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Issue 4 - September 2014

Welcome to the fourth edition of Scovell News for 2014. Those two great editors, in Desmond Jackson and Keith Mitchell, and their numerous writers have been hard at work gathering lots of gossip for you to read and chuckle about. Please remember that everything that is recorded here is totally make believe and very tongue-in-cheek. It’s all one big joke. All names have been included to protect the innocent parties from parties.

The Lowdown

The final series of matches produced some interesting results and fascinating facts. The Division 2 Senior grand final saw an easy win for Parkside kicking 14-20 to 10-6. After thirteen minutes of playing time the scores were Parkside 0-1 to West Footscray’s 0-0!

Walking on for the 2nd half of the Div 2 Under 18 grand final, Dean McGowan nearly took a nice overhead mark. He probably only saw the ball at the last moment and saved his fellow umpires from wearing a football to the head but he did miss a possible stat.

Well, it did take a little bit of getting used to the four boundary umpire system. They were in action in one of the finals at Avalon Airport Oval when Mark Westgarth observed two of them sprinting very impressively out to the boundary to begin a quarter. It was Adrian Terrill and Cameron ‘Peachy’. Unfortunately, both of them were on the same side which meant no-one was ‘guarding’ the centre square on their side. Luckily, Adrian also noticed the problem and was able to sprint into the correct position before the ball was bounced to start the play.

The Parkside v West Footscray grand final must have been a torrid affair. By the third quarter there were four players, all from Parkside, running around with their heads swathed in bandages. One of them actually was seen in the first few minutes of the match with his over-sized ‘head-band’ covering much of his noggin. Maybe he came into the game with a bleeding split already on his head!

What do you do when you go to the MCG as a spectator? First you get a surprise text message from your cousin who lives in Canberra and you haven’t seen for about 5 years. Then you find out that they are in Melbourne for the week to deliver a lecture. Next, via another text, you discover that they are, in fact, at the MCG as well! So you spend the entire 3rd quarter watching a little bit of the football while catching up with your cousin.

It was early Saturday morning and Henry McFerran had turned up for his Under 18 game at Spotswood. He was following his usual pre-match warm up which is sitting in his car, listening to the radio and singing with his eyes shut. Those close to him were doing what they had to do with their ears shut!

How do you get a final? Be a coach! Poor John Sutton became very sick on the morning of his Under 18 grand final. Obviously he couldn’t do the game. At 7:30 a.m. he phoned his coach in Graeme Hodgart. The game was due to start at 9:15 a.m. so there wasn’t any time to find a replacement. So the coach contacted one of the other umpires who was officiating in the game. He told him that John was sick and he would be his replacement although he’d probably be arriving at about 8:40 a.m. After a quick shower and a reduced breakfast, the coach grabbed his gear that was already packed and headed towards Werribee. A couple of days later, John was improving but still wasn’t 100% fighting fit. The good news is that John is keen to umpire again next season. Here’s hoping that he will be well enough to do all the games that he has been appointed to.  

Great quotes of the 2014 WRFL football season: “Oh, shock! He’s doing the washing. It only happens once a year. It must be Father’s Day.” (Mark Westgarth at the football on Father’s Day after receiving a phone call from home); “He’s scary.” (A MacKillop student about one of the goal umpires); “Is it still a goal if it goes through the goal area but the ball is higher than the goal posts?” (Nick Semaan); “Pull the bloody hair out of your eyes and pay a correct decision for once.” (Craig Hill in the crowd to Greg Denison umpiring the Div 1 grand final); “We’re not an item.” (Brett Ritchie on his relationship with Michael Craig); “Oh, look! The wanker himself!” (An umpire on the arrival of Richard Watt); “I hope that it is up tonight.” (Wife talking to umpire about the price of petrol although the umpire was thinking and hoping about something entirely different.)

Wyndhamvale had a club mascot for their reserves clash. It was a loyal supporter dressed up as a falcon. He probably lost a few kilos due to the warmish, sunny weather!

Parkside had crawled back into the low scoring grand final clash with Wyndhamvale but time was against them. Most people knew that there was very little time to go. Suddenly the crowd, mostly the Wyndhamvale bench and the team’s supporters, surged onto the field celebrating their premiership victory. The winning players hugged each other while the losers sank to the ground in commiseration and defeat. The time-keepers were puzzled. There was still three seconds left on the clock and they hadn’t blown the siren. The field umpires looked a bit confused and were making their way towards each other to discuss the matter when the time-keepers eventually blew the siren. Evidently, a train’s whistle had been heard and mistaken for the real siren.

Is it true that a certain field umpire, when they officiate at the Avalon Airport Oval, deliberately tries to do most of their umpiring at the western end of the ground? This is, supposedly so, because it is harder (and further) for the observers to see everything from their elevated position in the boxes at the other end of the ground.

Jackson Carroll cut a great figure as he dashed out as the emergency umpire to quell some pushing and shoving in the Under 18 Div 1 grand final. He acted so professionally and certainly looked the part. Not so on the way back to the bench. He stopped moving completely and had to bend down several times to retrieve his pen and paper and other things that he’d dropped on the way to the problem players.

Rumours, rumours, rumours. What are people going to be doing next season? Here are some of the possible changes. Terry McGarity to switch to the Essendon league. Alf Johnstone to umpire at Riddell. Sam Polden to play football in the Geelong league, put his flags into storage for a year or two and take up field umpiring in the WRFL in the juniors. Roland Caple to wave flags in South Australia. Jordan Irwin to move to Tasmania. Paul Colbert is eager to combine field umpiring with goal umpiring.

Evan Eliopoulos was quite excited when he received his appointment for his next game. His partner was listed as Greg Denison. “This would be a treat,” thought Evan who usually runs with the very young or the very old. He would be able to learn and work with an umpire who is one of the best going around in the WRFL. His hopes were shattered when his partner turned up. It wasn’t Greg but Barry Tuppen!  Even still, both Evan and Barry worked well as a team.

Great quotes of the 2014 WRFL football season: “It would be more exciting going out the back (of the grandstand) and watching the freight trains go by.” (Mark Westgarth at the Div 2 grand final during the third quarter with Parkside 9-10 leading West Footscray 5-4); “I’m going to have to listen while I’m there.” (Julian Ensink after being nominated to go and try out with the VFL umpires next season); “Graeme’s still got his notebook out and he’s writing notes. That should go into Scovell News.” (Cameron Linnell at Scovell Reserve after the grand final). 

The mentor was talking to the group of young goal umpires and asked them if they had any questions. “There’s no such thing as a dumb question,” he added. “Are you allowed to wave your goal flags the same way as they do at the grand prix?” asked one of the young chargers in a very serious manner. The mentor quietly answered, “No,” but he was thinking to himself… “Well there is such a thing as a dumb question!”

It was a great spectacle at the Under 18 Div 1 grand final. The crowds had streamed onto the oval to have a quick kick or listen to the respective coaches. Four little tots had a better idea. They were playing in the sand on the boundary line near the players’ race.

“Always admit your mistakes,” says Tim Moloney. A year after the event, he admitted that he went out to officiate as a goal umpire in the 2013 preliminary final without a pen. He actually pretended to write down each score and kept the score in his head. No-one else knew of his blunder until he talked to his partner, Roly Caple, at quarter time and asked him, “Do you have a spare pen?” The next week, for the grand final, he made sure that he had plenty of pens and laid them out on a seat before going out to umpire. He turned his back for a moment and one of his fellow umpires had stolen all his pens!

The eager photographers were jostling for the best position to snap the panel of umpires as Richard Watt tried to get them into some sort of order. Graeme Hodgart got his head in the way and Leigh Rowbottom decided to take a photo of it! Nice shot, indeed!

One umpire approached Kirstie Fitzgerald and Lyn McLeod of the WRFL on grand final day and asked if he could have the left-over Footy Records from the Division 1 grand final dinner. They were happy for him to grab about 30 copies that he could put out on the tables at the umpires presentation night tables. “Last year I raided the dumpster to get some extra copies!” he confided to them.

The president of the WRFL was given the job of tossing the coin for the Division 1 grand final. Goalie Paul Battaglia provided the coin. It was a 1913 English one penny. That’s nearly as old as Paul.

Leigh Rowbottom only got two kicks in the Umpires v Fireys football match and one tackle. He was struggling to walk the next day. And the next! The last time he played a game was seven years ago. We believe he may have retired from playing for good.

The umpires were getting ready for their game at Werribee Districts. A line marking machine was in one corner of the change rooms. Anthea Walsh absent-mindedly touched it and it surprised her by coming to life, moving a little and making a sudden noise. The club had left it plugged in to charge the batteries.

The football went over the boundary line and Alan Pascoe called out, “Throw it in,” as the boundary umpire signalled out of bounds on the full, pointed to the spot where the infringement took place and then sprinted thirty metres around the boundary line. Alan?

Peter Robertson is never late for his games. He was told he had to arrive at least one hour before his final so he turned up twenty-four hours early. Oops! Wrong day! It was the same for one of the boundary umpires who turned up a day late. It seems that his mother had misread his appointment.

The whistle blew and Christian Brenner had a fair run to the stoppage near the boundary line. He dashed in and grabbed the ball. As Christian made position to throw the ball up, he realised that he was alone. All the players had thought it was a boundary throw in and were at least 15 m away!

After the Division 1 grand finals there was quite a crowd of umpires go back to Scovell Reserve andenjoy a sherbert and a bite to eat. A variety of photographs and some videotaping of the games were also shown. At one stage, Leigh Rowbottom had to get up and fiddle with the controls at the back of the television set. It looked a bit like this…

Goalie Gordon Mutch likes to keep an eye on the time. He brings his own stop-watch.

Two non-participating umpires were watching the umpires emerge from the rooms and then do their warm-ups. “Who’s the emergency goal umpire?” asked one of them. It was Darren Williams, the emergency field umpire. Wearing long dark track pants and a white umpires’ cap he was easily mistaken as another goal umpire.

After winning the Mr Umpires Award and being given a mirror to admire his good looks, Mathew Westgarth turned up to his prelim final with a photograph of himself and made sure he kissed it for luck before his game. He was a little more subdued the next week for the grand final. Mathew decided to get changed opposite the full length mirror.

Ryan Webster was a little forgetful on day out at Port Melbourne Colts. He left his shorts and undies in the change-room. His mother (Dave Voigt) got them the following week.

The young Scarborough brothers were running as usual for the Wyndhamvale Under 18 team. The ball went through the goals and over the fence. They waited patiently for the ball to be returned. It was in fact one of the goal umpires’ observers who found the ball and booted it back. It crashed into one goal post before deflecting into the other one.

The goalies were playing touch football which stops people from full-scale tackling. It didn’t stop Julian Ensink from slashing Craig Hill with his long fingernails. Blood was spilt.

Interesting event in a local game when the field umpire (Con Grouios) discovered that the runner had secretly put on a jumper and started playing as one of the players. Originally the player denied that they had been the runner but they were found out. Con rang Mark Westgarth and asked him what he should do. Mark had never heard of it happening and so he told Con to fill out an Incident Report.

It was reported that the goal umpires waved off the scoreboard at the end of a game showing West Coburg had scored 16 – 4 – 106. Hey, wait a minute! Sixteen sixes are 96!

Mark Westgarth was commenting on the young ages of the panel of umpires when he saw the field and boundary umpires appear on the ground. Then he noticed the two goal umpires in Con Grouios and Alf Johnstone. Although some of the older goalies continue, the average age of WRFL goal umpires has dramatically reduced in the last few seasons.

Jason Nicholls enjoys his umpiring. Recently he actually umpired three games on the one day, one after the other. First one as a field umpire, the second running the boundary and the third one waving flags. Oh, yes. He went out to do a game or two as a junior field umpire on the next day as well. By the Monday he was a little bit tired!

Simon Kingswell has pledged that he will return much fitter and a little bit trimmer for the season 2015. He says he’ll do some training over Summer and give away the smokes.

Good luck, Simon. Hopefully you can do it!

The Footy Quiz

The Football Quiz (Number 4 for 2014)

  1. How many points did Deer Park defeat Spotswood by in round 5 of Division 1?
  2. Who wears number six for Port Power?
  3. Which two teams played off for the 1989 VFL grand final?
  4. Terry Love (13 games for Footscray 1982-83) was recruited from which local team?
  5. What was the final score in the Div 2 grand final this season?
  6. Which AFL club did Matthew Primus play for before Port Adelaide?
  7. What number does David Swallow wear for the Gold Coast Suns?
  8. Which VFL club did Lindsay Fox play 20 games for between 1959 and 1961?
  9. Who coached Deer Park to the Division 1 premiership this season?
  10. During 1927 and 1928 how many games did Hawthorn win out of 36 games played?

Great comments from 2014

  • “I beat him to the centre and I even dropped a flag on the way.” (Craig Hill about Julian Ensink);
  • “That’s not a blood rule. Where’s the blood? It’s gotta be an amputated hand.” (Mark Westgarth watching a grand final two days before Greg Norman’s accident);
  • “I’ve always wanted to be knocked out playing football but I don’t think it’s going to happen.” (young goalie Hamish Kelly);
  • “She’s doing a good job.” (timekeeper about field umpire Anthea Walsh);
  • “Ask the umpire what’s going on.” (player to another during a confused count);
  • “Gee! Are they still giving you a game?” (Peter Howe to Alan Pascoe);
  • “You gave up field umpiring because you kept losing control.” (Brett Carter about Julian Ensink);
  • “I don’t want to wear pants when I umpire.” (Mitchell Taleb);
  • “Essendon are hopeless. They are all druggies.” (seven year old spectator at Under 18 game);
  • “Nice work, ump.” (elderly spectator to boundary umpire at Yarraville);
  • “You don’t have to run me over to get a Division 1 game.” (Craig Hill to goal umpires’ coach in car at Saltwater Res, Point Cook)

Grand Final Appointments & Awards

Grand Final Appointment Night had the usual awards. Here is a brief overview of them:      

All those nominated are listed.

Coach’s Pet Award 

Nominees: Geoff Tressider, Geoff Williams, Steve Sutton, Mathew Westgarth 

Winner: Adam Cosham

Dirty Uniform Award

Nominees: Evan Eliopoulos, Brian Green, Jackson Carroll

Winner: Terry McGarity

Golden Pen Award

Nominees: Brett Carter, Greg Denison, Andrew Fregonese, Andrew Wilson, Julian Ensink

Winner: Cameron Linnell

Hypochondriac Award

Nominees: Steve Sutton, Geoff Tressider, Robert Hill

Winner: Simon Kingswell

Unhygienic Award

Nominees: Robert Hill, all WRFL boundary umpires, Willie Watson

Winner: Vaughan Garner

Pretty Boy/Girl Award

Nominees: Lewis Spiker, Stefan Bjelosevic, Mat Westgarth, Paul Dimartino, Greg Denison.

Winner: Geoff Williams

Peripheral Vision Award

Nominees: Alan Pascoe, Henry McFerran

Winners: Christian Brenner and Geoff Tressider

Spit the Dummy Award

Nominees: Spotswood crowd; Alan Pascoe, Ryan Webster, Wayne Cooper

Winners: Con Grouios and Peter Holding

Mr Umpires Award

Nominees: Allan Larrad, the Saltwater Group, Greg Denison, Julian Ensink

Winner: Mathew Westgarth

Great quotes from 2014

  • “My grand final appointment is fantastic but why did they put me with Geoff Tressider? “ (Alan Pascoe);
  • “You can do the long runs.” (Simon Kingswell to Roly Caple after the rumour got out that they were appointed to the Div 1 grand final as boundary umpires);
  • “He’s had a try at everything: field, boundary and now goal.” (Brett Carter on Michael Craig);
  • “I’m glad I beat Alan Pascoe for the Hypochondriac Award.” (Simon Kingswell);
  • “I was going to wear my Newport Power top.” (Mitchell Taleb after being reprimanded for wearing a collarless white tee shirt to his grand final);
  • “You’re going to need a dunny wherever you stand drinking this shit.” (spectator to friend about the brand of beer on sale at a junior final);
  • “Now I know why you wear dark sunglasses. You have perfected a way of sleeping while standing up.” (Craig Hill to a fellow goalie)

Answers to the Footy Quiz

Answers to The Football Quiz: 1. Thirty 2. Angus Monfries 3. Hawthorn and Geelong 4. Spotswood 5. Parkside 14-20 defeated West Footscray 10-6 6. Fitzroy 7. twenty-four 8. St.Kilda 9. Marc Bullen 10. One in 1927 and none in 1928

Comments & Gossip

Please send any gossip to and it will be passed to the editors.

Hope to see everyone back again in 2015. Have a great Summer and keep fit!