The ‘Next Gen’ of Queensland Umpires

Up and coming umpires Chris Melin, Ryan Downes & Matthew Young

The AFL Queensland umpiring pathway includes an opportunity to be selected in the high performance Next Gen Field Umpire Development Squad program.

The Youth Development Squad is the first step in the Talented Umpire Pathway. Promising South East Queensland youth umpires are nominated by regional coaches to participate in the program and receive six additional training sessions, match observations and their own mentor. 

“The squad provides the support, motivation and education to assist umpires striving to progress to senior football,” said course administrator, State Umpire Development Officer Simon Devine.

The Senior Development Squad provides ongoing additional support in the initial years of umpiring for umpires looking to officiate at the highest level of senior football.

The AFL Queensland Next Gen Youth and Senior Development Squad officiate at the Kooga Under 16 QLD State Development Championships and also assist in delivering Club Umpire courses for junior leagues in South East Queensland

“The program has seen great results in helping talented umpires take that next step towards State League and AFL level umpiring,” said Devine.

“We have had six squad members listed on the NEAFL Northern Field Umpiring Panel since 2010 and 2011 participants Ryan Downes, Chris Melin and Matt Young are now umpiring in the NEAFL competition.

Squad members are guided by umpire coaches Nic Palmer and Troy Friend, whose holistic philosophy encompasses more than just umpiring ability.

“In the QLD Umpires Development squad we have used a sports psychologists approach to goal setting to keep each member on track throughout the season,” said Palmer.

“The process, performance, outcome goal approach breaks down a season long goal into manageable, daily tasks.

“The focus is on what each umpire can do in the 166 hours when they away from training – ultimately building successful habits that will serve them well as they progress through to senior football.

“Drills in training focus are on match simulation, driven by the umpires and continually evolving. By encouraging the dev squad member’s ownership of the drills, they are more enthusiastic, have more fun and are excited more to progress to higher ranks of footy.”

For more information on the Next Gen Field Umpire Development Squad contact Simon Devine on 3033 5433 or

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