Talented umpires ready to grasp opportunities

By Josh Dunstall

VFL practice matches

Over the past two weeks, five of the best field umpires and four of the best boundary umpires from Canberra and Sydney’s umpiring community were provided opportunities to showcase their umpiring skills on a bigger stage.

This comes as the AFL announced two VFL practice matches in Sydney ahead of the 2024 VFL season, which is set to begin on Friday, 22 March.

These matches involved the Sydney Swans, Giants and Brisbane Lions VFL teams, with opportunities for numerous players within those squads but also for the ‘next wave’ of umpires in NSW and the ACT.

Bradley Stewart, Aaron Parker, and Jordan Lee (SYD), in addition to James Forwood and Flynn Kelly (CBR) (all pictured above) were the five field umpires identified through the NSW/ACT umpiring talent setup to officiate these games, with two fully listed VFL umpiring spots on the line.

These five were joined by Nathan Wrigley, Ashton Hanna, Liam Ramsay and Tim Goulden (SYD) on the boundary, providing opportunities for these men to display their talents.

Meanwhile, opportunities in the VFL practice matches have been given to Emma Loaney (CBR) and Aengus Taylor (SYD) between the posts, as they showcase their flag-waving ability.

For those umpires who aren’t on the receiving end of a fully listed VFL spot, talent opportunities will still be on the horizon in 2024 through the VFLW competition and the Coates Talent League matches.

2024 AFL NSW/ACT Summer Series and Pre-Season Invitational

For the group of umpires in the next echelon of the umpiring pathway, AFL Canberra and AFL Sydney have combined to created the Summer Series matches, which begin this weekend.

The following weekend will see the beginning of the 2024 Pre-season Invitational tournament, which will see premier clubs from AFL Canberra and AFL Sydney compete, with the winning club receiving $6,000.

Umpires from Canberra, Sydney and around the state and territory will be afforded opportunities in these two pre-season talent competitions as they look to progress their umpiring careers forward and hopefully one-day get a shot at getting on a VFL umpiring list.