The Whistle: Female Umpire Coaches

Pictured: Christine Burrow

There are some fantastic Female Umpire Coaches across our Community Football Leagues in NSW/ACT. Here are just some of our influential Female Coaches!

Janelle Biden: Hunter Central Coast

Whilst coaching a youth girls 17’s team some of the girls showed an interest in umpiring but were too scared to do it by themselves so I said I’d do it with them, that was in 2017.

By 2019 I was coaching the Hunter junior umpires, with the help of our NCCUA coaching staff and Emily Brown – Umpire Development Coordinator ACT & Regional NSW. 

When you watch an umpire, you’ve coached progress through from junior to senior umpiring, hitting milestones along the way, and watch them start to mentor the next lot of young kids who want to give umpiring a go, gives me a sense of worth and that’s why I love coaching.

Christine Burrow: Hunter Central Coast

I have been involved in umpiring since 1997 when I started umpiring junior games.

I became the Junior Umpire Coach in 1998 and held that position until 2008. In 2009 I became the Development Coach for Sydney AFL Umpires and in 2013 I was appointed Head Coach of the Black Diamond League when that League was dissolved, I was then appointed as the Head Umpire coach for the AFLHCC.

I’ve gained a lot of experience over the years and have met many other coaches through conferences, and I’ve achieved a High Performance Coach accreditation.

It’s been very rewarding being able to assist people to achieve their goals and progress through the pathways to higher levels. Tom Sullivan is an AFL listed Goal Umpire and Joey O’Brien is a VFL and AFLW listed Field Umpire. 

It’s working with all umpires in age and discipline and watching them gain in confidence and ability that it most rewarding.

Olivia Smith: AFL Sydney

I have been a part of the vastly growing umpiring community for 6 years now. In 2018 I wanted to play AFL just like my brother but unfortunately in my area there were no girls’ teams for my age group. So, as I spent the whole season pulling a group of girls together through pop up stands at my local Supermarket, I jumped into umpiring to get involved in the AFL Community.

I was the First Female Umpire for the newly growing Junior Club Balgowlah Suns and the only female umpire at my Local Training group. As the years went on, I progressed in my Umpiring ability and began umpiring older age groups. My brother then became interested in my umpiring journey and came along for the ride. We became known as the brother sister Duo of the Northern Beaches and loved umpiring together.

My love for Umpiring grew stronger each round. In 2021 I got offered an Assistant coaching role for the North Shore training group. I was beyond excited to be offered such a big role at the age of 17. I took this role as an opportunity to bring more females into AFL and show them the pathway of umpiring. Then in late 2022 I was given the Head Coach position, I knew this was my time to make a difference in Umpiring.

I will forever dedicate my time to Umpiring as it brings me a great sense of Joy to help others find their potential and I can’t wait to see were this Female Coaching Journey takes me!