By Beth Newman
For the second year in a row, Queensland’s community umpires and players are getting to know each other a bit better.
After a number of captains visited umpire training last year, the tables were turned this year, with umpires sent out to give a footy training session a go.
Umpire, James Tribes, who also has a footy background jumped at the chance to be involved in this year’s initiative, visiting Kenmore’s training session last week.
“I much prefer training with the footy and doing footy type stuff rather than just fitness,” he said.
“It was great. Just like every other footy club I’ve been a part of , they love their footy, love having a chat, having fun.”
Tribes said the session, gave him a chance to establish a dialogue with players, that would hopefully carry on into the season.
“I hope I get a couple of Kenmore games so that I can give them feedback and hopefully they’ll be able to come up and have a chat to me and have a beer after the game, “ he said.
“Most of them made big effort to come up and say hi, which was good.”
Kenmore captain, Jesse Dimasi was one of those who went to umpire training last year and said he appreciated the umpires returning the favour.
“On match day, they’ll rock up now and we’ll know who they are straight away, it’s not like they’re the enemy,” he said.
“It really makes us respect them more because they’re not just someone in orange on the weekend and they can appreciate what we’re doing.
“They’ve got a tough job.”
AFL Queensland Community Umpire Manager, Andrew Reeves, said initiatives like this were crucial in fostering positive relationships between players and umpires.
“Getting the umpires and players to meet each other makes them recognizable faces come match day,” he said.
“It’s really important that we encourage, and facilitate, chances for players and umpires to meet and start to build familiarity between the groups that carries on into the season.
As well as building that relationship, Reeves said experiencing full football training would help umpires understand the game better.
“Being a part of game sense drills and experiencing a team’s set plays, umpires can begin to better understand the best ways to position themselves in games.
Reeves said it was good for the umpires to make the trip to training this year.
“After getting the captains to make the effort last year, this year it was only fair for the umpires to do the same and I think the players will respect them more for it.”