manthey spent several years umpiring junior football across Brisbane under the guidance of Lachlan Chambers and James Price whom were big influencers on his umpiring pathway.
At the end of the 2016 season, an exciting opportunity was presented for Manthey to trial for the elite state umpiring academy. From here opportunities have consistently presented through hard work and consistent improvement. A QAFL Seniors debut in the blockbuster Anzac Eve clash between Wilston Grange and Sandgate in which Manthey performed admirably well in what was his first Senior game at any level was a sign of things to come.
The state umpiring academy is becoming a crucial stepping stone to NEAFL footy with recently promoted AFL rookie umpire Andrew Adair and current NEAFL umpire Cameron Valenti coming through the program in recent years.
Manthey credits the program for providing him with opportunities to rise the umpiring ranks.
“(The academy) gave me the springboard I needed to get identified as a young and upcoming umpire.” he said.
“It gave me the chance to really showcase my abilities and what I have been taught over my years of umpiring.”
Manthey was selected to umpire in the U18 Women’s National carnival on the Gold Coast in July 2017 propelling his development as an umpire.
“That experience was I have to say once in a lifetime, a chance to get coaching from the top level and run with people you have never run with before from different states, different styles of umpiring and you make friends out of it too.” he said.
“You get feedback from Adam Davis (National Talent and Development Manager), AFL level coaches and the feedback you get is really helpful for developing yourself as an umpire which was awesome.”
Manthey’s 2017 season concluded with umpiring the QAFL Reserves preliminary final capping off a consistently strong first season of senior football. At the end of season umpire awards night, Manthey received the Martin Hopp award for Academy Umpire of the Year.
After years of hard work and dedication and a monster pre-season smashing personal bests on the track, Manthey was selected on the 2018 NEAFL panel.
After umpiring NEAFL practice matches in the pre-season, Manthey was rapt to umpire his first NEAFL game and from all reports officiated well in the debut game.
2018 is set to be another year of firsts for Cam as he looks onward and upward.