Matthew Baigent to debut on NEAFL’s big stage

Credit: Keith McInnes/NEAFL


The 2019 NEAFL Grand Final Umpiring Panel will include AFL NSW/ACT Facilities Coordinator and Sydney based umpire Matthew Baigent who is set to make his debut on the big stage this Sunday on the Gold Coast.

Baigent will umpire his first Grand Final at second-tier level after first joining the NEAFL list in 2012, progressing from AFL Sydney after running the 2011 Premier Division Grand Final between the East Coast Eagles and Balmain.

Baigent went on to umpire the 2012 and 2015 AFL Sydney Premier Division Grand Finals, before making his NEAFL Finals debut in 2018, when he was appointed as the emergency for the 2018 NEAFL Grand Final between Southport and the Sydney Swans.

In the same year, he also became one of the NSW-based AFL rookie field umpires, regularly sitting on the bench at Swans’ and GIANTS’ matches.

His umpiring CV improved again this season by running his 100th NEAFL game in Round 6 and after terrific performances in both the Elimination and Preliminary Finals, he stated his claim for this year’s decider.

Baigent said that he was delighted with the honour of officiating at the NEAFL Grand Final at Fankhauser Reserve.

“I’m very excited to be involved in the finale of the 2019 NEAFL season and just like the players, it’s the culmination of lots of hard work over a number of years to reach this stage.”

Baigent will be joined by Canberra umpire Nic McGinness, who has officiated three NEAFL Grand Finals in 2016, 2017 and 2018, as well as the 2019 AFLW Grand Final.

Rounding out the field umpiring group is Andrew Adair from Queensland, who was named the QLD/NT Umpire of the Year at the 2019 NEAFL MVP Awards alongside McGinness (NSW/ACT) and will be umpiring his third NEAFL Grand Final.

The boundary will be officiated by Ty Duncan, Ben Fely, Joseph Spiteri and David Wood, with Jesse Baird and Dale Puren selected as goal umpires.

Duncan, Wood, Baird and Puren were all named 2019 NEAFL Umpires of the Year in their respective fields.

State Umpiring Manager for NSW/ACT, Pierce Field congratulated the panel on their achievement.

“Matt’s appointment to his first NEAFL Grand Final is a result of almost a decade’s worth of hard work and dedication.

To have such a strong NSW/ACT representation for the 2019 decider just shows if you are willing to put the work in, there are opportunities for you no matter where you are across our state and territory.

From Glen Innes to Wagga Wagga and from Broken Hill to Bondi, there are passionate coaches wanting to help our people achieve their goals. As an organisation, we couldn’t be prouder of Matt, Nic, David, Ben and Dale.”

The 2019 NEAFL Grand Final will be held at Fankhauser Reserve this Sunday between Brisbane Lions and Southport Sharks at 1 pm.

2019 NEAFL Grand Final Umpiring Panel

Field: Andrew Adair (1) (QLD), Matthew Baigent (2) (NSW/ACT), Nic McGinness (7) (NSW/ACT)
Boundary: Ty Duncan (QLD), Ben Fely (NSW/ACT), Joseph Spiteri (QLD), David Wood (NSW/ACT)
Goal: Jesse Baird (QLD), Dale Puren (NSW/ACT)

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