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The Home of the WRFL Umpires Become an Umpire Today

Issue 2 - June 2015

Welcome to the second issue for 2015. Thanks again must go to the two main editors, writers, managers, reporters and gophers in Harry Spurling and Edmund Mitchell. The first issue went over like a lead balloon and hardly cause a ripple within the umpiring ranks. This was possibly due to the fact that no-one read the garbage that they published. Both these fine men are putting forward this tripe for the second year running. Keep up the shonky work, guys! Please remember that the contents of this great publication are totally fictitious. All the names, people, places, events and elastic bands have been changed to protect the innocent, the guilty and all others.


One veteran WRFL goal umpire was sorting through a pile of old papers. He happened upon an appointment for a WRFL senior practise game from 2003. The game was between Deer Park and South Morang with the visitors winning 17-19 to 7-9. The interesting note was that the other goal umpire was a ‘young’ chap doing his first game. It was none other than Rene Van Kuyk whose son, Adam, had joined as a junior field umpire the previous year. Rene didn’t last long as a goal umpire!

Great quotes of the 2015 season: “Great goal umpiring as always. You are a gem.” (Player to Paul Battaglia); “I drink water. I don’t walk on it.” (Field umpire in Superules game); “It’s mine, I think.” (Goal umpire responding to a wide shot on goal); “I sank in it because I’m a fat bastard.” (Craig Hill when discussing the sand-scape at the Ballarat Road end of Deer Park’s ground); “I’m going to dob you into Centre Link.” (Braybrook spectator to goal umpire Trevor Budge).

The goal umpire was filling out the Umpires Attendance Card. He asked one of the other umpires, “Are you Zac spelt Z a c or Zach spelt Z a c h?” The young boundary replied, “No. I’m Zak spelt Z a k!” The goal umpire was Graham Hogarth while the boundary umpire was Zach Manure.

Congratulations to Rosie Michetti, Bianca Michetti and Violet Cumming-Gray for umpiring last month’s women’s game at the MCG. A great achievement.

Umpires are always told to use their very best manners on the football field. An example of this happened in the first minute of the first game of the season. Shamus Dundon was in charge when the players became entangled in a feisty wrestling tussle right in the middle of the ground. There was nothing to do except try to get the game going. So Shamus, after blowing the whistle, charged in and was going to throw the ball up. Two problems. First he had to find the ball. Then he had to get the ball. Shamus spied the ball, held firmly by one of the tangled players.

The older field umpire was sharing some of his wisdom with his much younger partner. “when you are talking to the players you need to use your manners. Don’t just say, ‘Come back two metres’ but say, ‘Come back two metres, please.’ It sounds much better.” One of the goalies was full of praise for this wisdom but didn’t say anything at the time. Although everything was instantly lost when the very same field umpire, at the same game said, “Well, the player called me an idiot so I called him an idiot!”

Spectator walked past the two goalies who were comparing the scores in the middle of the ground at the end of the game. He stopped and asked if he could wave the flags towards the scoreboard. The goalies just smiled and said, “No thanks, mate.” At least he knew what the goal umpires did at the end of the game! Not everybody does.

How many umpires do we have? Last count there were 304 who had been appointed to at least one game in 2015.

Leading the tally for 2015 games were: Wayne Cooper (45), Jake Bokhove (41), Rene van Kuyk (39), Merv Bartley (38), Allan Larrad (36), Mitchell Cross (34), Kai Abela (33).

Those people who decide to use the shower at Braybrook in the Umpire’s Room please take note. The water escapes from the shower recess and flood the entire room. The senior umpires came into the rooms at half-time and one bag was floating away.

Field umpire, Paul Howard, paid a mark and rushed in to set the player up for the shot on goal. Unfortunately he was blind-sided and could not see that the ball had in fact hit the ground. The goal umpire confirmed that from his position approximately twenty metres from the play the ball had hit the ground. Paul said he didn’t see that and wasn’t amused when the other goal umpire from his position approximately one hundred and twenty metres from the play said that he clearly saw the ball hitting the ground.
Prior to the game, Tom Hill gave the teamsheets to his partner and asked him to look down the list for any double numbers. The answer was, “11, 22, 33 and 44.”

Former young goalie Mitchell Green was watching Braybrook play. Usually he would be at Albion but it was their turn for the bye. He decided to stand behind the goals at the far end and retrieve the ball every time there was a score. Obviously he had an unsettled score with the coach of the goal umpires who was waving flags in the game. Braybrook had just scored a major and as the coach put up his two flags to wave Mitchell kicked the ball back over the fence for the boundary umpire. It hit the coach in the left hand knocking the flag five metre into the playing area. A bit of a scramble to pick up the flag, get back to the goal line and then belatedly wave the two flags.

As the editor was busy in the process of typing up Scovell News edition 2, Craig Hill admitted that he had just read edition 1 that very day. Try to keep up with it, Hilly! Plus, you should have been busy working and not reading this useless dribble.

The goal umpires’ coach thought he’d have a peaceful weekend. He had done the appointments and he was completely free to go around and observe all day Saturday without any interruptions. Funny how things can change so quickly! He decided to be super organised for this season and so he has been religiously recording all the dates in his diary. That included the trip to Tasmania by the WRFL guys on Saturday 28 June. Brendan Moloney is the goalie who is going so he wasn’t given any games in the WRFL on that date. Unfortunately the association decided to change the date of the trip but only let a few people know. So Brendan approaches the coach and says he hasn’t got any WRFL games. Problem 1. How to find Brendan a game. Problem 2. Another goal umpire suffering from an injury could not do his games and pulled out on Friday. Problem 3. Another umpire who expected to recover sufficiently from a bad cold was still in bed and couldn’t goal umpire. Problem 4. A young goal umpire decided on Friday that he couldn’t get to his match. Problem 5. A reserve grade goalie was willing to do a senior game as well but the father-in-law was taken to hospital and needed to be visited. In the space of 24 hours, the coach went from no games to having the choice of four venues. It was a busy Saturday in the end! (And Brendan did get North Sunshine.)

In a Superules game the ball was thrown in and one of the ruckman grabbed the ball. Immediately the whistle blew and the umpire awarded a free kick against the ruckman. “You grabbed the ball out of the ruck contest,” explained the former WRFL umpire. “But no-one tackled him!” said one bemused player.

Bendigo exchange is happening on Saturday 18 July.

Names can be fascinating things. A quick look at the Albion seniors list Bryce Miles, Justin Lee, Josh Clarke, Dan Lee and Jesse Bradley. Or is that Miles Bryce, Lee Justin, Clarke Josh, Lee Dan and Bradley Jesse?

Great quotes of the 2015 season: “Play urn. Play urn.” (Mitchell Cross in his role as a junior field umpire); “I know that you can’t have three in the ruck at boundary throw ins.” (WRFL senior coach); “Graeme is sneaky. He always finds a good spot to observe.” (Brad Stellini at Albion reserves); “It’s got to be a free kick because he punched it out of the ruck though the behinds on the full.” (Altona forward player); “Gee, Vlad. You get that look in your eye and you hesitate and we don’t know what you’re going to do.” (Scott Matheson).

Strange things can happen even at the top level. A behind was scored at the Melbourne v St.Kilda game but the field umpire’s attention was fixed on the quick kick out. Then the ball was swiftly moved up the ground through a series of short but quick kicks and the same field umpire had control of the play all the time. Eventually the goal umpire caught up with the fieldie and said, “You didn’t give me the All Clear!”

In another AFL game a group of players contested the ball at ground level right on the goal line. Former WRFL umpire and now AFL goalie, Michael Craig, straddled the line and watched closely. The scrambled continued for a few seconds and then two of the players stopped and ran off to position themselves for the kick in. The remaining two players then got to their feet with the defender clutching the ball. They stood close to each other and then simultaneously realised that at no stage had the ball completely crossed the scoring line. The ensuing tackle took the defender and ball over the scoring line and a rushed behind was recorded. Very strange!

A twelve year old boy made history recently by being appointed as a goal umpire to a senior game in Colac. Young Angus Bayne wants to go all the way into the AFL and do a grand final. Now that would be some type of fairy-tale.

Coincidental but it did happen. The player had a shot for goal and the goalie judged that the ball had partially sailed over the post. A few questions were asked of the goal umpire. Next quarter, same player, different end, different goal umpire, same result. Play sails over the post and a behind was awarded. Similar minor abuse towards the goalie.

A player was running with the ball in a local WRFL senior game. He side-stepped an opponent who lunged at him but failed to grab him. He took a few more steps, stumbled, fell to the ground and the ball dribbled out of his hands. The whistle blew and the player was penalised for incorrect disposal. Which rule is that?

How many babies has Nathan Layton fathered? At least two. This season he pulled out of a field umpiring gig because his partner was giving birth. It was only last year or was it the year before when he ran off the ground at three quarter time at Hoppers Crossing because his partner had suddenly gone into labour. Congratulations, Nat and partner. Hope all are well.

Anthony Muscat had just signalled a behind and waved one flag at the freeway end of the Spotswood Football Ground. That’s when a mighty big truck blew a tyre directly behind him making a truly tremendous explosive noise. Anthony was shell-shocked and thinking that the world was to end then and there, immediately threw his flag away and sprinted to the middle of the ground. In the next minute he was comforted by the startled field umpire and a handful of compassionate tough footballers. Eventually Anthony returned to his position between the goal posts. Later he explained his experience by saying, “I just shit myself!”

It was the three quarter time break at Deer Park for the reserves and the Deer Park seniors players made their way onto the oval to do some warming up. Rosie Michetti looked around and said, "Gee, Deer Park have an old player." Nope, it wasn't a player. It was actually Geoff Tresidder warming up for the senior match!

Sometimes Schedula gets it wrong. Or should we say that somebody pushes the wrong buttons? A three field umpiring system was listed: Tyler Comben, Tom Hill and Conor Lawrence. No! No!

In Under 16 and Under 18 matches the fullback is not allowed to kick the ball back into play after a behind has been scored until the goal umpire has finished waving the flag.

Also at Deer Park, Rosie was mistaken for Bianca on at least two occasions. There is nearly four years difference in age, so is Rosie aging gracefully, or is Bianca aging quickly? No comment!

Speaking of Rosie and Bianca Michetti, it seems that they are due to run the boundary in the women’s game that is to be played at Etihad prior to the EJ Whitten Legends match. Go, girls!

The first year goal umpire had been appointed to a game at Featherbrook Reserve. He checked Schedula but it failed to give him directions and even his 2014 Melway didn’t have it listed. So he decided to ask his coach when he got to training at Saltwater Reserve. At the end of their vigorous training run/walk/skill session they stood in the carpark and pondered an answer. Surrounded by umpires, players, parents and a crowd of others, the coach said, “Somebody around here will know where Featherbrook Reserve is.” Ah, there’s Steve Sutton. He’ll know.” No. He had no idea! A helpful boundary umpire gave some directions. Then a parent of one of the footballers wandered up. “See those lights over there. That’s Featherbrook Reserve.”

Unfortunately we just assume that everyone knows everything. The young goalie was explaining that she had seen a reportable offence but it had occurred after the final siren. So, of course, she couldn’t report the player after the game had finished.

There’s no such thing as a dumb question has been a catch-cry of the goal umpires’ coach during the past few years. But every so often, one comes along. First year mature goalie: “When you run and signal out of bounds and call out yours, who are you talking to?” And, another. Second year young goalie: “My little brother asked what is the score if a forward kicks the ball through the goals but it comes off both feet.”

The field umpire (Wayne Cooper) paid a fifty metre penalty and the player asked why. The reply was to the point, “You called me a retard.”

The mature aged goalie was in his first year and he was walking laps with the coach. “You give a lot of advice but you never mention teamwork.” The coach was momentarily dumb. (No comment required here by anyone!) His reply began, “Well, actually I do. Here are some of the things that I am continually saying. When you work out, you walk out together. Whenever you walk with your fellow goalie, the two of you must be in step. When you take out your flags for after a score, the two goalies should take them out at the same time, raise them at the same time and wave them at the same time. And also,...”

Mid Season Dinner Saturday 4 July Tasmanian umpires will be here running at North Footscray.

You can be really unlucky. It was the last minute of the Superules Over 47s game. The team called the Waverley Warriors had come all the way across to play against the Williamstown team at Crofts Reserve, Altona North. A pack of players came together to contest the ball and an innocent clash of bodies caused several to fall to the ground. One Waverley player stayed on the ground while his teammate and an opposition player called for help. Unfortunately it was either a broken or dislocated ankle.

I wonder how many WRFL umpires took advantage of the free AFL tickets recently offered.

Richard Watt breezed into the umpires’ rooms at Wyndhamvale for the Under 18 game and instantly brightened up the atmosphere by insulting three umpires in the one breath (as only he can). His hair was dishevelled and his eyes were red. It looked like he had just got up which he had. He’d slept in and one wonders how he stayed awake driving down the freeway.

With the Academies closing down for the two weeks holiday it will be interesting to see how many of the young umpires get to Scovell or Saltwater. Believe it or not, there is only one week of the Academies left before the junior finals hit. Yes, the junior finals are just around the corner.
Junior finals begin on Sunday 26 July. Senior finals start on Saturday 22 August.

For those that do not train at Saltwater, you are certainly missing out. One training group during their one hour session actually discussed topics as diverse as Greek history, geography, English grammar, story-telling and Mathematics. Needless to say that there was at least one teacher amongst them.

Sometimes umpires can be very slack. During an Under 18 game, Sunshine v Hoppers Crossing, a spectator entered the playing field and made physical contact with a player. Even though the umpires were aware of what had happened an incident report was not written up.

Similarly, one particular umpire had cause to yellow card a player and due to another immediate offence the player was then given a red card. The same thing happened a few weeks later but in both cases neither player was reported. “I can’t be fussed doing the paperwork.”

Great quotes of the 2015 football season: “I’m just like a cockroach. You just can’t get rid of me!” (Tim Moloney); “I’m not injured. I just can’t lift my arms up.” (John Sutton refusing to do the exercises at Scovell Reserve); “I’m not going to get to Saltwater to train tomorrow. It took me 55 minutes today just to get from St.Kilda to Scovell Reserve.” (Tim Moloney); “Gee. You got three people out of the nursing home to umpire.” (Spectator watching the three umpiring system involving Rene van Kuyk, Terry McGarity and Terry O’Donnell.); “Yeah, but I’m older than all three of them!” (Goalie John Sutton to the same spectator); “It was left to the experience of a well-grilled field umpire.” (Steve Sutton on himself).

The coach panicked when a flood of declining games hit his phone. Seven! How was he going to cover all those games. On closer inspection it turned out to be the same person declining one game. For some unexplained reason the message came through seven times.

The goalies were having some practise in the goals at Scovell Reserve. One or two were acting as defenders when Simon Kingswell ran into and bounced off Colin Hood. Simon remarked that it was good padding!

Con Grouios’ name was sent by one umpire by text message. The smart phone auto corrected the name. It appeared as Con gracious!

Bob Wallace made a comeback in a reserves game while Simon Kingswell ran as one of the field umpires for three quarters. A few days later Simon’s body told him that he had done the wrong thing.

Liam Metcalfe took off his tracksuit pants to reveal that he was wearing his shorts inside out. He must have gotten dressed in the dark! Speaking of shorts, did Rosie Michetti split hers when tossing the ball in during a recent game? And right in front of the pavilion with all the crowd watching.

The Football Quiz

1.Which two WRFL teams played at Whitten Oval last weekend?
2.Which AFL team has Smith, Moller, Ballard, Hughes and Hurley as Rookies?
3.What number does Todd Goldstein wear for North Melbourne?
4.Andrew Venner won consecutive FDFL competition B&F awards playing for who?
5.Who coaches Port Melbourne Colts? 
6.Who wears number 19 for Geelong? 
7.Which team did Syd Coventry represent from 1922 to 1934?
8.Bluey Hamphire played for Geelong and Footscray. What was his first name?
9.Name two of the eight clubs that formed the Footscray District Junior League in 1931?
10.Which WRFL team plays home games at McLean Reserve?

Attendance Card: Always remember to have this filled in by one of your panel of umpires recording carefully and clearly all the names of the umpires who officiated in your game.

All umpires are encouraged to keep a record of all the games that they umpire. Then you will be able to know when special highlights or milestones are approaching. Schedula has made this much easier especially for those who have only umpired in the past 2 seasons.

Tasmania umpires are coming to Melbourne for Saturday 4 July
that means that it is the Mid-season Dinner Dance and $1000 Draw.

Answers to The Football Quiz

 1. West Footscray and Yarraville Seddon 2.Fremantle 3. 22 4.Altona 5.Brad Julier 6. Mitch Clark 7. Collingwood 8. Ian 9. Footscray Technical Old Boys, St.John’s Church of England, Braybrook, Parkside A, Parkside B, Footscray Scouts, Yarraville CYMS, Bayview Road Methodists 10. Spotswood

Remember that if you have any ideas for articles or interesting stories or simply great gossip then please put them into writing and hand them to our junior reporter in Graeme Hodgart who will hand them on to Harry Spurling and Edmund Mitchell. You can also send information via email at at anytime. See you next month for edition number two