It’s been a big couple of weeks for the AFL Queensland Umpires as they, like the players, prepare for a big 2016.
It all started on February 20, when the Queensland Umpiring Academy held their annual conference.
Aspley NEAFL coach, John Blair, presented on umpire/coach relationships, AFL Queensland Community Football Manager, Jack Barry, spoke about club culture, and Academy Field Head Coach, Aaron Hall, outlined the focus and expectations for the year.
A week later, the top Queensland NEAFL umpires in the state set off on a grueling three-day training camp.
Eight field, eight boundary, and four goal umpires all headed north to Maroochydore to be put through their paces, aimed at building fitness and team camaraderie.
Upon arrival on Friday night, the 20 umpires discussed club culture, and what they stand for.
Saturday is when the heart rate spiked. They spent a full day doing fitness work in the water and on the beach.
Sunday was home day, but before they could catch a few z’s on the way home, they had to conquer a series of hill runs in the morning.
They also took the opportunity to develop a leadership group, similar to that of a football club.
AFL Queensland State Umpire Manager, Mark Turner, was thrilled with the success of the camp.
“After not being able to run the camp for a few years now, it was fantastic to have it back on the calendar,” Turner said.
“The team was pretty tired by the end of it, but they loved every minute, and I’m sure they will be all the better for the fitness work,” Turner said.
Once all that was completed, preparations were finalised, and it was time to get the whistle back in hand.
By Andrew Wiles