Broken Hill’s Shane Chapman to Umpire his 400th Seniors Game

Broken Hill’s umpire, Shane Chapman approaches a major milestone coming into the 5th round of the Broken Hill League.

Shane will celebrate his 400th senior match this weekend, at the Miners Cups in Adelaide, as representative sides from Broken Hill and Far North take on each other in a curtain raiser for the Port Adelaide and Brisbane Lions game at Adelaide Oval.

This will be the 9th year the match is to be played. Previous years have been a highlight for Chapman, “a stand out moment for me was umpiring at Adelaide Oval and now my 400th will be there too. What a way to celebrate! it’s a real rarity to play curtain raisers.”

Another career highlight for Chapman was umpiring alongside his sons.

“A special moment in my career was the day I umpired a senior game with my two sons, Clayton and Brock as the boundary umpires”.

Chapman born and breed in Broken Hill, has been umpiring for 30 years, starting his career as a junior boundary umpire. Keen to maintain his fitness, Chapman got involved through some friends who were all participating in Barrow Pusher Races “a couple of them were boundary umpires on Saturdays, they suggested I come down on the weekend and have a run and the rest is history.”

Chapman worked his way through the ranks of junior football eventually field umpiring before moving to senior boundary umpiring and then back up to field umpiring.

Although he will reach the landmark of 400 senior games this weekend, Chapman might have actually officiated closer to 1000 games in the league all up.

AFL Broken Hill’s Chairman Peter Nash explains “Chapman most weekends will umpire juniors or ladies games in the morning and then seniors at 2:30pm and has only missed one weekend of footy in 5 years.”

Due to Broken Hill’s unique competition in that the city has only four clubs that play each other six times, Chapman has got to know the players and clubs very well.

Peter Nash believes it takes a certain person to be able to keep such a good repour with such a tight-knit league.

“He’s got all the people skills and the man management skills that you need to be a good umpire.”

Nash continues “it’s very easy to play football for a very long time and get all the accolades at a club level but when you do it at umpiring there’s not too many pats on the back, It’s usually criticism. Shane has been someone who has been able to deal with those aspects of umpiring and still been able to walk into any footy club and have a conversation with people after the game.”

Chapman also holds the dual role as Umpire Coach and Appointments.

“Broken Hill is very much indebted to his service to the league”, Peter Nash says.

Chapman perceives Broken Hill to be very fortunate to have league supplied umpires.

“We are lucky in Broken Hill, we don’t really rely on clubs to provide umpires, so all our grades are supplied umpires by our core group. We are a another team as such – we get the job done.  As a league we don’t realise how lucky we are to have a committed group to get all the games done every week”.

As for the future Chapman is hopeful he can reach 500 games.

“I don’t think there will be a 500th, but I hope I can make it”.

Peter Nash begs to differ, “Going on the age of some of our existing umpires in Broken Hill reaching 500 games is still a real possibility”.

He will have a lasting impact on the Broken Hill League as Nash states “He’s training the next breed of umpires that are coming through”.

AFL Broken Hill will hold a special presentation for Chapman after the big game, where he will be presented the match ball from the Miners Cup Game.

The game is on Sunday May 8 at 1pm, Adelaide Oval

Shane Chapman

Shane Chapman. Photo credits: Helen Grossi, Still Memories Photography