Kimberley Boyce will be the first woman to umpire a division one seniors grand final tomorrow.
Kimberley Boyce has impressed onlookers this season on her way to becoming the first female field umpire to officiate Division One seniors grand final.
Boyce, organically from Victoria, embarked on an interstate trip a year ago to improve her umpiring, with stints in the Northern Territory and then coming to Queensland for the SEQAFL season.
Tomorrow will be a perfect ending for Boyce, who is going back to Victoria next week, who said she was eagerly anticipating the opportunity.
“My trip was always going to be a year long, so getting the Division one seniors grand final is a fairy tale ending,” she said.
Boyce umpired a women’s grand final in the Northern Territory, but this is her first men’s grand final.
Originally becoming an umpire as a way to keep fit in her athletics off-season, the 400m hurdler, said she started taking it a lot more seriously when she went from boundary to field umpiring.
“It was just an off-season thing for athletics but at the moment everything’s been umpiring,” she said.
Boyce said she had plenty of good feedback from clubs throughout the year and found it didn’t take long to gain respect from the players.
“ You do get the odd smart remark for being a female so it’s a little bit to overcome, but once you’ve umpired a team once or twice, they learn that I’m quite a strong female,” she said.
“I’ve just got to stand my ground and show I have authority.
“It’s all just pretty much about getting respect and then respecting them back in the way that I want to be respected.”
Players aren’t the only ones who have to step up to finals footy, with faster, more intense contests putting the pressure on officiators too, but Boyce said she was just focused on making sure she was in the best spot all the time.
“The games speed up and you’ve got work on fitness and getting in the right position,” she said.
“I just want to go out there and prove to myself that I deserve to be out there and run the best that I can.”
Boyce joins two other umpires who will be running their first division one grand final in the match at Coorparoo tomorrow.
The competition’s umpire of the year, Brendan Hunter, and former NSW umpire, Pierce Field, will be the other two field umpires on the day.
Field, who has previously umpired TAC Cup games in Sydney, including Greater Western Sydney’s first official match, returned to umpiring this season after some time out, and said he was excited to be appointed to the grand final.
“I was very surprised.
“It’s going to be a really hard, physical game in very quick, hot conditions and I’m looking forward to a really, really good contest.”
Nothing will change in Field’s preparation this weekend, with the 24 year-old taking in a traditional pre-game latte and making sure he gets a good night’s sleep tonight.
Field has focused on improving his fitness this season, something that has held him in good stead, AFL Queensland Community Umpire Manager, Andrew Reeves, said.
“Pierce has worked hard on his fitness all year and it has dramatically improved,” Reeves said.
“He gets himself in the right position to be able to pay the correct decision, which is the reason he’s made it this year.”
Reeves said it was great to see Boyce making history in the grand final tomorrow, after a strong umpiring season.
“It is fantastic to have a female umpire umpiring a division one grand final,” he said.
“Kim’s improved consistently through the year and remains very composed on field and manages volatile situations that arise quite well.
“I have no doubt her umpiring will hold her in good stead at even higher levels.”
Full Umpire appointments for Division one GF:
Allied Pickfords Cup Grand Final
Field Umpires: Brendan Hunter, Pierce Field, Kimberley Boyce
Boundary Umpires: Beau Leach, Tim Somerville, Jackson Leach
Goal Umpires: Jayne McManus, Mark Newman
Third Scorer: Madeline Briggs
Emergency: Ashley Dunstan
SEQAFL Division One Reserves:
Field Umpires: Lewis Scott, Benjamin Thompson
Boundary Umpires: Trent Collett, Adam Dance
Goal Umpires: Daniel Smith, Dominic Fay
Emergency: James Tribe
SEQAFL Division One Colts:
Field Umpires: Jake Craig, Kevin Wilson
Boundary Umpires: Kyle Hoysted, Beau Traill
Goal Umpires: Bill Whitehead, David Manson
Emergency: Jayden Henderson