In AFL, no turf comes as hallowed as the MCG on Grand Final day.
In 2012, no matter which two teams make it to that one day in September, 100,000 screaming fans will pack the stands and Mackay umpire Alex Finney will be there to witness it all.
Finney, 14, will be one of the seven junior umpires from around the country who will umpire grid matches as a curtain raiser to the 2012 AFL Grand Final.
He will also take part in the traditional grand final parade through the streets of Melbourne on the Friday before the big game.
“We got an e-mail about it and we thought it was Lance (Jarrett, Mackay umpire manager) joking,” Finney said.
While Finney won’t see his favourite team Carlton in action on the day, he hopes it will be a Geelong versus Collingwood affair.
“All my mates are jealous,’ he said.
Alex played junior AFL but switched to umpiring two years ago after taking up an invitation from his coach to have a go.
Since then, he’s been in charge of under 9 and 11 matches and has been a goal umpire for senior games as well.
Alex’s progress has been marked by his ability to make decisions and stick by them, a key attribute in any great umpire.
“One day it was windy, the ball swung in and then got blown out from the posts,” he said.
“I called it in, even though the boundary umpire said it was out.”
Alex will have another jealous onlooker on Grand Final day as well, his sister Jessica.
Jessica also umpires under 9 AFL and the pair are working on getting triplet sister Claudia to join them.
And Alex’s umpiring aspirations rival that of any player.
“I’d like to go as far as I can with it,” he said.
Alex’s dad, a former rugby league referee will accompany him to Melbourne for the Grand Final.