Relative success for NEAFL umps

Super umpiring brothers Nick and Zac Mabb will link up this Saturday for their first game together at NEAFL level.

The Mabb brothers will officiate the Lions v Giants NEAFL clash on Saturday with 21 year-old Nick as a boundary umpire and 18 year-old brother Zac as a goal umpire.

“I’m looking forward to it. It will be fun to get to umpire together and it should be a good day,” Nick said.

It is Nick’s 50th game which makes the occasion even more special, with Zac also making his return to NEAFL level this year after breaking his hip last season.

The brothers have umpired together at QAFL Seniors level and Zac believes this experience will serve them well on Saturday.

“There was pretty good communication between us (in the QAFL) so it was a very comfortable game,” said Zac.

“It makes it slightly easier”.

The boys admit they are sometimes prone to some old fashioned sibling rivalry, but Zac insists it’s all in good fun.

“It can get a bit heated if both of us are making different calls at the same time but the majority of the time we’re in sync,” Zac said.

With umpiring blood seemingly running in the family, it wasn’t surprising to hear where the Mabb brothers got their inspiration from.

“Our granddad used to be an umpire as well,” Nick said.

“He got us involved and showed us the ropes to get us started.”

Both boys played junior footy for Wilston Grange growing up before deciding to pursue umpiring.

Being the older brother, Nick was able to progress as an umpire earlier and worked his way up.

“I started doing Under 18s on the boundary then in 2012 when the NEAFL started I debuted and had a year there.

“I also did the Under 16 national carnival a couple of years ago and worked my way up there.

“It’s interesting sometimes with people from other States to see how they go about things.

“They have different ideas on how they go about umpiring the game and it was interesting to see their points of view and different attitudes.”

Zac followed in his older brother’s footsteps, however decided to pursue goal umpiring rather than boundary umpiring.

“Granddad was helping me quite a lot, improving my skills and technique through the first few years before I made a few tweaks of my own to my style,” said Zac.

“Michael O’Donnell and Michael Roach have also helped me move through the ranks to get up to the QAFL Seniors and NEAFL this year”.

“The best part would probably be making new friends within the association, you get to know a lot of players as well and how they play which is a big part of it and just the enjoyment of being out on the ground,” Zac admitted.

Both Nick and Zac have aspirations of becoming AFL umpires and will be continue working on their fitness and decision-making skills to give themselves the best shot.

By Josh Cheadle

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