By Ant Wingard
The Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Division 1 Grand Final will this year feature a splash of Queensland flare.
Queensland umpiring duo, Ashlon Gardner and Tim Sommerville, have been announced as field umpires for the showdown between Banks Bulldogs and Waratah Warriors at TIO Stadium on Wednesday, March 21.
The pair were chosen after a successful season of NTFL umpiring over the summer and have already officiated two of the four finals matched already.
Both Gardner and Sommerville regularly officiated across the QAFL having developed within the Queensland Academy program across the past three seasons under the guidance of head coach Aaron Hall.
Queensland State Umpiring Manager, James Waldorff, was pleased the duo’s hard work has paid off.
“It’s fantastic to see the application shown by the graduated Queensland State Umpiring Academy pair in the NT over the summer.” Waldorff said.
“Since relocating for the wet season from October to March, both have put their best foot forward officiating mostly Premier Division for the season.”
“With a solid NT season under their belts they will be able to hit the ground running in the upcoming NEAFL season. They will be in an idealistic position in the early matches.”
The NTFL Umpires Association were tasked with selecting officiators for the eight Grand Final matches being played across the day from a pool of 256 registered umpires.
Following their Grand Final appearances in the Top End, Gardner will remain in the Northern Territory following a work promotion, however has been selected to the NEAFL Umpiring Panel as a rookie.
Sommerville will return to Queensland following the game, focusing on the upcoming QAFL season after officiating the first two weeks of reserve finals in 2017.
Jamieson Galibrath, who has been chosen to umpire the NTFL Premier League Grand Final between Darwin Buffaloes and Southern Districts, has also been selected to the NEAFL Umpiring Panel for season 2018.
The NTFL Grand Final was initially schedueled for March 17, however was postponsed in the wake of Cyclone Marcus.