The South Metro Junior Football League (SMJFL) continues to be a leading pathway for the development of umpires in junior football.
Through the Monarch SMJFL Umpire Academy, the league is fostering the next generation of men and women in green in record numbers. There are currently 634 registered umpires officiating across the SMJFL, already surpassing the 620 that were registered at the end of the 2018 season.
The results of the umpiring experience that the SMJFL provides are now starting to filter through heavily into higher honours. Former SMJFL umpire Peter Bailes is now an AFL Rookie umpire, while Cameron Watts, Luke Porter, Matthew Crowley, and Tayla Manning have joined Bailes in the VFL umpire ranks.
Monarch SMJFL Umpire Academy Manager Cameron Watts said it was fantastic to see so many people of all ages taking up umpiring.
“There’s been some negative media coverage around umpires recently – particularly at AFL level – but we can’t forget the positives that come from doing this job,” he said.
“You get to be involved in the game and get paid, it’s a great way to stay fit and active, you learn a lot about working in teams and there are opportunities to extend beyond officiating junior football.
“We’ve already bettered our total number of umpires from last year and there are regularly 150 umpires or more at training during the week, which shows the appetite our group has to improve and become the best officials they can be.”
Community Umpire Round on Sunday 5 May is a chance to recognise the vital role umpires play and thank them for their continued efforts on the field. Monarch Painting also continues to be a great supporter of the league’s 26th team.
SMJFL Umpires involved in pathway programs:
AFL Rookie – Peter Bailes
Senior VFL Squad – Peter Bailes, Cameron Watts, Luke Porter, Matthew Crowley, Tayla Manning
Senior VFL Development Squad – Matthew Mahoney
VFL Development Squad – Nathan Guy, Darcy Trewarn, Jackson Gillespie, Hamish Mccartney, Joel Davis, Lachlan Menara, Patrick Aurish
VFL Rookie Squad – Nick Bergman, and Ryan Mann,
Mates Program – Alanah French
Former SMJFL AFL Umpires: Simon Meredith, Chris Donlon