Practice matches are run by clubs at the start of most seasons. Nomination for practice matches is generally a process where you put your name down and, if a match is available, you're notified if you've been selected for that match.
Practice matches are still regular football matches in that:
- Players can be reported (and suspended) for offences in a practice match
- Umpires are still paid in a practice match
It's the responsibility of the umpire running the match to work with the clubs to ensure that incidents are avoided. Remind players at the start of the match that there will be a zero tolerance policy for any kind of rough play or misconduct and consider sending players off if they look to escalate a situation. At the end of the day, it's for their own good as much as yours as it will prevent them from doing something they regret.
Umpires are still expected to be prompt and well-dressed for practice matches. While you don't need to wear slacks and black shoes, it's expected that you at least dress neatly and arrive with plenty of time to spare so that clubs aren't left wondering if their umpires are going to show up.
Payment for practice matches is now processed the same way as a standard match - not in cash to the umpire on the day as in the past.
The rate for payment is generally 50% (half) of what would normally be paid to that umpire for a regular match, dependent on the number of umpires requested/appointed to a match.
In the event three umpires are appointed, the payments are split between the three umpires.
Sometimes umpires may be allocated to games where they are required to do 6 or 8 quarters. In these instances (anything 6 quarters or over), full payment for each umpire is allocated.
The weather during many practice games can be very hot as it is still late summer. As an umpire, you should work with the clubs. Remember, you are there to support them: if they wish to call off a game early, this is their prerogative. If you feel the conditions are oppressive and unsafe, work with them to determine a suitable outcome (shortened quarters, longer breaks, etc).