Whistleblowers making progress
It is a thankless job but with a fun, learning environment and strong support from the League, the North Coast Umpiring Group has been able to retain, and even build on its numbers from last season.
Early signs suggested there would be a slight decline at the start of the season, with the League possibly having to adopt club umpires for the first time in the Reserves, and possibly Under 18s competitions.
Among those to join the ranks is former Kangaroos' and Swans' star (and current Rep coach), Peter Chadwick. 'Chadders' has fit into the group like a glove and has already debuted in the Senior grade. Others to join the fold this year include Alex Pearson, Scott Stacey and Paul Suggitt.
This is in addition to the Maclean umpires joining the Junior group with Lower Clarence now part of the AFL North Coast Junior competition.
One of North Coast's former Junior umpires, Shana Doughney has recently debuted as a field umpire in the Riverina Senior Compeition.
This is fantastic news for one of our female umpires, according to her previous coach, Luke Turner.
"Shana moved down to the Riverina area to commence University studies and she has always been dedicated to AFL and has taken the next step in her umpiring aspirations," he said.
"She has a will to succeed and I am pleased she has had the opportunity to excel in the Riverina League."
Turner himself is excited by the prospect of travelling to Sydney to umpire a Division 1 match in a fortnight. The 21-year-old was invited by State Umpiring and Sydney Umpires Coach, Graham Glassford after being a part of the Talented Umpire Program in recent years.
As part of the trip, Turner will be a member of the Umpire Coaching box during the Swans-North Melbourne clash at the SCG.
For anyone interested in umpiring, they are encouraged to contact Rod Macpherson on 0435 906206 or firstname.lastname@example.org