St Peters JFC player and SMJFL Umpire Ethan Rundle has been recognised as the Monash University Leader of the Month.
Ethan, 15, was nominated by the St Peters JFC committee for his commitment to football as a player, SMJFL Umpire, and volunteer with the club’s Auskick program.
Ethan said his deep passion for football started at a young age.
“As soon as I could get into it, I got into it,” he said.
Ethan first started as an Auskicker before making the move to the SMJFL.
“When I was a little kid, that was the first taste of footy I had other than kick-to-kick with dad in the front yard. I always looked forward to going down to Auskick on Saturday mornings.”
Ethan has now played three seasons of footy with St Peters, and quickly took up the opportunity to become an SMJFL Umpire.
“I also wanted to get a job as fast as I could as well. Being an umpire was the first paid job that I could do, and I really enjoyed it because I already had a great knowledge of the game because I’ve played footy for so long.”
Ethan said umpiring isn’t without its difficulties, but it’s certainly a rewarding experience.
“Umpiring isn’t always the easiest thing to do. You have to make tough decisions and not everyone is going to see those decisions the same way. When someone tells you they think you did a good job, its very reassuring.”
Ethan took his commitment to the club one step further in 2019 by returning to his roots as a volunteer for St Peters JFC’s Auskick program to qualify for his Duke of Edinburgh certificate.
“I always found [Auskick] the most amazing thing when I was really young, so I just really wanted to help the next generation of kids have that same experience that I did,” he said.
“Usually we do some obstacle kind of drills, so we have some hurdles or other equipment that the other kids have to dodge around. It’s really about core skills, so helping them navigate the field well and working on their hands and kicking. And, of course, they love to play the game at the end and put it all to the test.”
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ethan estimated that he spent at least eight hours a week at clubland fulfilling his various responsibilities. Using his time management skills and efficiency, Ethan says its all more than worthwhile.
“I’d say when you’re with the kids and they have a big grin on their faces. It just lights everything up and makes you feel really happy to see they’re having a good time.”
Ethan said he takes a lot of responsibility in setting a good example for the kids that he mentors.
“I think the best way that you can show leadership to other kids is to act the way you think that they should act… [Kids] like to copy the older people and be ‘grown up’, so if you act in a respectful, humble way, the kids will hopefully follow it.”
Ethan tributes his success in football so far to other clubland leaders who have paved the way.
“I think I’ve gotten to where I am now because of other leaders, so that’s why being a leader is so important, because you create more leaders in the future,” he said.
“I think a good Monash Leader is someone who is going to be inspiring to other people, have a nice attitude towards everything, humble about themselves, hold themselves well and inspire other people.”
Monash University and the South Metro Junior Football League congratulate Ethan on his leadership and incredible commitment to football. The Monash University Leader of the Year will be unveiled by the league in the coming weeks.