Season Countdown: Two weeks to go

The Allied Pickfords Cup is only two weeks away, and umpire David Grogan can’t wait for competitive footy to start.

It’s not just footballers who look forward to round one -the guys with the whistles can’t wait either.

Former rugby referee turned AFL umpire, David Grogan, is one of the officials eagerly anticipating the start of the 2013 season proper.

Grogan, an English teacher at Anglican Church Grammar School (Churchie), was originally from South Australia but after moving to Queensland he found himself thrust into the rugby-mad private school system.

He played first fifteen at Churchie as well as first-grade cricket.

In his teaching career, he got back into Aussie Rules, coaching at Brisbane Grammar, as well as Churchie.

Last year , after decades in rugby and cricket, Grogan returned to his first love – footy.

While the transition was tough, Grogan said his first year of umpiring was great fun.

“It was brilliant,” he said.

“It’s been a bit of a learning curve but there’s a great camaraderie between umpiring group and the coaches are really helpful.”

“The angles between AFL umpiring and rugby reffing are quite different.

“The fact that the players aren’t in two clear halves, they’re coming from all angles –that’s the big thing.”

One thing that was consistent through the sports was the player’s willingness to help the officials out.

“You get a little bit of free advice on the field, but after years of first grade cricket, that did not worry me in the slightest.”

As an umpire, Grogan said he was just as excited for the start of the season as he would be if he was a player.

“One of the main things I missed when I became a non-player was actually being out there and that competitive feeling you have when you’re on the other side of the fence,” Grogan said.

“While you’re not actually competing, you still have a sense of involvement in the fixture [as an umpire].”

The Allied Pickfords Cup kicks off on April 20.

For the full fixture, click here.

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