Round Five across the AFL Sunshine Coast Junior Competition and all leagues nationally, was officially recognised as umpire appreciation weekend by the AFL.
With the launch of the Umpiring is Everyone’s Business campaign a few years back the umpiring round initiative is now regular in all AFL competition fixtures and demonstrates the commitment to recognising and appreciating our match day officials.
Local umpire Sheldon Judd was a part of umpire appreciation initiatives on the weekend and was humbled by the respect shown by the two clubs involved in the day.
“The past weekend of footy was all about our umpires being recognised for the work they put in and as an umpire I was very pleased with the appreciation shown by the Kawana Park Eagles and Caloundra Panthers Junior Football Clubs,” Judd said.
At other venues across the Sunshine Coast in round 5, clubs and players went to great length to thank the Ump, through lining up pre game, thanking the Umpire and shaking hands. Well done.
Before the Kawana Park verse Caloundra Under 16s game both clubs including the Under 14s who had just finished playing gathered with umpires, Sheldon Judd and Shane Kuzniak, to show their appreciation with handshakes, a speech and group photo.
“It was really great to see both clubs make an effort and it was awesome that they both got into the spirit of the weekend,” Judd said.
“I always used to think when I was playing that umpiring was an easy job, now into my fourth year of umpiring, I understand that it is a tough job and you can only know what they experience and what they go through until you have done the job yourself.
When Judd was asked the question to provide insight for this article he gladly took up the challenge and one of the first things he noted was the following:
“Sure at times they make us angry but at the end of the day AFL umpires are all human and if it was not for them showing up to every game, every weekend and sometimes weekday, the game that we love would not be possible,” Judd said.
In the light of that being a reality it is important to remember the challenges that face our umpires and appreciate their commitment to making AFL enjoyable for players, coaches, other officials and spectators alike.
Sunshine Coast Club Development Officer, Paul Tresise believes that having a dedicated round to umpire appreciation is potentially one of the best things for combating umpire stereotypes and improving all round education.
“Umpire Appreciation Round will always be a success as we all appreciate, recognise and respect the efforts that they put in to every footy season here and around the nation,” Tresise said.
“Here on the Sunshine Coast our youth umpire development has sky rocketed with names like Nathan Gibson, Adam Randall, Lewis Scott and Justin Lillecrapp all really stepping up and striving towards bigger AFL umpiring careers.”
With encouraging youth umpire numbers it is a real positive that the Sunshine Coast has been able to contribute to the state umpiring talent pool.
This coming weekend will see Sunshine Coast product Aaron Deckys chalk up 200 AFL matches as a Boundary Umpire, whilst young Central Umpire Brett Kronk has also been recognised on the AFL umpiring list as a rookie having done a few NAB Cup games this year.
Brett is a past Sunshine Coast Junior umpire (2002), so a clear and achievable pathway exists for aspiring Sunshine Coast Umpires to reach the top.
Having depth in the AFL Sunshine Coast umpiring syndicate allows greater opportunity to further develop younger umpires with mentors and provide AFL players with solid umpires to adjudicate games with confidence.
Umpiring is Everyone’s Business and with the assistance and hard work of Rohan Briggs, Tony Boyanton and Dennis Gollop among others on the Sunshine Coast over the last couple of years umpiring development and appreciation will continue to flourish.
Thank you to all players and officials across the weekend who wore green arm bands to recognise the significance of umpire appreciation round.