Dave Boulton: Recognised by Sport NSW

Last week, Sport NSW announced their 2020 NSW Community Sports Awards finalists and Distinguished Long Service Award recipients.

AFL Sapphire Coast’s, Dave Boulton, has been awarded the prestigious ‘Distinguished Long Service Award’ for giving exceptional service to Australian Rules football.

Dave has been a staple of Australian Rules on the Sapphire Coast for over 35 years when he moved to the area from Victoria. Initially as a player with the Eden Whalers in the 1980’s, before he retired and moved into the umpiring ranks which is where he has left a significant legacy.

Not only has Dave umpired for over 30 years, but on numerous occasions has taken on the roles of Head Umpire Coach and President of the Sapphire Coast AFL Umpires Association. And even when he is not coaching, he is always the first person to put his hand up to offer assistance and support.

Known for his mentoring of younger umpires, Dave takes great pleasure out of seeing their development. In particular, he played an integral role in the development of Shannon Kirkby, a young female umpire who began umpiring in Eden but has since progressed to umpire VAFA matches as well as the Women’s Exhibition matches prior to the AFLW commencing.

The growth of umpiring in the Sapphire Coast region is testament to the supportive environment Dave provides.

In 2015, Dave was awarded Sapphire Coast AFL Life Membership due to his contribution and service to not only umpiring, but also the game, league and community.

At the conclusion of the 2019 season, AFL Sapphire Coast decided to recognise Dave’s achievements in the umpiring space by naming the annual Field Umpire of the Year award the ‘Dave Boulton’ Field Umpire of the Year Trophy to further acknowledge his significant contribution to the sport.

Dave is a selfless individual, and this was no more evident than earlier this year when he lost his home in the bushfires in the region whilst fighting fires elsewhere (Dave is also a Life Member of the RFS). The local community rallied around Dave (because of his standing within the community) to raise money for him to support him in this time but typical of Dave’s generosity, he donated most of this to other local community members also in need.


AFL NSW/ACT would like to congratulate all the finalists for the Sport NSW Community Sports Awards. Please click here to download the full list of award finalists and click here to download the list of Distinguished Long Service Award recipients.


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