Queensland Umps make AFLW debut

Following a successful outing for the Brisbane Lions in round one of the AFLW, it is now time for more Queensland talent to leave an impression on the competition.

Four Queensland umpires will pull on their boots for the first time at AFLW level, with even more expected to make their debut next week for the Lions’ first home game.

22-year-old field umpire Sam Sommerville has been selected to officiate the Carlton v GWS game, with the ex-Brisbane Juniors umpire overseeing plenty of action in the QAFL last year.

Joining him will be Courtney Gibson, who will act as the emergency umpire for the game.

19-year-old Gibson has been a pioneer in Queensland umpiring, making the transition from boundary umpiring to become one of the up-and-coming field umpires in Queensland.

The daughter of an ex-AFL umpire, umpiring blood runs in Gibson’s veins, and she hopes to one day replicate the success of her father at the game’s highest level.

Her hard work and dedication saw her take out the prestigious AFL Queensland Umpiring Golden Whistle Award in 2016, certifying her rapid rise to AFLW level.

“It’s very exciting as this is an AFL Competition and a great opportunity for developing umpires to succeed,” Gibson said.

“We are expecting it to be a great atmosphere with a big crowds and a lot of hype, I’m really looking forward to it.”

In the same game, Gibson and Sommerville will be joined by Queensland boundary umpires Alex Donoghue and Nicholas Mabb.

The duo has been running the boundary for a number of years at both NEAFL and QAFL level, priming them for their AFLW debut.

Community Umpire Development Manager Nicholas Liparota believes these appointments are a sign of the growing talent in Queensland’s umpiring ranks.

“For these four umpires it shows that the umpiring pathway is constantly developing and delivering umpiring talent which will one day see more AFL umpires come from Queensland,” Liparota said.

“We hope that the success of these AFL Queensland umpires will result in further recruitment of potential AFL umpires.”

If you are interested in umpiring, please contact Nicholas Liparota on 0423 459 950 or at Nicholas.Liparota@afl.com.au.

By Josh Cheadle

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