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TFLUA Boundary Umpires Manual

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TFLUA Boundary Umpires Manual

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  SEASON 2007

                           IMPORTANT NOTICE

This manual has been written solely for the purpose of coaching boundary
umpires in the Tasmanian Football League Umpires Association.

The views expressed by the author are not necessarily representative of those
held by the Executive of the TFLUA.

Umpires should always consult their medical professional for a check up
before commencing any physical exercise.

The information contained in this paper is accurate as at the date of
publication but will be subject to change as the season progresses. This is the
first edition of this manual and I am sure it will significantly develop over
future seasons.

                                CHAPTER 1

There are two reasons why I have gone to the trouble of putting together this
manual on boundary umpiring.

The first reason is because I believe the AFL Accreditation System is
inadequate and does not properly prepare you for umpiring and indeed
progressing beyond the local football level. It seems to me that the AFL needs
to introduce a level 3 boundary umpire accreditation program aimed at those
aspiring to umpire VFL or AFL football.

The second reason is because I have always felt that umpires are not
“coached” enough. Unfortunately there has been far too much emphasis
placed on running around an orange running track. How does this teach you
to umpire? How can you become a better umpire by doing this?

Another benefit of this manual is that it will enable you to read it during your
own time and will alleviate the need for you to spend many hours after
training sitting at an umpiring lecture when you would rather be at home
having your tea and watching the television. You can read it as many times as
you like and you do not have to worry about understanding everything the
first time you read it.

I hope you find this booklet improves your umpiring and perhaps answers
those questions you have always had but have been reluctant to ask.

Good luck!

Cameron Lee
12th February 2007

                           CHAPTER 2

Congratulations not only becoming a boundary umpire but also a member of
the Tasmanian Football League Umpires Association. Some people say the
hardest decision is always deciding to become an umpire and the second
hardest decision is actually retiring. I say this because umpiring is addictive –
one you start it is very hard to stop. It keeps you fit, gives you greater
confidence and enables you to make a lot of new friends – some of which will
stay with you for the rest of your life.

There is no need to be concerned at being abused by players and spectators. It
is not as bad as people make out. Try and see the funny side of it. About 98%
of spectators do not know the rules and never will. They are generally
commenting out of frustration at their teams performance and are looking for
someone to blame. Just smile, chuckle to your self and cop it on the chin.
There is no point talking back to them as it only makes the situation worse.

Boundary umpiring is a common way to start your involvement in umpiring.
It provides an opportunity for you to have a support role while allowing you
to experience what an umpiring career can offer. As a boundary umpire you
can increase your awareness of aspects of the game and develop a greater feel
of the game without having to worry about the pressures of being a field

                            CHAPTER 3

Your role as a boundary umpire is rather simple. You follow the play up and
down the ground whilst performing the following six tasks:

1. Determining whether or not the ball is “out of bounds” or “out of bounds
   on the full”.
2. Throwing the ball back into play after it has gone out of bounds.
3. Returning the ball to the field umpire in the centre of the ground after a
   goal has been scored.
4. Determining whether or not a player has entered the centre square
   illegally at a centre bounce – otherwise known as a “centre square
5. Providing assistance to the goal umpire in relation to a score.
6. Detecting reportable offences and making same.

I will go into much more details about the above tasks later in this manual.

                              CHAPTER 4
                           ABOUT THE TFLUA

The Tasmanian Football League Umpires Association was formed in 1951.
The Association is the largest umpiring body in Tasmania but only operates
in the southern part of the State.

Umpires are supplied to the AFL Southern Tasmania Premier and Regional
Leagues, Old Scholars Football Association and the AFL Tasmania Under 17
Youth League.

Some of our members have the honour of being appointed to Victorian
Football League (VFL) and Mariners matches whilst others like to help out by
umpiring in the Southern Tasmanian Junior Football League (STJFL) on a
Sunday morning.

The Association operates through an Executive Committee consisting of a
President, Vice President and four committee members. There is also an
Association Administrator who is appointed by the Executive Committee
each season.

The person you are likely to have the most dealings with is Graeme Hamley.
Graeme is the Umpiring Administrator, Treasurer, Pay Master, Head Trainer
and Property Steward. You can therefore see how it literally pays to keep on
the right side of him. You can do that by remembering the following:

   1. Never pull out of your match without a very good reason and try and
      give him as much notice as possible.
   2. Always let him know when you are unavailable in writing
   3. Inform him of any changes to your contact details throughout the
   4. Return your registration sheet to him as early as possible.
   5. If he contacts you at the “eleventh hour” needing someone to do a
      game, help him out if you are able to.

Graeme retired from goal umpiring at the end of the 1993 season after having
amassed a record 10 senior grand finals and more than 310 senior games. His
knowledge of boundary umpiring over the years is rather high. If you are a
younger umpire and Graeme happens to be at your match as a trainer or just
watching, it would be worth your while asking him for some a few tips.

                              CHAPTER 5
                            COACHING STAFF

The Association currently has seven coaches. They are:

      Tony Gibson         Regional Umpires Coach
      Gary Poultney       Field Umpires Coach
      Steve Jewell        Development Coach
      Cameron Lee         Boundary Umpires Coach
      Paul Bidgood        Assistant Boundary Umpires Coach
      Denis Bishop        Goal Umpires Coach
      Wayne Coombe        Assistant Goal Umpires Coach

There are two names you need to remember if you want to go places in your
Tasmanian umpiring career – Michael Brown and Kevin Mitchell.

Michael Brown is the Head State Umpires Coach. His role, as I understand it,
is to oversee the coaching and training of all VFL and Mariners umpires; keep
an eye out for new VFL and Mariners umpires; and to ensure that everyone is
complying with what the AFL and VFL expect of us including accreditation.
Michael was formerly one of the leading field umpires during the time of the
former TFL Statewide League and would have umpires about 150 TFL Senior
Matches. I imagine there would only be two or three people who would have
umpired more games than him as field umpire at that level. From memory,
Michael has run under three hours for the marathon and was around the
13.30 to 13.40 minute mark over 4km. He retired in about 1994.

Kevin Mitchell is the VFL’s Director of Umpiring and something of an icon in
umpiring circles. He was one of four boundary umpires chosen in the AFL
Umpire’s Team of the Century. Kevin umpired eight VFL Grand Finals the
last of which was the 1977 VFL Grand Final (including the replay) between
North Melbourne and Collingwood. It is worth your while watching this
match because Kevin’s partner was Leigh Patterson who went on to umpire
nine VFL Grand Finals the last of which was the 1988 grand final between
Hawthorn and Melbourne (he is the one with the rather large set of black
curly hair).

There is a third person you also need to know. I presume that Peter Bradford
will be re-appointed as VFL Boundary Umpires Coach. Peter umpired at AFL
senior level around the mid 1990s and I believe (although I could be wrong
about this) that he umpired two AFL Reserves Grand Finals.

If you have the opportunity to umpire in front of Michael, Kevin or Peter you
need to give 110%. As opportunities will be extremely limited, it is important
that you make yourself available and that you are totally fit. Opportunities
like that do not come along often and you may only have one chance to get it

Have no regrets. Make the most of any opportunity.

                                CHAPTER 6
                             PREMIER LEAGUE

There are eight teams in this competition. They are:

Colours:                   Red and Blue.
Home Ground:               Pontville Oval. Main Road, Pontville.
Ground Size:               Medium.
Change Room Size:          Medium (located in building at furthest end from
                           main road).
Comment:                   The ground surface has a tendency to be too hard
                           not just at the start of the season but throughout
                           the year.

Colours:                   Red and White.
Home Ground:               Bellerive Oval. Derwent Street, Bellerive.
Ground Size:               Large
Change Room Size:          Medium to Large (located underneath the
                           Clarence Cricket Club Rooms on the wing. Entry is
                           at the rear of the building – river end).
Comment:                   The ultimate ground to run on but you will never
                           get an easy senior game there.

Colours:                   Black and White.
Home Ground:               KGV. Anfield Street, Glenorchy.
Ground Size:               Large.
Change Room Size:          Large (located directly behind goals at mountain
                           end of ground – enter through right door at top of
Comment:                   Probably the largest playing surface area in
                           Tasmania. Watch the strong wind gusts towards
                           the score board pocket on the ground.

Colours:            Maroon, Gold & Blue.
Home Ground:        TCA Ground. Queens Domain, Hobart.
Ground Size:        Small
Change Room Size:   Large (located in the double-storey H C Smith
                    Stand behind the goals – enter through the front of
                    the stand – first room on your right).
Comment:            Is badly affected by wind and rain. Watch out for
                    the grand stand pocket – the line has an unusual
                    curve which creates a 10-15m “no mans land”
                    which is too far out for the goal umpire to see and
                    too far away for you to see if you are in front of the
                    Hobart players box

Colours:            Black and Gold.
Home Ground:        Kingston Beach Oval. Recreation Street, Kingston.
Ground Size:        Very Small.
Change Room Size:   Medium (located next to canteen in club rooms
Comment:            Badly affected by rain. Don’t stay on the point post
                    too long in general play and be careful not to cut in
                    too far.

Colours:            Red & Black.
Home Ground:        Lauderdale Oval. Dona Road, Lauderdale (3rd left
                    pass the canal).
Ground Size:        Small.
Change Room Size:   Small (located on the back corner on the eastern
                    side of the clubrooms). When I was last there you
                    could not close the change room door, there was
                    no sink inside the rooms and the shower was out
                    of order.
Comment:            The ground has improved but is still the second
                    smallest in the competition. Play tends to sit down
                    the far end of the ground due to the strong winds
                    off the water.

New Norfolk
Colours:            Black, Red & White.
Home Ground:        Boyer Oval. Third Avenue, New Norfolk.
Ground Size:        Large .
Change Room Size:   Medium to Large (located on the scoreboard side
                    of the ground in the new building – first entrance
                    closest to main gate – then first door on left).
Comment:            Arguably the longest ground in Tasmania (same
                    length as the MCG in fact). The atmosphere in
                    front of the LW Hepper stand is a good as
                    anywhere you will find in this State.

North Hobart
Colours:            Red and Blue.
Home Ground:        North Hobart Oval. Argyle Street, North Hobart.
Ground Size:        Medium.
Change Room Size:   Large (located in the Horrie Gorringe Stand at the
                    Argyle Street end of the ground – entry is through
                    a gate on the side of the stand closest to the Argyle
                    Street gate).
Comment:            The traditional home of Tasmanian football and
                    the favourite ground for most umpires. Be careful
                    of the area in front of the Doug Plaister Stand
                    because it is deprived of sunlight and is therefore
                    very slippery. You also need to be careful when
                    running out near the fence or picking the ball up
                    from behind the goals as sometimes the metal
                    plates are not sitting in position properly at the
                    bottom of the fence. You should check the plates
                    before the game starts.

                              CHAPTER 7
                        SFL REGIONAL LEAGUE

There are ten teams in this competition. I have never umpired the Central
Hawks or Triabunna and therefore can not comment on their grounds or
facilities. The ten teams are:

Central Hawks
Colours:                 Brown & Yellow.
Home Ground:             Oatlands & Bothwell
Ground Size:             Oatlands – small. Bothwell – medium.
Change Room Size:        Oatlands – small. Faces onto ground, 1/3 way from
                         Bothwell – small. Located under grandstand. Entry
                         via southern end.
Comment:                 Oatlands – ground is an unusual shape and is
                         usually a hard surface.
                         Bothwell – I am told it is extremely cold. Probably
                         worth huddling up to the sheep.

Colours:                 Red, White & Black.
Home Ground:             Snug Park, Snug.
Ground Size:             Medium.
Change Room Size:        Small (enter through door in middle of general
                         change rooms area – facing onto oval).
Comment:                 A good sized oval although the pocket in front of
                         the club rooms is very tight and the boundary line
                         is very close to the fence from memory.

Colours:                 Black and White.
Home Ground:             Abbotsfield Park, Claremont (off Abbotsfield
Ground Size:             Large (easily the biggest and best ground in this
Change Room Size:        Medium to Large (enter through door in the front
                         of a grey brick building behind the goals –
                         entrance faces onto oval)

Comment:            You could be excused for thinking the ground is
                    wider than it is long. A great ground to umpire on.
                    It is well maintained and holds the water very
                    well. It becomes more of a rice paddy than a mud
                    bath in wet weather.

Colours:            Green, Black & White
Home Ground:        Cygnet Oval, Cygnet (you turn left off the main
                    road just as you are about to enter the town
Ground Size:        Medium.
Change Room Size:   Medium (located next to the social club under the
                    grandstand – entrance is through a white door on
                    the southern side of the social club room windows
                    – facing onto ground).
Comment:            The best ground in the Huon region. A lovely
                    place to umpire.

Dodges Ferry
Colours:            Red & Gold.
Home Ground:        Shark Park. Main Road, Dodges Ferry.
Ground Size:        Small.
Change Room Size:   Very Small.
Comment:            The playing surface has improved out of sight.
                    Early last season it was as good as any other
                    venue. The ground is small and has an odd shape
                    to it. There are virtually no pockets at the club
                    room end of the ground which can make it a bit
                    difficult to get into the post. The atmosphere
                    behind the goals at that end of the ground is very
                    good. The coach staff and officials tend to stand on
                    your boundary line so you will need to politely
                    request that they stay in their marked area. That is
                    particularly important on this ground because it is
                    so small and tight.

Colours:            Red, White & Blue.
Home Ground:        Huonville Oval, Huonville.
Ground Size:        Small to medium.
Change Room Size:   Small (entrance is via the southern side of the
Comment:            The ground has a lot of history attached to it being
                    the grand final venue for the old Huon
                    Competition. You tend to find that you will get a
                    lot of close decisions on the wing area in front of
                    the grand stand. Because the line is a long way in
                    from the fence you need to keep an eye on your

Colours:            Red & Blue.
Home Ground:        Kermandie Oval, Geveston.
Ground Size:        Medium (although the ground is longer than
Change Room Size:   Very Small (enter through a door in the middle of
                    the club rooms facing onto the ground).
Comment:            I doubt much has changed at this ground in over
                    100 years. The best place to get changed is in the
                    shower or toilet cubicle. It is by far the worst
                    ground to umpire on in bad weather. I remember
                    umpiring the last roster game there in 1991 and
                    you could not find an entire blade of grass
                    anywhere on the ground.

Colours:            Dark Blue & Light Blue.
Home Ground:        ANZAC Park, Lindisfarne.
Ground Size:        Small.
Change Room Size:   Medium to Large (located in the smaller building
                    behind the club rooms and where the canteen is –
                    the entrance is at the rear of the building over
                    looking the back oval).
Comment:            A small but well maintained oval where you are
                    always likely to have a lot of goals scored. You will
                    need to keep an ear out for the siren as it is very

Colours:            Blue & Gold
Home Ground:        Pembroke Park, Sorell.
Ground Size:        Medium.
Change Room Size:   Very Small (located in a smaller grey building
                    behind the club rooms – entry is through the far
                    door at the rear of that building -–overlooking the
                    back oval).
Comment:            Another ground to have improved considerably
                    but is heavy on your legs due to significant
                    variations in the surface of the ground. Probably
                    the ground affected most by strong winds.

Colours:            Blue and white.
Home Ground:        Triabunna Oval, Main Road Triabunna.
Ground Size:        Small/Medium.
Change Room Size:   Small.
Comment:            The ground is a bit rough. A pleasant place to run
                    providing the wind stays away.

                         CHAPTER 8

There are six teams in this competition. I have not umpired at DOSA’s new
home ground. The six teams are:

Colours:                 Maroon & Gold
Home Ground:             Cadbury Estate, Claremont.
Ground Size:             Small to medium.
Change Room Size:        Medium. Entry via front of club rooms – western
Comment:                 Because the ground is in a large open space, it is
                         difficult to get your bearings on where the
                         boundary line is. Easy to get lost out there.

Colours:                 Black and Magenta.
Home Ground:             Queenborough Oval, Sandy Bay.
Ground Size:             Small to Medium.
Change Room Size:        Small (enter through players race – rooms are at
                         top of race).
Comment:                 A nice ground to umpire on in dry weather.

Colours:                 Red, White & Green.
Home Ground:             Geilston Bay Oval, Geilston Bay.
Ground Size:             Medium.
Change Room Size:        Small (entrance is through the door in middle of
                         change rooms building – facing onto oval).
Comment:                 Watch the sun in the third quarter of the seniors. It
                         will shine along the boundary line on the change
                         room side of the ground making it very difficult to
                         see. Children and Labradors also have a tendency
                         to walk onto the ground in front of the change
                         rooms. Club officials have a tendency to place
                         witches hats on the boundary line to indicate the
                         interchange area. You will need to move them
                         back off the line.

Colours:            Navy Blue
Home Ground:        Richmond Oval, Richmond.
Ground Size:        Medium to large.
Change Room Size:   Small (entrance is through door on the eastern side
                    of the club rooms facing the gate – then first door
                    on your right).
Comment:            An excellent surface in all conditions. A few night
                    games to be played there this year.

St Virgils
Colours:            Blue & Gold.
Home Ground:        Newtown Bike Track Oval. Main Road, Newtown.
Ground Size:        Small.
Change Room Size:   Small (entrance is located at the front of the grand
                    stand – closest door to the main road – the room is
                    at the top of the stairs on the right hand side).
Comment:            A nice surface early in the season but is easily cut
                    up after a few games – particularly in front of the
                    grand stand. Not a good wet weather ground.
                    Usually a high scoring venue and the oddest shape
                    for an oval I have ever seen. The worst part is
                    having to shower with the players after a loss.

Colours:            Red, Yellow & Black.
Ground              University Oval. Grosenvor Street, Sandy Bay.
Ground Size:        Medium
Change Room Size:   Extremely small (located in main building – enter
                    through main front door – turn right and you will
                    then see the rooms at the top of a short corridor).
                    You would have more room if you got changed in
                    your car or a phone box.
Comment:            A good oval to run on in April and September but
                    that is about it. The cricket pitch (and the rest of
                    the ground for that matter) turns into a pool of
                    mud at the sight of a slight shower. There is
                    always a problem with coaching staff and
                    spectators standing on the boundary line. It is
                    probably the worst ground for this to occur. Ask
                    them to move back – see field umpire if persists.

                         CHAPTER 9

            (Picture: Cameron Lee, Paul Bidgood & Denis Bishop)

The overall coaching structure for season 2007 is:

                   Tony Gibson (Regional Umpires Coach)

                  Cameron Lee (Boundary Umpires Coach)

             Paul Bidgood (Assistant Boundary Umpires Coach)


                             Project Coordinators

                                Team Captains

My Background

I started umpiring in 1990. Unfortunately I have had to “semi retire” due to a
combination of injuries, a very bad diet and a fondness for red wine.

I still intend to do a few games but no more grand finals. To date I have
umpired about 190 TFL/SFL Senior Matches and probably about 350 games all

Whilst I still managed to scrape together a few senior grand finals in recent
years, my better days were between 1993 and 1998 where I did two TFL
Statewide Senior Grand Finals (1996 and 1997), two Statewide Reserve Grand
Finals (1994 and 1995) and was on the AFL Development Squad with Symon

Bird for two years (1995 and 1996). I have umpired four interstate matches
and umpired Carlton, Geelong & Richmond in senior AFL practice matches.
A fractured leg in 1998 pretty much ended my run at the top level. I
previously coached the boundary umpires for one season in 1999 before
trying my hand at field umpiring.

Paul Bidgood

Paul is returning for what I believe is his fourth consecutive year as assistant
coach. He was previously boundary umpires coach in 2002. Paul began
umpiring in 1989 and has umpired about 215 TFL/SFL Senior matches and an
astonishing 8 grand finals – the last four in succession. Paul was on the VFL
Senior Panel in 2004 and 2006 and umpired a final at that level in 2004. He has
also umpired an AFL Reserves roster match at the MCG between Essendon
and Richmond in 1994 as well as other interstate fixtures and AFL pre-season

Probably the hardest game he has ever umpired was an AFL pre season
match at North Hobart in 1992 between Essendon & Carlton. The temperature
was about 38 degrees and the ground was covered in a film of smoke from the
surrounding bushfires. And that was in the day of only 2 boundary umpires.

                            CHAPTER 10


I have decided to split all umpires into five teams for the purpose of training,
coaching and match day observations

The five teams are red, blue, green, yellow and white.

Team Captains

The team captains will be:

   •    Marcus Orr (Red Team). Marcus umpired the 2006 Senior Regional
        League Grand Final.
   •    Zephan Lyne-Spink (Blue Team). Zephan umpired the 2006 Premier
        League Reserves Grand Final. He has now umpired a handful of
        Premier League Senior Finals including the preliminary final in 2004.
        Quentin Cook (Green Team). Quentin umpired the 2005 Senior
        Regional League Grand Final.
   •    Jerome Rowcroft (Yellow Team). Jerome umpired the 2005 Premier
        League Senior Grand Final.
   •    William Koolhoff (White Team). Will umpired the 2006 Premier
        League Senior Grand Final.

The role of the team captains are to:

   •    Encourage you with your umpiring development.
   •    Be the first point of call for any questions you have.
   •    Watch you umpire on occasions and provide you with some feedback.
   •    Both organise and conduct training drills.

                                CHAPTER 11

I have managed to secure the assistance of a record number of observers for
season 2007.

An observer is a current or former umpire who will go along and watch you
umpire and provide you with feedback on your performance. That feedback
may be provided directly to you on match day or to you via myself. I have
told all observers that they are not required to prepare any paperwork as this
is unlikely to encourage them to assist as often.

It is important to remember that these people do not get paid to come and
watch you umpire. The only reason they are doing it is so you can improve as
an umpire. They are giving up valuable time on their weekends and I trust
you will show them the respect they deserve. They all know what they are
doing otherwise I would not have asked them to become an observer.

I will now tell you who each of the observers are and a bit about their
umpiring careers. There are two further points I wish to make before doing

First, whilst some observers have not umpired for a few years now, there
have only been subtle changes to boundary umpiring over the last 17 years
that I have been umpiring. The basic role and functions have remained. All of
the observers will receive a copy of this manual and will therefore know the
current trends of boundary umpiring.

Secondly, these people were umpiring in an era when things were a lot
tougher not only at the top but right down to country seniors. The brief
summaries I have provided below do not do justice to their careers. They
have been provided not as a complete summary of their umpiring careers but
so you have a basic idea about their background and involvement in

Gary Braithwaite

Gary has umpired with the TFLUA since the late 1960s or early 1970s. He
would have officiated in well over 700 games of football including numerous
senior grand finals as a field umpire and also as a goal umpire in the late
1990s (including Huon and SFL).

Tim Chalmers

Tim was the “unofficial” assistant coach to Leigh Johnson in 1990 and 1991.
He umpired a number of Amateur Senior Grand Finals in the late 1980s,
which was regarded as a very high appointment in those days. Tim is now a
Hobart supporter and will mainly be seen with the transistor in his hand at
their matches throughout the season.

Maxwell Cherry

Max umpired the 1958 TFL Senior Grand Final and is another of our life
members. These days Max is better known as Tasmania’s leading athletics
coach. You will mainly see him around the Lindisfarne or Geilston Bay areas
when he does not have any cross country running commitments.

Wayne Coombe

Wayne is currently assistant goal umpires coach and had previously been a
senior boundary umpire in Launceston before switching to field and goal
umpiring. Wayne umpired a number of TFL senior finals in the mid 1990s as
a goal umpire. I have sat with Wayne at the football and he does not miss a

Robert Drummond

I suspect that Bob is one of the longest-serving observers our Association has
ever had. He was made a life member in 1989 and I can remember him
observing in the early 1990s when I was starting out. I am told that he was a
senior field umpire back in the days of the one umpire system. I must confess
that I do not know a lot about Bob’s career because I never had the
opportunity of umpiring with him. You will generally see Bob walking
around the boundary of the Geilston Bay Oval.

Brendan Griggs

Brendan will be out and about at the football most weeks wherever there is a
good game to be found Brendan was a former TFL senior field umpire and
umpired the TFL Reserves Grand Final in 1994. Prior to that, Brendan had
umpired a number of senior country grand finals. He was one of the very few
umpires I have encountered who actually knew the name of every player on
the ground – and I suspect he still does.

Andrew Hogan

Andrew goal umpired the 1995 and 1997 TFL Senior Grand Finals and
recently retired as goal umpires coach. Andrew has spent many years sitting
next to Murray Bird at VFL Matches and his knowledge of boundary
umpiring would surprise most of you. Andrew will still be observing VFL
football this season and so I suspect his appearances at local matches will be
rather limited.

Michael Kelly

In his early days Michael ran the boundary before switching to field
umpiring. He umpired the 1987 TFL Senior Grand Final with the legendary
“Smokey Dawson” and was also the Emergency Field Umpire for the 1990
TFL Senior Grand Final. Michael then started his coaching career in 1991 and
has coached for the best part of that period until his retirement in 2004. He
has guided the careers of some of our best young umpires and is still now fit
enough to umpire senior football.

David Knowles

David umpired TFL Senior Football in 1990 and 1991 before suffering a
career-ending injury in Round 9 of 1991 having umpired all 9 senior games
that year. David was boundary umpires coach in 1996 and has served as an
assistant coach under Murray Bird for about 5 seasons where he was terrific
with the younger umpires. You will mainly see David at Kingborough
matches as he lives in the area.

Leigh Johnson

“Johno” as he was commonly known as was my first coach when I started in
1990. He was coach of the Hobart boundary umpires in 1990 and 1991 before
becoming the state coach in 2002. He retired from coaching at the end of that
season. Leigh umpired over 100 TFL senior matches (which is a milestone
very few people achieved – the record was only 180 odd matches until the late
1990s) and a number of interstate matches. I never saw him umpire but have
heard stories about how he knew every short cut in the book. Johno will
mainly watch matches in the Brighton area when he is available.

Haydn Nielsen

Haydn boundary umpired the 1969 and 1970 TFL Senior Grand Finals and
also the 1986 TFL Senior Grand Final as a field umpire. He coached the field
umpires in the early 1990s and was also a State marathon champion. Haydn
still keeps himself very fit and you will see him at DOSA matches this season
where his son plays in the senior team.

Graham O’Byrne

Graham was an outstanding boundary umpire and a lot better than some of
his counterparts in Melbourne. Graham umpired the 1985, 1986 and 1992 TFL
Statewide Grand Finals. He went field umpiring for a few years in the late
1980s and probably cost himself a few more grand finals. I know he umpired
at least two AFL senior roster matches in 1992 and also a number of Ansett
Cup matches. He was the true all-round umpire.

Craig Thorp

Craig is a former field umpires and development coach. He ran the boundary
during the 1980s before becoming a field umpire. Craig has spent many
seasons coaching umpires and his reports are very detailed and thorough.
You will see him out and about at many matches throughout the season with
Mike Kelly.

Robert Webb

Bob Webb’s career is very similar to Gary Braithwaite although he did not
start quite so early. Bob was a very experienced and capable field umpire. I
know he umpired the 1991 Huon Senior Grand Final which was regarded as
the best appointment outside the TFL. He also umpired at least one Amateur
Senior Grand Final and then repeated similar feats in the goals about 6 or 7
seasons later. In fact, I believe both he and Gary Braithwaite umpired
multiple Huon Senior Grand Finals in the goals.

Graeme Williams

Graeme was a former senior boundary umpire during the late 1970s and early
1980, and state boundary umpire coach in 1990. He is now heavily into
swimming and triathlon coaching but will still be seen at a few games at
Triabunna throughout the season.

                       CHAPTER 12

When do we train?

Tuesday and Thursday nights.

Where do we train?

Domain Cross Roads Oval (until first week of April) and then at the Domain
Athletic Centre.

The first Tuesday night of each month (commencing in April) will be at a
football oval – hopefully North Hobart Oval. Further details will be provided.

One coloured team will train at the Aquatic Centre each Tuesday night
on a rotating basis (also commencing on the first Tuesday of April).

Please refer to training programs in this manual.

What time do we start & finish?

Training is conducted between 5.30pm and 6.45pm.

Do I have to “report” to anyone when I arrive?

No. Just sign the “training attendance sheet” located on a clipboard in the
change rooms and place any details of your unavailability or injuries on the
same sheet (at least nine days before the date you are unavailable on).

What do we do at training?

See programs set out in this manual.

What do I need to bring to training?

Running gear (shorts, t-shirt and running shoes), waterproof jacket, tracksuit
(to warm up and down in during winter months), drink bottle and your
whistle (both nights).

                            CHAPTER 13
                      IMPORTANT CHANGES IN 2007

Every alternate Tuesday night (starting on Tuesday 10th April 2007) we will be
training at North Hobart Oval instead of the Domain Athletic Centre.

Nine (9) days notice needs to be provided of any unavailability. You must tell
both Graeme Hamley and myself in writing.

There is a new minimum standard or benchmark which has been imposed on
all umpires this season. See chapter with this heading.

You need to bring your whistle and tracksuit to training on both Tuesday and
Thursday nights. You also need to collect your appointment slip on a
Thursday night or have someone collect it on your behalf. I will not be
collecting them for you. It is your responsibility to sort it out with Graeme.

Umpires no longer decide which side of the ground they will start on. This is
due to the large number of observers we have and the fact they will have
difficulty trying to work out who is who. The umpire with the earliest
surname in the alphabet starts on the major scoreboard side of the ground. If
the scoreboard is located behind the goals (ie Cygnet – you start on the
grandstand side instead).

If there are three boundary umpires appointed to the one game, the AFL
system applies. The umpire on the non-interchange side of the ground runs
the entire quarter on that side and the other two umpires interchange at the 14
minute mark of the quarter. This is how it works:
       Qtr Full qtr          1st 14min    2nd 14min
       1      #1             #2           #3
       2      #2             #3           #1
       3      #3             #1           #2
       4      #1             #2           #3

After throwing the ball in, you need to move to the long side of play unless
you believe you can get to the post before there is a score.

In the earlier draft I did refer to a new procedure on signalling to your partner
after a goal had been scored on the run. Throughout the summer people were
getting themselves confused and therefore we are now reverting back to how
we did it last year.

                              CHAPTER 14
                         APPOINTMENT PROCESS

I am responsible for appointing you to all roster matches and finals. However
all appointments still need to be approved by the Regional Umpires Coach.

If you are dissatisfied with your appointment please come and speak to me
about it immediately. I will be more than happy to sit down with you and
discuss it.

I intend to finalise the appointments on a Thursday night (ie 9 days before the
match) and to check with Paul and the other observers on Sunday morning
about whether any changes need to be made based on performances at the
weekend. The appointments will then be emailed to Tony Gibson and Graeme
Hamley on Sunday and announced at the start of training on a Tuesday night.

It is therefore absolutely crucial that you inform both Graeme Hamley and I if
you are unavailable to umpire on either a Saturday or Sunday by 7pm on the
Thursday night in the week prior to your match (ie 9 days notice).

Ultimately I would like to announce draft appointments fortnightly in
advance but history tells me this may be doomed to failure. I will therefore
wait and see how we go but you will get sufficient notice of a senior game to
be played on either Saturday night or Sunday. There will be a few of these

I intend to appoint umpires in a similar way to the system adopted by the
International Cricket Council. When determining which umpires will umpire
a particular match, the following criteria and considerations will apply:

   •   The best available umpires for the match.
   •   Better performing umpires will be used more often.
   •   Frequency of individuals appointed to the same teams.
   •   Traveling (particularly for those who have expressed it to be a
   •   Workload considerations.
   •   On-field performance.
   •   Attendance at training and coaching sessions.
   •   Performance at training.
   •   General attitude towards umpiring.
   •   Compliance with the “minimum benchmark”.

Because we are now                                      providing umpires for
the VFL and due to the                                  difference of quality
between             that                                competition and our
premier league, I need                                  to treat premier league
senior football in the                                  same way as the
former TFL Statewide                                    League and really
place an emphasis on                                    earning a spot at that
level. I need to be able                                to prepare umpires
who can step up to VFL level and can realise their dream of umpiring AFL
Football. You will really need to earn your spot at premier league senior level.

I believe our standards in Hobart have slipped over the last 10 seasons and
we have clearly fallen behind the quality of umpires being produced in
Launceston and perhaps on the north-west coast as well. Let us take an
example. In 1995 there were three boundary umpires in Hobart under 13
minutes for 4 km – last season there was only one and that was by a few
seconds only. In 1995 there were also about eight boundary umpires under 14
minutes – last season there was only two and one of them just made it.

Let us take a further example. In 1996 or 1997 there was a boundary umpire
who ran about 12.45 for 4km, could read the play very well and had a strong
throw. All round, he was a very good boundary umpire. He comfortably ran
out an AFL practice match yet never managed to go beyond a colts grand
final. Today, he would almost be a dead certainty for a premier league senior
grand final if he was still umpiring.

We need to catch up to where we were.

Whilst you need to do some things as a team on the field, at the end of the day
you are competing against your partner – and in some cases for the same
grand final. I believe there has been a tendency in recent years to simply run
along at the same pace as your partner without really challenging one another
to see who can get to the post first.

I recently had a look at the SFL Roster and noticed there are only 144
umpiring spots at premier senior level for the entire home and away season.
There are 18 rounds and 8 umpires are required each round. For example, if
12 umpires only did 12 out of 18 matches (66%), then the 144 spots would be
all filled. People in the past have complained that they do not get much of a
go at this level. Perhaps you can see now how difficult it can be to get a
decent go at this level. There is clearly a balancing act where there is a need to

reward the better performing umpires against the need to reward younger
umpires and introduce them to this level.

I would like to see a few umpires step up this season and get their first
premier league senior game and those that have umpired two or three in the
past do a few more. But this will depend on how well you are umpiring
because I do not believe in giving them away. It is up to you to umpire so well
that you simply can not be overlooked.

At this point in time I propose to have in the back of my mind an elite group
of perhaps 10 -12 umpires who will do a considerable number of matches at
this level and a supplementary group of perhaps 8 or so umpires who will
slot in as well. Those names will change as the season progresses due to
people umpiring well and others unfortunately struggling.

Considerable thought will be given to the nature of each particular match. For
example, you would not expect to be umpiring Glenorchy v Clarence at KGV
in the seniors on your debut nor would you expect to be umpiring a match of
that quality if you were not fit. There were some umpires last season who
could handle a Lauderdale v Brighton match quite comfortably but would
have been out of their depth in a Glenorchy v Clarence game due to the size
of the ground and the speed and skill level of the players.

Your attendance and performance at pre-season training together with your
willingness to umpire pre-season matches and perform well in those matches,
will play a large part in determining who will start not only in premier senior
matches but other senior games in general.

                         CHAPTER 15

The time has now come where we need to impose a minimum standard or
benchmark which umpires will need to meet in order to be appointed to a

There has been a tendency amongst a small number of our younger boundary
umpires to:

   •   Pull out of matches on a Thursday night with no genuine reason.
   •   “Secretly” swap their games amongst their friends.
   •   Never turn up to training or do nothing when you arrive.
   •   Walk constantly in their matches when not appearing fatigued.
   •   Wearing the wrong uniform or a whistle around their neck etc.
   •   Refusing to do their accreditation.

Others have tolerated it but I will not and I do not care whether we have
enough umpires. I would much prefer to give someone two games or for a
club president to be told that he or she will need to get a kid to run the
boundary for a pie and a can of coke on the weekend.

I will not hesitate to leave someone on the sidelines – I did so in 1999 when I
was previously coach and the problem ceased immediately.

All that happens when we send out umpires who have not reached a
minimum level is that the TFLUA gets a bad name, the umpire gets abused
and clubs become disgruntled because they are paying to receive a sub
standard service. No one benefits in this situation. The TFLUA is a service
provider to football clubs where a service is provided in return for a sum of
money. As a form of employer there is an obligation to ensure that umpires
do some form of “basic induction” before they go out “into the workplace”.
We can not take money off the clubs unless the service they receive is
adequate. If the service is inadequate then the supply should be ceased until it
is fixed.

I am no fool. I realise that the money in umpiring is rather poor when you
consider what goes into a two hour performance of a weekend and the cost of
petrol and gear etc. I also realise that some of you are simply umpiring to help
out, for the friendships or a bit of fitness. This is exactly what I have done
over the last few seasons and I have no problems at all with you doing that
providing you meet this minimum standard.

The minimum standard or benchmark must therefore not be too high but be
something which everyone can achieve if they are prepared to make the
effort. If you do not make the effort you will not get there. My view is that the
only way you could fail to achieve this minimum level is if you “do not give a

Therefore in order to get a game you will need to:

   •   Attend training at least one night each fortnight.
   •   Train properly whilst you are there.
   •   Make a genuine effort to run and keep up with play in a match.
   •   Properly read this booklet and follow your coaching instructions.
   •   Complete any accreditation course you have been asked to do.
   •   Provide me with at least nine (9) days notice of your unavailability to
   •   Not withdraw from your matches unless there are exceptional

Six things – that is all.

                              CHAPTER 16
                 2007 PRE-SEASON TRAINING PROGRAM

I have already set the pre-season training program for Tuesday and Thursday
nights. This period runs from Tuesday 30th January 2007 until Thursday 5th
April 2007. The venue will be the Domain Cross Roads Oval (unless notified
otherwise) and training will take place between 5.30pm and 6.45pm. You will
need to arrive at about 5.15pm so you are changed and ready to start
warming up at 5.30pm.

There is still an important emphasis on fitness however you will find that
training is more practical and focused on teaching you how to become a good
umpire. It is therefore important that you try and get through the running
component of the training as quickly as possible so there is sufficient time left
for drills etc. There is not a lot of running but the intensity will be higher and
the recoveries shorter.

You will also need to remember your whistle, drink bottle and a tracksuit.

On Tuesday nights during the preseason field and boundary umpires will run
together before separating to do their own drills.

Warm Up

The warm up each night is always the same: 1200m slow jog, stretches as a
group, 4 x 50m run throughs and 30 sit ups and 30 push ups. The aim of the
run throughs is to increase your pace over the 50 metres and to do each run a
little quicker than the previous one.

Warm Down

The warm down each night is always 800m followed by stretches as a group.

Tuesday 13th February 2007
  • Shane Stewart will set this training.
  • Centre square drill.
  • Touch Football match.
  • Throw ins.

Thursday 15th February 2007
  • 4 x 400m relay (everyone to run x4).
  • 4 x 150m relay (everyone to run x4).

   •   Out of bounds drill.
   •   Cricket.
   •   Throw ins.

Tuesday 20th February 2007
Time Trial:
   • 1 km (3 minute recovery from 4 minute mark).
   • 3 x 200m (3 minute recovery between each one).
   • 5 minute break.
   • 1 km (3 minute recovery from 4 minute mark).
   • 3 x 200m (3 minute recovery between each one).
   • 5 minute break.
   • 1 km .
   • Throw ins.

Thursday 22nd February 2007
  • 10 x 60m @ 90% (walk back recovery).
  • Point post drill.
  • Cricket match.
  • Throw ins.

Tuesday 27th February 2007
  • 800m @ 70% (400m jog recovery).
  • 600m @ 70% (200 m jog recovery).
  • 400m @ 70% (200m jog recovery).
  • 400m @ 70% (200m jog recovery).
  • 600m @ 70% (400m jog recovery).
  • 800m @ 70%.
  • Throw in drill.

Thursday 1st March 2007
  • Various runs timed by whistle.
  • Backwards running.
  • Ball relay drill.
  • Throw ins.

Tuesday 6th March 2007
  • 4 x 800m @ 70% (400m jog recovery).
  • 4 x 300m @ 70% (200m jog recovery).
  • Family Favourites.
  • Signals drill.
  • Throw ins.

Thursday 8th March 2007
  • 6 x “Goat Track” (hill between entrance to wireless tower road and
     junction at top of same road).
  • Centre square drill.
  • Cricket match.
  • Throw ins.

Tuesday 13th March 2007
  • 2 x 1km @ 70% (400m jog recovery).
  • 5 x 400m @ 70% (200m jog recovery).
  • Out of bounds drill.
  • Touch footy match.
  • Throw ins.

Thursday 15th March
  • 3 x 800m @ 70% (400m jog recovery).
  • 6 x 200m relay (everyone to run x6).
  • Point post drill.
  • “Classic catches”.
  • Throw ins.

Tuesday 20th March 2007
  • Soldiers Walk to Cenotaph (return by handicap).
  • 5 x 300m @ 70% (jog back recovery).
  • Family Favourites.
  • Throw in drill.

Thursday 22nd March 2007
  • 6 x 150m @80% (150m slow jog recovery).
  • 10 x 60m @80% (slow jog back recovery).
  • Ball relay drill.
  • Touch football match.
  • Throw ins.

Tuesday 27th March 2007
Time Trial:
   • 1 km (3 minute recovery from 4 minute mark).
   • 3 x 200m (3 minute recovery between each one).
   • 5 minute break.
   • 1 km (3 minute recovery from 4 minute mark).
   • 3 x 200m (3 minute recovery between each one).
   • 5 minute break.
   • 1 km.
   • Throw ins.

Thursday 29th March 2007
No running.
  • Coaching – to be taken by Paul Bidgood (30 minutes).
  • Cricket Match.

Tuesday 3rd April 2007
  • Training at North Hobart Oval – to be confirmed.

Thursday 5th April 2007
  • 2km loop.
  • 4x200m@80% (200m slow jog recovery).
  • 10x60m @80% (walk back recovery).

                             CHAPTER 17
                 2007 IN SEASON TRAINING PROGRAM

The in season training program covers the period between Tuesday 10th April
2007 and Thursday 23rd August 2007. A further program for the finals period
will be released later in the season.

It is expected that we will move to the Domain Athletic Centre in the first
week of April 2007. I only intend to use the actual track every second Tuesday
night (North Hobart Oval in the other week) and for all Thursday training to
occur on the grass area inside the track. It is a long time to September and
there have been far too many lower limb injuries in the last few seasons. I
believe the track has been the major culprit. The warm up and warm down
will be the same all season with only a subtle change on a Tuesday. This will
be as follows:

Warm Up
  • Walk one lap on the grass.
  • Slowly jog three slow laps on the grass as a group.
  • Stretches.
  • 30 sit ups.
  • 30 push ups.
  • [4x50m run throughs on track – Tuesday only].

Warm Down
  • 30 sit ups.
  • 30 push ups.
  • Slowly jog two laps on the grass.
  • Stretches.
  • Walk one slow lap on the grass.

Program 1 - 10th April and 5th June.
   • Note: on 5th June everyone will be at North Hobart Oval – to be
   • Red Team @ Aquatic Centre.
   • 2 x 1km @ 70% (400m slow jog recovery).
   • 1 x 800m @ 70% (200m slow jog recovery).
   • 2 x 600m @ 70% (200m slow jog recovery).

Program 2 – 12th April, 7th June and 2nd August.
   • 5 laps on grass – stride straights and jog/backwards bends.
   • Out of bounds drill.

   •   Centre square drill.
   •   Throw ins.

Program 3 – 17th April, 12th June and 7th August.
   • Blue Team @ Aquatic Centre.
   • 4 x 800m @ 70%(400m slow jog recovery).
   • 2 x 400m @ 80% (200m slow jog recovery).

Program 4 – 19th April, 14th June and 9th August.
   • 10 x 60m 80-90% (jog back recovery).
   • Signals.
   • Throw Ins.
   • Touch Football Match.

Program 5 – 24th April, 19th June and 14th August.
   • Green Team @ Aquatic Centre.
   • 6 x 300m @ 80% (100m slow jog recovery).
   • 4 x 150m @ 80% (slow jog back recovery).

Program 6 – 26th April, 21st June and 16th August.
   • “5 Hats Running Drill” – see diagram.
   • Forward line drill.
   • Back line drill.

Program 7 – 1st May, 26th June and 16th August.
   • Gold Team @ Aquatic Centre.
   • 8 x 200m @ 80% (200m slow jog recovery).

Program 8 – 3rd May, 28th June and 23rd August.
   • “Family Favourites”.
   • Team relays.
   • Touch Football Match.

Program 9 – 8th May and 3rd July.
   • 8th May – “mystery training session”.
   • 3rd July – everyone at North Hobart Oval – to be confirmed.

Program 10 – 10th May and 5th July.
   • 5 laps on grass – stride straights and jog/backwards bends.
   • Throw in drill.
   • Whistle blowing drill.
   • Throws.

Program 11 – 15th May and 10th July.
   • White Team @ Aquatic Centre.
   • 10 x 400m @ 80% (400m slow jog recovery).

Program 12 – 17th May and 12th July.
   • 10 x 60m @ 80-90% (jog back recovery).

Program 13 – 22nd May and 17th July.
   • 1 x 1km @ 90%
   • 3 x 200m @ 90%
   • 1 x 1km @ 90%
   • 3 x 200m @ 90%
   • 1 x 1km @ 90%

Program 14 – 24th May and 19th July.
   • “5 Hats Running Drill”.
   • Ball relay drill.
   • Reporting drill.
   • Throw ins.

Program 15 – 29th May and 24th July.
   • Rest Night.

Program 16 – 31st May and 26th July.
   • Coaching Session & Video Presentation.

                     CHAPTER 18

I am absolutely convinced that most of you believe Paul Bidgood is
unbeatable. That is not the case. Symon Bird and I have knocked him off his
perch before as has Graham O’Byrne, Mark Guy, Damon Marsh and Peter

Paul has had a magnificent career to date with eight senior grand finals but it
is about time someone decides to take a stand this year and claim his number
one spot. It is not healthy for one person to have been dominating for so long.
I have spoken to Paul about this and he agrees. It has now become a challenge
for him to see how long he can stay on top.

I am willing to buy a carton of Crown Lager for the umpire who knocks him
off the number one spot this year. If Paul retains the title then my bet will be
safe and he will need to buy his own beer. If Paul is injured or unavailable the
bet is null and void.

Good luck!

                               CHAPTER 19
                              STARTING OUT

As an umpire you will generally start in the SFL Regional League Colts
(9.30am start) or the Old Scholar Reserves (12 noon start). These are
approximate times. Games go for between 1.5 and 2 hours. The vast majority
of matches are played on Saturdays and it is only the older and more
experienced umpires who may find themselves umpiring 2 games on the
same day, although it is possible for you to do a game on Saturday and
Sunday if you wish. If you are very fortunate you could find yourself starting
in the SFL Premier League Colts. The general “pecking order” of
appointments during the home and away season is as follows:

   •   SFL Premier League Seniors
   •   SFL Regional League Seniors
   •   Old Scholar Seniors
   •   SFL Premier League Reserves
   •   SFL Regional League Reserves
   •   SFL Premier League Colts
   •   Old Scholar Reserves
   •   SFL Regional League Colts

There has always been a little bit of controversy over this categorisation. I
believe that is the most appropriate order based on the “average” type of
match during the season. I say “average” because I have no doubt that the
best two teams in the SFL Premier League Reserves would produce a quicker
game than either the SFL Regional League or Old Scholars and that game
would generally be played on a bigger oval (particularly Bellerive, KGV or
Boyer). But, on the other side of the coin, the other senior competitions
produce bigger crowds and some would say more pressure (particularly SFL
Regional League), play longer quarters (Old Scholars have been known to
have 40 minute last quarters) and is the preferred choice of appointment for
the more experienced umpire. That is why I have rated them on average
ahead of the SFL Premier League Reserves. The same argument could
perhaps be applied to the two best teams in the SFL Premier League Colts.
When the top 2 or 3 teams meet in the SFL Premier League Reserves or Colts
you will generally find that the top umpires will do those games when rotated
out of the Premier League Seniors. That may take the form of a Premier Colts
and Regional Seniors in the same day or as a single reserves match.

The opportunities for umpires are now better than it has ever been in the past.

                                CHAPTER 19

The foods you consume each day have two important functions. They must
provide all of the essential nutrients required by the body in the correct
quantities for good health. They must also provide enough energy to meet the
demands of training.

To obtain all the nutrients essential for good health, foods need to be selected
wisely. The healthy diet pyramid below illustrates the different groups of
foods and the relative proportions in which they should be consumed.

This illustration is a guide only and may not suit some individuals.

There are key nutrients which are of particular importance to umpires. They


It has been well established that one of the limiting factors to endurance
exercise is the depletion of muscle glycogen stores. Depletion of glycogen
stores results in fatigue and ultimately exhaustion. The body uses two sources
of fuel to varying degrees during exercise - these are fat stored as adipose
tissue and carbohydrate stored as glycogen.


An adequate protein intake is essential to your muscle tissue repair as well as
many other metabolic functions. The amount of protein required each day
varies from individual to individual however most umpires will require
approximately 1.2–1.6 g of protein per kg body weight. These requirements
can easily be met by the regular consumption of lean meat, poultry, fish as
well as eggs and low fat dairy products. Good plant sources of protein
include nuts, seeds and legumes such as lentils and soy beans.

Post Match Eating and Drinking

An area previously neglected is post game recovery. It is therefore important
that you consume carbohydrate as soon as practicable after the match has
finished. The easiest way of doing this will be in the form of fluids — for
example 1–2 cans of soft drink, 3–4 glasses of strong cordial or 2 glasses of
*Exceed High Carbohydrate Source. This should be followed by a high
carbohydrate meal that evening. In addition you should remember to re-
hydrate with plenty of water.

Alcohol & Tobacco Smoking

Alcohol consumption and tobacco smoking can impact on your performance
and contribute to poor physical fitness and poor health.

Sun related issues

You need to be proactive to minimise the risk of sun related damage to your
skin. That can be achieved by protecting yourself from the sun with
appropriate clothing including cap and the application of sunscreen at
training and during matches.

                             CHAPTER 21

When you exercise in hot conditions you can loose 230ml of fluid every 15
minutes and it important to quickly replace the lost glycogen, sodium,
potasium and magnesium etc. I have always found sports drinks to be better
than plain water for a number of reasons:

   1.   You absorb them quicker.
   2.   They contain minerals.
   3.   They will boost your energy.
   4.   They taste good.

There are a number of sports drinks on the market: Gatorade, Powerade,
Staminade, Lucozade and Exceed etc. The majority are already pre-mixed in

You should avoid using any carbonated or fizzy drinks during exercise as
these are likely to upset your stomach.

Thirst is a poor indicator of fluid needs. The trick is to drink before you feel
thirsty. You must get into the habit of regularly consuming water before,
during and after training and matches. The best fluid during training sessions
is cool water. During matches you will benefit from a commercial sports drink
which provides carbohydrate and fluid in a rapidly absorbed form. Failure to
consume fluids can lead to dehydration will not only adversely affect your
performance but can also be very dangerous.

Fluid replacement routine

   •    Drink 500ml (2–3 glasses) half an hour to one hour before a game.
   •    Drink 200ml (1–2 glasses) every 20 minutes during a game.
   •    Drink 500ml to 1 litre (5–6 glasses) after a game.

Assess your fluid requirements

Assess your fluid requirements by weighing yourself before and after exercise
or sport:

   •    1 kilogram lost = 1 litre of fluid lost
   •    2 kilograms lost = 2 litres of fluid

If you have lost weight, increase the amount you drink throughout the game
the next time you umpire. If you lose 5 per cent of your body weight, serious
heat injury can occur (e.g. if you lose 3.5kg when your bodyweight is 70kg).

Symptoms of heat injury or heat stroke

Symptoms include:

   •   Fatigue
   •   Nausea
   •   Headache
   •   Confusion
   •   Light-headedness.

These indicate that you should stop, drink more fluids and cool down. Seek
medical treatment if these symptoms do not improve rapidly. Also remember
to keep an eye on your partner or team-mates who may not realise they are
suffering from dehydration or heat stress.

Take extreme care if exercising for more than 30 minutes in very hot weather
(more than 34°C).Dehydration, heat and sun injury can be prevented and
should be part of your pre-activity plan.

Emergency plan

   •   Lie the victim down.
   •   Loosen and remove excessive clothing.
   •   Cool by fanning.
   •   Give cool water to drink if conscious.
   •   Apply wrapped ice packs to groins and armpits.
   •   Seek medical help.

What to wear

   •   Wear light clothing — light in colour, light in weight.
   •   Wear a hat or visor.
   •   Wear a 15+ sunscreen to prevent skin damage and skin cancer.
   •   Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes.

                                  CHAPTER 22

There is a lot I could say about stretching but you all have a general idea of
why we need to stretch and some of the stretches we do. I will therefore talk
about the basic guidelines of stretching and then outline the stretches you
need to do.

Stretching guidelines

   •   You should be thoroughly warmed up before performing these
   •   Stretch to just before the point of discomfort.
   •   The feeling of tightness should diminish as you hold the stretch.
   •   Breath out into the stretch. Avoid breath holding.
   •   Hold each stretch for 10-30 seconds.
   •   If tightness intensifies or you feel pain stop the stretch.
   •   Shake out limbs between stretches.
   •   Complete 2-3 stretches before moving onto the next exercise.

Types of stretches

Stretch #1 – Shoulder & Chest
This can be performed kneeling or standing. Clasp hands behind back and
straighten arms. Raise hands as high as possible and bend forward from the
waist and hold.

Stretch #2 – Arm Across Chest
Place one arm straight across chest. place hand on elbow and pull arm
towards chest and hold. Repeat with other arm.

Stretch #3 – Triceps Stretch
Place one hand behind back with elbow in air. Place other hand on elbow and
gently pull towards head. Hold and repeatwith other arm.

Stretch #4 – Glute Stretch
Sitting on floor with right leg bent, place right foot over left leg. Place left arm
over right leg so elbow can be used to push right knee. Hold and repeat for
other side.

Stretch #5 – Adductor Stretch
Stand with feet as wide apart as is comfortable. Shift weight to one side as
knee bends. Reach towards extended foot and hold. Repeat for other side.

Stretch #6 – Single Leg Hamstring
Place leg out straight and bend the other so your foot is flat into your thigh.
Bend forward from the waist keeping your back flat. Hold and repeat with
the other leg.

Stretch #7 – Standing Quadriceps
Standing on one leg grab the bottom of one leg (just above ankle). Pull heel
into buttocks and push the hips out. Your thigh should be perpendicular to
the ground. Hold and repeat with the other leg.

Stretch #8 – Standing Calf
Place feet in front of each other about 18 inches apart. Keep back leg straight
and heel on the floor. Push against a wall to increase the stretch. Hold and
repeat with other leg.

                                  CHAPTER 23
                                BASIC FIRST AID

Acknowledgement: The material in this chapter has been sourced from Sports
Medicine Australia.



Place yourself in a comfortable position. Keep the injured area supported.
Avoid using the injured area for at least 48 –72 hours as continued activity
will increase bleeding and damage.


Apply ice to the injured area for 20 minutes, every two hours for the first
48 –72 hours after injury. Ice reduces swelling, pain and bleeding. Ice can be
used in the following ways:

      •   Crushed or cubed ice in a wet towel or plastic bag frozen pea packet in
          wet towel.
      •   Cold pack wrapped in wet towel.
      •   Icy or cold water is better than nothing.

Caution: Do not apply ice directly to skin.


Apply a firm wide elastic bandage over the injured area as well as above and
below. Where possible hold ice in place with the bandage and not your hand.
Between ice treatments maintain bandage compression. Applying a bandage
will reduce bleeding and swelling and also provides support for the injured
area. Caution: Ensure the bandage is not too tight. Some signs of the bandage
being too tight may include numbness, tingling or skin becoming pale or blue.
If these symptoms and/or signs develop remove the bandage and reapply
again firmly but not as tightly.


Raise the injured area above the level of the heart at all times. A pillow can be
used to provide support and comfort. Elevating the injured area reduces
bleeding, swelling and pain.


As soon as possible after injury arrange to see a qualified health professional
such as a Doctor or Physiotherapist. This will determine the extent of your
injury and provide advice on treatment and rehabilitation required.


No heat

Applying heat to an injury increases bleeding. Avoid hot showers or baths,
saunas, spas, hot water bottles, hot liniment or heat packs.

No alcohol

Alcohol increases bleeding and swelling which delays healing. It can also
mask pain and severity.

No running

Running or exercise increases blood flow to the injured site. This can make the
injury worse and delay healing.

No massage

Massage or the use of heat rubs increases swelling and bleeding.


Early and correct use of RICER and NO HARM factors is essential for the
initial management of a soft tissue injury.

RICER &NO HARM should be continued for 48 –72 hours.

Nobody likes being on the sidelines as a result of injury. The best way to
recover from any soft tissue injury is by using the RICER and NO HARM
injury management approach. They help to prevent further damage and

will mean less time away from umpiring.

The first 48 –72 hours are vital in the effective management of any soft tissue

Soft tissue injuries refer to all ligament sprains, muscle strains and muscle
bruises (corks etc) and most bumps and bruises which occur in sport. The
immediate treatment is RICER. RICER should be initiated immediately after
injury and continued for 48 –72 hours. To ensure a successful recovery, NO
HARM factors should also be followed in conjunction with RICER.

                            CHAPTER 24


Modern football is based on moving the ball quickly and you must be
physically conditioned in order to achieve the best position from which to
adjudicate. As a person becomes physically fatigued their concentration level
drops as does their capacity to perceive events. The higher the level of fatigue
the greater the drop in concentration.

The overall aim of training is to adequately prepare you to carry out your
duties as efficiently and effectively as possible without undue fatigue.

In order to achieve the above mentioned aim training is based on a number of

Objectives of your program

These objectives are as follows:

   •   Specificity - where training is specifically         designed for the
       requirements of boundary umpiring.
   •   Progressive Overload - where the training load, both quantity and
       intensity, is increased progressively in relation with the umpires ability
       to cope.
   •   Optimal Fitness - achieving the highest level of fitness as a group and
       as individuals.
   •   Prevention of Injuries - where adequate measures are taken to
       minimise the occurrence of injuries.
   •   Skill Development - running backwards, throw in techniques.
   •   Whole Body Development - the conditioning of the trunk and upper
   •   Agility - improving the ability to achieve correct positioning quickly.

Four training phases

The training program has four distinct phases, each one having a different
emphasis and with each preceding phase as a preparation for the next.

The phases are:
   •   Foundation
   •   Pre-season
   •   In-season
   •   Active rest


Pre-season training should begin in January and continues until the opening
round of the home and away games. Pre-season is the hard slog training
where the emphasis is on:

   •   Specificity of training
   •   Progressive overload
   •   Developing aerobic endurance
   •   Developing anaerobic endurance
   •   Improving flexibility
   •   Conditioning of the trunk and upper body
   •   Skill development throw ins and running technique
   •   Agility

During this phase of training there is a change from the general aerobic
conditioning of the foundation phase to very specific training for field
umpiring. Training in terms of quantity, intensity and duration at least
matches and often surpasses the upper demands made on field umpires by
the game. Aerobic endurance is also further developed by the inclusion of
long runs. Anaerobic endurance is developed by the use of an interval
running program as part of training. Development of anaerobic endurance
occurs by increasing the number of repetitions and by also reducing the
recovery time between each repetition.

The pre-season should consist mainly of the following:

   •   Long Runs

   •   Repetition Runs (800 and 400 metres)
   •   Time Trials
   •   Stretching (before and after training)
   •   Reducing recovery rate between repetition running
   •   Run throughs


Peak fitness for umpires should be reached by the first game of the year at the
end of pre-season training. The objectives of in-season training are:

   •   Maintaining levels of fitness reached during the pre-season phase
   •   Prevention of injuries
   •   Variety of training

During the season training is directed at the maintenance of aerobic and
anaerobic endurance fitness rather than further development. This is achieved
by two nights of training where Tuesday is the hard night and Thursday
training is the lighter so that the umpires are fresh for Saturday’s games.

Active Rest

During this period you should not do any running. Cross train instead.

                        CHAPTER 25

The Do’s and Don’ts

   •   Don’t start training without a full medical check up.
   •   Don’t attempt to run through an injury.
   •   Do dress correctly. Layer your clothing and do not wear dark colours
       at night. Use a light and some reflective material.
   •   Don’t run in worn out shoes.
   •   Do tell someone where you are going for a run and what time you
       expect to return home.
   •   Do a walk to start with and some light stretches early in your run.
   •   Do watch out for cars – do not expect drivers to keep a lookout for you.
   •   Do include a training partner in your programme.
   •   Don’t wear headphones (or at least not in both ears) when running
       outside. You loose the awareness of your surroundings – dogs, cars,
       bikes and criminals.
   •   Don’t run in remote areas by yourself – especially if you are female and
       that includes two girls running together.
   •   Do include a training partner in your training program.

Basic running technique

Should be comfortable – not too long. Umpiring is odd because the better
runners seem to be judged on how quick they look. People with a shorter
stride tend to look quicker than those who take longer strides.

Should move beside your body and not directly across it. There should be an
80-90 degree bend at your elbow so that you are neither running with your
hands around your face nor like you are attempting to remove something
from your pocket or to milk a cow.

Should not be too tight or too open. Pretend that you are holding a bird in
your hand. Too tight and it will die. Too loose and it will fly away.

Should be relaxed and not hunched up as this is an indication of fatigue.

Should be straight and still – not wobbling from side to side as if you are on
the stage at a rock concert.

Body posture
Should be relatively upright – not as if you are leaning backwards or
doubled-over at the waist.

The key is to be efficient and look refined.


The first thing you need to do is learn about “pronation” – the movement of
your feet when you walk or run.

There are three basic types:

   1. A high arch means you may be a supinator – that means your feet roll
   2. A normal foot means you are a normal pronator.
   3. A flat foot means you may have a tendency to overpronate – that
      means your feet have a tendency to roll in.

Pronation is a good thing as your feet need to move in order to absorb the
shock of impact. It is a bad thing when this movement is excessive.

Determining your foot type

In order to work out what foot type you, simply wet your foot and place it on
a flat, dry surface – a piece of paper on a hard wood floor will suffice.

Getting the right shoe

Running shoes are generally straight, semi-curved and curved.

Most experts tend to be believe that overpronators should wear a shoe with a
straight last, supinators should wear a shoe with a curved shape and normal
pronators should wear a shoe with a semi-curve.

Work out your budget

Or perhaps your parents already have a budget in mind for you! Ideally you
need two pairs of shoes for umpiring – one to train in and to use in most of
your matches – and another pair called “boots” to use in wet weather. I
purchased my boots in 1997 and still have them now because I would be
lucky to have umpired in them any more than thirty times.

You must have a pair of boots. If you have a black pair of football boots at
home I am happy for you to wear them at all levels except premier seniors
(the AFL Umpires did it in 1996 and we now wear black shorts anyway). If
you can only afford one pair of shoes go for something like a grass cat or a
touch football shoe – something comfortable to run in but with a decent grip
on the sole. The reason I say two shoes is because grass cats are not good on
the track or out on the road.

Ideally your umpiring shoes should be predominantly white and certainly
clean but I don’t want umpires discarding perfectly good shoes in order to go
out and buy a pair that are mainly white.

Whilst shoes are very important, I also do not want people blowing their
budgets on them or parents ringing up to say their son or daughter said they
had to have these particular shoes. You should be able to pick up a decent
pair under $150.00.

Visit a specialist shoe store

I have always found Paul’s Warehouse (Main Road Moonah) to have a good
range and be reasonably priced. Neil Sargison (a medium sized guy with red
hair) is very helpful and has been running a long time. Make sure you tell him
you are a boundary umpire because he will be able to sell you something

Make sure the shoe fits you properly

Fit and comfort is more important than the latest technology and what your
friends are wearing.

Here are some other tips I have found to be helpful over the years:

   •   Shop late in the afternoon when your feet are at their largest (they will
       expand when you run).
   •   Take a pair of your umpiring socks along.
   •   Make sure the sales person measures both feet.

   •   You should not be able to push the back of your shoe in with your
   •   The shoe should not bend in the middle – only the front 1/3.
   •   The front side of the shoe should not bend any more than 45 degrees.
   •   Check for adequate room at the top of your shoe by pressing your
       thumb into the shoe just above the largest toe. The edge of your thumb
       should fit between your toe and the end of your shoe.
   •   Your heel should not slide up and down.
   •   The shoe should not press too tightly on any area of your foot.
   •   Take your shoes for a test run around the shop or down the street if
       you are allowed to.

Once you find a shoe that works for you stick with it.

                               CHAPTER 26

Attitude is an important characteristic of people and can have a significant
impact on the umpiring environment. Our attitude is something that we can
control. We can decide how we project that to others. Our attitude will
influence the manner in which people relate to and respond to us.

A positive, enthusiastic and responsible attitude towards umpiring can be
demonstrated in the ways set out below.

At Training Sessions/Coaching Sessions/Match Day

   •   Accepting responsibilities
   •   Actively encouraging others
   •   Receiving and discussing feedback
   •   Ensuring umpiring tasks are completed to schedule and to the required

Boundary Umpires have a responsibility to present on match day in a
professional manner. This will earn them the respect of officials, coaches,
players, spectators and their umpiring colleagues. You should remember that
first impressions are often lasting impressions.

Behaviour and appearance in the extreme does not create a good impression.
Best results are achieved by staying within the "expected norm" - not too
conservative but not too radical either.

It is important to remember that the majority of football officials,
administrators, coaches, umpires' advisers, observers and board members are
generally from an older generation and they are the people who could have a
significant influence on your career.


You are expected to have a clean and neat uniform and equipment.

Your uniform will reflect who you are as an umpire. Remember the old
saying – if you are not an umpire at least look like one.

It is important to remember that the match you are officiating in is the most
important match that day to those participating in it.

Interpersonal Skills

Effective interpersonal skills are attributes which are common to successful
umpires. Examples are:

   •   Courteous
   •   Good listener
   •   Clear speaker
   •   Acknowledge others
   •   Respect others’ opinions
   •   Project positive body language

Interpersonal skills are demonstrated when communicating, relating and
interacting with other people. The people umpires mostly interact with on a
match day are the other umpires and officials, players, coaches and Club

                               CHAPTER 26
                            DECISION MAKING

The “four step” process

I have always held the view that decision making is a four step process. Those
steps are:

   1. You have to know the law/rules before you can even step out on the
   2. You then make your decision – essentially, that will be either to blow
      your whistle or “let it go”.
   3. If you have decided the ball is out of bounds, out of bounds on the full
      or there is a centre square infringement, you need to “signal” your
      decision to the field umpire.
   4. Finally, you need to carry out that decision either by throwing the ball
      back into play or moving into position for the next act of play.

To take the above point a step further, you only have to blow your whistle
when one of three things has happened:

   1. The ball is out of bounds.
   2. The ball is out of bounds on the full.
   3. A player has entered the centre square illegally.

Decision making is by far the most important area of your umpiring. It is the
only thing both the players and spectators want you to get right. It does not
matter if you are the fittest and fastest boundary umpire going around if you
regularly get your decisions wrong. You will find that your decision making
will become easier, more confident and accurate as you umpire more games.

It is worth remembering that everyone has had to start at the beginning and
have had to encounter the same issues. The simple fact is that all umpires
make mistakes – even grand final umpires in the AFL. I expect you to make
mistakes because I know that I will if umpiring this season. Obviously the
better umpires make fewer mistakes and can get all of their decisions in
match correct. I really do not care what mistakes you make at the start of your
umpiring career so long as you learn from them and try hard.

Some tips on better decision making

The majority of mistakes seem to be made due to poor concentration and not
by failing to know the laws/rules. I suspect that may be different for field
umpires as “their rules and interpretations” are far more complex.

It seems there is a greater tendency to make a mistake at either the start or
end of your match due to not being switched on or fatigued.

You need to be in the correct position to make an informed decision rather
than a guess. We are not in the business of guessing. The correct position is on
the boundary line 5-10 metres from the contest – not backing off towards the
fence. Alternatively, when caught some distance behind play, move out wide
to the fence so that you can get a better view of play down field. It creates a
different angle which enables you to see better.

Look to the goal umpire for assistance. In the majority of instances they will
come out and signal to you when they can see you have been caught out or
are unsure.

Also look to the field umpire particularly when the ball has gone out of
bounds on the full. Sometimes they will signal the direction of the free kick
before you have even finished signaling.

Unless you are absolutely confident that the entire ball was completely over
the line allow play to continue. It can be difficult determining whether the ball
has gone out of bounds when the player is running away from you and
carrying the ball in front of his stomach. In country football there are some
very large stomachs to see around.

If you are unsure whether the ball came off the knee or just below it, say it
came of the knee because this is the lesser of the two (see special signal for

If you are unsure whether the ball bounced on the line or just over it, say it hit
the line because this is the lesser consequence of the two.

If you are unsure whether a player illegally entered the centre square, give
them a warning. The majority of players will thank you for it.

One of the easiest things to do, and particularly in the early years of your
umpiring career is to anticipate the ball going out of bounds by raising your
whistle and arm before the ball has crossed the line. Everyone has done it.

This is particularly damaging because the crowd is likely to notice and accuse
you of making a mistake. But there is a little trick to avoiding this. One day
when I was at the MCG I noticed a three time AFL Grand Final boundary
umpire pinching the bottom of his shorts when the ball was close to the line in
order to stop himself anticipating. It is very difficult to do on the run but easy
when you are stationery or moving at slow speed. Give it a go – it certainly

It is a confidence thing. If you look confident and that you know what you are
doing, you are less likely to come under criticism.



The ball is out of bounds when it completely crosses the boundary line or hits
the behind post providing it has touched the ground or a player.

If any proportion of the ball is on or above the line it is still in play.

There are a number of other occasions when the ball is out of bounds which I
will explain shortly.


Blow your whistle loudly and raise one arm straight up next to the side of
your head. Your hand should be open and not clenched. The blowing of your
whistle and the raising of your arm should occur at the same time.

The only person you are signaling to is the controlling field umpire. You need
to look at that person when signaling. An exception is when two players cross
the line together with the ball – in that case you should keep an eye on the
players to make sure no reportable offence is detected.

Hold the signal for 2 seconds.

If you are within 15 metres of the ball when it goes out of bounds you should
be signaling whilst moving sideways along the boundary line and facing into

If you are not within 15 metres, you can keep running whilst signaling. But
remember to keep your signal sharp and look towards the field umpire.


After you have signaled to the field umpire that the ball has gone out of
bounds, they will then do one of three (3) things: tell you to throw the ball in;
pay a free kick or fail to see your signal.

Field umpire tells you to throw ball in

Before you turn to pick the ball up have a quick glance for a reference point of
where the ball crossed the line – an advertising sign on the fence or a car is
ideal. Sometimes the ball is kicked away and players will usually try and tell
you the ball crossed the line further down the ground or closer to goal.

If the ball goes either over the fence or under it and you can not reach it, ask a
spectator or a player to retrieve it for you. Under no circumstances do you
climb over the fence or leave the playing arena. The reason is in order to
avoid injury and for your own personal safety. You will receive a bit of
criticism for not getting the ball but you can generally solve that by saying
something like “we are not allowed to leave the playing area”; or “we get
dropped to the reserves if we climb the fence”; or my favourite “we are not
insured if we climb the fence – what is the world coming to”. This has got
many a laugh.

You should always to check to see if the field umpire is in position before you
go to throw the ball in.

Field umpire pays a free kick which overrides your decision – you then just
assume your normal role

Field umpire does not notice your signal and play continues

In that case you run after the field umpire continuing to signal out of bounds
and blowing your whistle (perhaps louder this time).

If a goal has been scored, it is worth remembering in case the field umpire can
not, that the score can be cancelled at any time prior to the ball being bounced
in the centre again.

Other out of bounds situations to remember

Playing on outside the boundary line from a free kick

If a player takes a free kick outside the boundary line and his intention is to
play on between the man on the mark and the boundary line (ie to not head
directly back into the field of play) you should signal out of bounds. However
you can not do this until after the field umpire has called “play on”. This is
absolutely crucial. If the field umpire does not call play on you can not signal
out of bounds.

Player takes kick outside field of play and ball does not completely cross back
over the boundary line into play

In this instance the throw in occurs at the spot where the ball was kicked not
where it ends up.

Defensive player takes kick outside boundary line and kicks ball into the back
of the behind post

He simply gets another kick. You do not need to do anything other than to
perhaps remind the field umpire what the rule is.

Player takes kick outside boundary line and kicks ball into man on mark

He receives another kick in this situation as well.

Field umpire bounces ball out of bounds without being touched by another

The ball is bounced again. You do not need to do anything – except to stop
laughing at the field umpire perhaps.

Dispute between boundary and goal umpire over whether a behind was
scored or the ball was out of bounds

In this instance the decision of the goal umpire will prevail. Any difficulties
can be overcome by remembering this rule and by effective verbal
communication between boundary and goal umpire.

Dispute between boundary and field umpire over mark or out of bounds

The decision of the boundary umpire will prevail in this instance. If the field
umpire pays a mark and you believe the ball was not appropriately controlled
within the field of play, the boundary umpire should signal the ball out of
bounds and run towards the field umpire in order to discuss the situation
with him.



The ball is deemed to be out of bounds on the full when it is kicked and
completely crosses over the boundary line or hits or goes straight over the top
of the behind post without touching the ground or a player.

If the ball hits an umpire it is simply “play on” – ie you just ignore it.

A kick is defined as the ball making contact with a player completely below
the knee.

There are further instances when the ball is deemed to be out of bounds on
the full which I will discuss shortly.


Raise both arms so that your hands are in front of your mouth and that your
elbows are pointing out and at the same level.

Blow your whistle loudly and then extend both arms straight out side ways.

Again, your signal should be directed into the field of play and you should be
moving side ways along the boundary line looking at the field umpire in
control of play.

Hold the signal for two seconds.

After signaling

After the field umpire blows their whistle for the free kick you need to
indicate to the field umpire the spot where the ball crossed the boundary line.

You only need to do this if you are within 15 metres of the spot when you
signal. You indicate the spot simply by pointing to the ground and then
backing off in the direction of the kick for the next act of play.

You need to look at the field umpire to make sure they see where you are
indicating but also keep an eye on the ball as some players tend to play on
pretty quickly providing they are behind the mark when they do so.

Remember the saying – “blow, show and go”.

Other instances of out of bounds on the full

There are two other instances when the ball is deemed to be out of bounds on
the full. They are:

      1.     When the ball is punched over the boundary line on the full by a
             player either at a boundary throw in or field bounce. The ball is
             deemed to have gone out of bounds on the full and that
             indication is given.

      2.     When a player kicks the ball in after a behind has been scored
             and it is not touched by any player before going out of bounds.
             The ball is also deemed to be out of bounds on the full and this
             indication should be given.

             I note that this rule does not apply in the instance when the
             player taking the kick out elects to kick the ball to himself and
             the field umpire calls play on.

             If a player manages to just get his hand to the ball before it goes
             over the line, you obviously signal out of bounds but also
             signaled touched so people know what has happened.



No player or team official shall enter the centre square from the time the field
umpire commences his or her approach to the centre circle to bounce the ball
until such time as the football hits the ground when bounced or leaves the
field umpire’s hand if the ball is being thrown up.

The best way to understand this concept is that the centre square is “locked”
from the moment the field umpire steadies himself and starts his approach to
bounce until the ball hits the ground or leaves his hand if thrown up.

I have never been able to find the definition of entering the centre square – ie
whether or not your entire foot must be over the line. I suspect it probably
does but it does not matter because you do not need to be that technical.

I must say that I was formerly quite “hot” on centre square infringements but
have changed my view in recent times. In the days of the former TFL
Statewide League you were marked out of 100 and a missed centre square
infringement was worth about a twenty point deduction. Very costly.

If it is obvious and a player is gaining a distinct advantage (ie anything about
a metre or more) they need to be pinged. Otherwise a warning is a better way
to proceed. Common sense must prevail. What I have tended to say in recent
seasons every time I am on the corner of the square is “watch the line fellas –
don’t jump in”. Players will tend to respect you for saying things like that. We
should all get ourselves into this habit as I suspect the word will get around
the clubs pretty quickly that we are going to be watching out for it.


Blow your whistle and with an outstretched arm point to the goals of the
team who entered the square illegally.

After making your decision you should be backing off in the direction of the
free kick at the same time.

You should also yell out the number and team of the player who offended
proving you can see their jumper.

Situations you will encounter & the answers to them

Player/official pushed in

If a player or official pushes an opposing play or official inside the centre
square, it is a matter for the field umpire to award a free kick. If they do not, I
would probably give the player a warning that you will be tempted to do it
next time. That will generally call a halt to the pushing.

Player/official making a genuine effort to quickly exit the centre square

I would let that go because they are disadvantaging themselves. The field
umpire can always pay a free kick if they wish to for five players in the

Five players/officials inside square

An alert boundary might tell the field umpire but it is not our role to count
the players inside the centre square or to award a centre square infringement
in that instance.

Two opposing players/officials simultaneously entering the centre square

This has actually happened to me twice. The field umpire will simply bounce
the ball again and the square is again “locked”.

                                CHAPTER 28
                            MATCH MANAGEMENT

Dress to and from ground

The public has a certain expectation of umpires and the majority of senior
club officials are from the old school jacket and tie mindset. However those
days have long passed and the number of spectators at Queenborough with
their tweed jackets, Labradors and Land Rovers seems to be on the decline!
All that is required is a neat and tidy dress – no tracksuits or thongs. I would
prefer a casual pair of trousers to jeans at premier league senior level.

Wears clean and predominantly white shoes during match

If your shoes are becoming grey or faded, Kiwi White Shoe cleaner will bring
them back to life.

If you have already umpired a game that morning it is useful to carry an old
toothbrush in your bag to wash the mud off the outside of your shoes and to
clean mud off the soles (for traction not aesthetics).

Ensure socks are pulled up at all times

The new type of socks we have seem to automatically keep themselves up.
But on the off chance you are having trouble keeping your socks up you can
try a pair of gaiters or electrical tape (you hide it by folding the top of the sock
over it).

Ensure shirt is tucked in at all times

The new draw string shorts keeps your top tucked in most of the time so it
should not be a problem. If you do experience problems you can try tucking
your shirt into your underpants. If that does not work you can use two safety
pins to pin your shirt to your underpants.

Wears at least one white sweat band

You are only required to wear one white sweat band (most umpires prefer to
wear two). You must wear a sweat band on the hand you signal out of
bounds with – the reason being so the time keeper can see your hand.

No jewellery

Players are not permitted to wear jewellery during a game and therefore the
same should apply to umpires. The only exception is a wedding ring.

You should also avoid the temptation of wearing a watch under your sweat
band. It is a distraction and the moment you glance at it is the moment you
will miss a report or something important. Some Old Scholar matches tend to
have 40 minute quarters for no apparent reason and therefore a watch will be
of little assistance to you in that situation – it will only lead to frustration and

Makes reports when appropriate

Before you can step out on the field you must learn the types of reportable
offences. Otherwise you will get yourself into trouble because you will see
something and then wonder, first, whether it is reportable and, secondly,
what type of report should be made.

There are two categories of reports. Those that are “red card” offences and
those that are yellow card offences.

Anything involving an umpire, kicking or a serious act of misconduct is a red
card. The player or official is not allowed to return to the field for the
remainder of the match. All other reports are yellow card offences.

Field umpires are the only umpires who are allowed to carry these cards. You
therefore need to inform a field umpire whenever you make a report.

I have extracted the information below directly from the Laws of Australian

19.1.1 To Controlling Body”

An Umpire shall report to the Controlling Body any Player or Official who
commits or engages in conduct which may constitute a Reportable Offence:
(a)during a Match; or
(b)on the day of the Match and within the immediate proximity of the Arena
where the Match is conducted.

19.1.2 Interpretation — “Within the Immediate Proximity of the Arena ”

Without limiting their ordinary meaning, the words “within the immediate
proximity of the Arena ” shall include any area within 500 metres of the
Arena where the Match is conducted.

19.1.3 Other Appointed Persons

In addition to an Umpire, a Controlling Body may authorise a person or
persons to report any Player or Official who commits or engages in conduct
which may constitute a Reportable Offence. Any person so authorised shall
have the same powers and duties as imposed upon an Umpire under this Law

19.2.1 Degree of Intent — Clarification

Where any of the Reportable Offences identified in Law 19.2.2 specify that
conduct may be intentional, reckless or negligent:

(a)any report or notice of report which does not allege whether the conduct
was intentional, reckless or negligent shall be deemed to and be read as
alleging that the conduct was either intentional, reckless or negligent; and
(b)the Tribunal or other body appointed to hear and determine the report
may find the report proven if it is reasonably satisfied that the conduct was
either intentional, reckless or negligent.

19.2.2 Specific Offences

Any of the following types of conduct is a Reportable Offence:
(a)intentionally, recklessly or negligently making contact with or striking an
(b)attempting to make contact with or strike an Umpire;
(c)using abusive, insulting, threatening or obscene language towards or in
relation to an Umpire;
(d)behaving in an abusive, insulting, threatening or obscene manner towards
or in relation to an Umpire;
(e)disputing a decision of an Umpire;
(f)use of an obscene gesture;
(g)intentionally, recklessly or negligently:
(i)kicking another person;
(ii)striking another person;
(iii)tripping another person whether by hand, arm, foot or leg;
(iv)engaging in Time Wasting;
(v)Charging another person;

(vi)throwing or pushing another Player after that Player has taken a Mark,
disposed of the football or after the football is otherwise out of play;
(vii)engaging in rough conduct against an opponent which in the
circumstances is unreasonable;
(viii)engaging in a melee, except where a Player ’s sole intention is to remove
a team mate from the incident;
(ix)kicking or otherwise causing the football to hit any part of a stadium roof
’s structure; or
(x)spitting at or on another person.
(h)attempting to kick another person;
(i)attempting to strike another person;
(j)attempting to trip another person whether by hand, arm, foot or leg;
(k)intentionally shaking a goal or behind post when another Player
is preparing to Kick or is Kicking for Goal or after the Player has
Kicked for Goal and the ball is in transit;
(l)wrestling another person;
(m)using abusive, insulting, threatening or obscene language;
(n)failing to leave the Playing Surface when directed to do so by a
field Umpire;
(o)wearing boots, jewellery and equipment prohibited under Law 9;
(p)any act of misconduct.

19.3.1 Reports During Match

(a)Where an Umpire reports a Player or Official during the course
of a Match, the Umpire shall use his or her best endeavours to
inform the Player or Official of the report:
(i)at the time of the incident;
(ii)before the commencement of the next quarter; or
(iii)where the incident occurs in the final quarter, after the
completion of the Match.
(b)The Umpire shall use his or her best endeavours to inform the
person against whom a Reportable Offence has been committed
of the report (if applicable).
(c)An Umpire may inform the captain, acting captain or Official of
a Team of a report where it is impracticable to inform the Player
or Official who has been reported.
(d)Apart from informing a Player or Official of the report, an Umpire
shall not speak with the reported Player or Official or any other
Player or Official about the report which has been made.

19.3.2 Completing Notice of Report

(a)During the Match or after the completion of the Match, the
Umpire shall complete a notice of report in the form prescribed
by the Controlling Body.
(b)Each Controlling Body shall adopt rules which prescribe the
procedures for the lodgement and notification of notices of report.

Good umpires are never afraid to make a report. In fact, your umpiring career
can be progressed on the making of an important report. There is nothing
worse from a coaching or Association point of view to wake up on Sunday
morning and read a story on the back page of the paper involving some
player getting carted off to hospital and no reports being laid by the umpires.

Here are a few tips on observation that may assist you:

   •   Be alert and always expect the unexpected.
   •   There is “usually” one reportable offence in each match [I do not want
       you to go out looking for reports but rather to remember that they are
       out there].
   •   Glance back to the spot where the ball was kicked from after it travels
       down field as this is where a lot of reports seem to take place
   •   When there is a field bounce or your partner has a throw in, have a
       quick look up and down the ground.
   •   After taking the short leg on the ball relay and you are standing on
       your corner waiting for play to restart, glance back to the goal square
       to make sure the full forward has not lost his teeth.
   •   The same applies when you have the long run on the ball relay and are
       waiting for your partner – do not just focus on your partner waiting to
       get the ball from some three year old kid who has had six attempts to
       kick the ball back over the fence or to make sure the field umpire has
       seen your signal and is standing on the correct side of the centre circle
       – look beyond him to see what the players are doing in the far end 50m
       area. The same applies to glancing back over your shoulder after you
       have reached the long corner of the centre square following the run
   •   Always think “If I were a player when would be the best time for me to
       job someone”.

Please do not fall into the common trap of thinking “Oh, I don’t think I will
report that because some one else has”. This is nothing short of a cop out. You
have an obligation to make appropriate reports. I would be extremely angry if
you took this approach when one of your fellow umpires had been assaulted

or threatened. That is one occasion when you need to work even closer as a
team and go into bat for your colleagues as you would want them to do it if
you were the victim. In fact, if you are ever involved in a match where one of
your fellow umpires is assaulted or seriously threatened, I want you to ring
me on my mobile so I can make sure the report forms are completed correctly
before you leave. If you can not get hold of me, telephone the regional
umpires coach or one of the other coaches. We do not want these type of
reports being thrown out.

I will refer to the reporting and tribunal process later in this manual.

Speak to players to defuse potentially volatile situations

You would be surprised at what a few firm but well directed words can do to
stop a potentially volatile situation from becoming an incident or even a
report. It is best to get in and stop it before it starts. Some may take the view
that this should be left to the field umpires. Whilst you certainly should not
take on the role of a field umpire, they do have a lot to deal with and they
may be considerably less experienced and confident than what you are.

Some words of wisdom may be “easy fellas – let’s not do anything silly” or
“I’m watching you two guys – don’t get yourself reported”.

Inform goal umpire when arriving at behind post

All you need to say is “here John” or “here Phil”. You must use verbal
communication rather than a signal.

Some goal umpires will acknowledge you verbally but the majority will
provide physical confirmation by sticking their hand out by their side.

If the goal umpire does not hear you keep telling them you are there until
they hear you.

Do not do what I did one year in a country match and tap the goal umpire on
the shoulder because I was annoyed at him refusing to acknowledge my
presence on the post. It frightened the hell out of him and he turned around
with a clenched fist! Dangerous stuff.

It is particularly important to make sure you tell the goal umpire that you are
on the behind post when he or she has their back to you when play is in the
opposite pocket. You will nearly see them breath a sigh of relief when you call
out because they know you have that area covered. This is why it is important
to get into the post quickly when play is close to goal in the opposite pocket. It
is also likely to result in the goal umpire looking out for you when you get
into difficulty more frequently than they otherwise would.

Inform goal umpire when departing post

You simply say “gone”. Obviously you do not wait to receive the

Communicating with goal umpire – “yours” and “mine”

Good communication with your goal umpires is vital. You should always say
“yours” to the goal umpire whenever the ball goes through between the goal
and behind posts.

You should always say “mine” to the goal umpire when the ball goes out of
bounds or out of bounds on the full and you are either on or in close
proximity of the behind post.

Remember - the goal umpire is the sole judge of whether the ball is either a
behind or out of bounds.

Assisting goal umpire when unsighted, unsure or wrong decision is made

Umpiring is about team work. There will be occasions in your umpiring
career when a goal umpire will be unsighted, knocked over, unsure of the
score or makes an error. We are all human. It is therefore important that we
help each other out.

There are generally three occasions when this is more likely to happen:

   •   Ball is on the ground in the goal square and amongst a few players.
   •   Ball drops short and goal umpire is either knocked out of the way
       getting to the line or can not get to the line in time.

   •   Ball is in opposite pocket within close proximity to goal – quick snap
       across the face of goal.

This is when you should be concentrating more and be prepared to render
assistance if required.

In the event you believe the goal umpire has made an error you want to be
absolutely certain before you go over and speak to him or her. If you are
wrong, you are the one likely to be dropped and not the goal umpire. Believe
it or not but this happened to me two days after this coaching direction was
made. It was a senior game at KGV and the boundary umpires coach was
sitting right behind the goals. The ball was kicked quickly across the face of
goals through for a behind. The goal umpire moved up to the line and
signalled a goal. I went over and told him that it was a behind. Fortunately I
was right and it had me in the coach’s good books for a little while longer.

You must back yourself if you are absolutely certain that you are right. It is
likely to be something which will either make or break your season. That is
the type of strong umpire we need come finals time.

                                 CHAPTER 29

You will note that the basic out of bounds signal, out of bounds on the full
signal and centre square infringement signal has already been discussed in
the chapter on decision making. But there are a few other variations on these
signals which I now need to tell you about.


Your signals should be confident, clear and precise. They should look
polished but not flamboyant.

I suggest that you practice all of your signals in front of a mirror so that they
become perfect.

Strong signals are one of the easiest things to get right. They make a
significant difference to your umpiring because they show that your are
confident and that you know what you are doing. This is very important
when you have a close decision to make. If you happen to make the wrong
decision but your signal is firm and confident the crowd may think twice or
not take issue with it - you may even be able to bluff the observer too!

If you are going to blow your whistle – blow it long and strong.


Off hands

Normal signal – then tap the back of your raised arm three (3) times. Do not
over do it. You don’t need to do this signal whenever someone handballs the
ball over the line. It is only required when a player kicks the ball and it is
touched in transit before going out of bounds.

Off knee (or leg above the knee)

Normal signal – then raise knee and tap it three (3) times. You tap your knee
with the same hand you signal with.

Off behind post

Normal signal – then tap outside of post three (3) times. You tap the post after
you have signaled and you use the hand closest to the post.

Off hands and behind post

Normal signals as explained above but you tap your hand first and then the


I have already dealt with these two signals under the heading of decision
making and they do not contain any variations on the basic signal.


Arms crossed slightly above your head.


When neither boundary umpire is on the behind post and a goal has been
scored, the umpire who intends to collect the ball shall signal his or her
intention to their partner by extending their inside arm out next to their body
(level with their hip). This indicates to their partner that their partner will be
doing the long run.


The person who intends to collect the ball will tap the side of their leg three
(3) times and the person who is to do the long run will confirm by extending
their arm out by their side (level with their hip).

You should get into the habit of signalling to your partner before the ball is

As a general rule, if the ball is going to go through the goals on an angle, it is
usually the closest umpire to where the ball is likely to land who collects it.
But you need to work together as a team and share the workload. The top
class umpires can easily handle four long runs in a row.

                                  CHAPTER 30
                                  THROW INS

Out of bounds/throw in procedure

       1.     Signal ball out of bounds looking at field umpire.
       2.     Obtain confirmation from field umpire that you can throw the
              ball in.
       3.     Retrieve ball.
       4.     Stand on the boundary line and line yourself up with the centre
       5.     Check that the field umpire is in position before your throw the
              ball in.
       6.     Throw the ball in.
       7.     Move to the long side of play or behind post.


Different people have different techniques which can produce the same result.
The following technique worked for me:

   •   Stand with your toes just touching the inside of the boundary line.
   •   Feet should be shoulders width apart.
   •   Hold the ball with the lace facing you. Your middle finger should run
       straight down the seam and the knuckle on that finger should be
       directly over the “intersection” of the seams.
   •   Your other hand is placed on top of the ball to steady it.
   •   You then take the ball from waist level – up to your face – then down
       to the ground so your knuckle flick the grass – and then up again so
       that you release the ball somewhere about in line with your eyes [you
       will work that out for yourself after many practices]. If the throw is flat,
       you are releasing the ball too late. If the throw is too high and short,
       you are obviously releasing the ball too early.

   •   After you release the ball you should be looking up at the sky directly
       above your head.

“Bowling technique”

It seems that not all “chuckers” live on the subcontinent.

There is a growing trend for boundary umpires to bowl rather than throwing
the ball in. This is likely to result in an illegal throw because you are required
to throw the ball directly over your head – not over your shoulder.
Now is the time to work on it and get it right.


Wherever you are positioned on the ground the ball must be thrown in a
direct line with the centre circle – not to the centre corridor of the ground.

To get your direction right you will need to position your feet correctly on the
boundary line.

It is particularly important to get your direction right when throwing the ball
in close to the behind post. There is nothing worse than throwing a goal – ie
throwing the ball to the top of the goal square to the waiting rover.

You never allow for the wind in terms of your direction. Always throw the
ball towards the centre circle – if the players are smart enough they will soon
work it out for themselves.


The ball should be thrown between 3-5 metres in height. What I am looking
for is a nice consistent loop.

If you have a throw in front of almost all grandstands, a top class boundary
umpire should be able to throw the ball in so that it appears to rise higher
than the roof of the stand if you were watching the throw from the other side
of the ground.


The ball should be thrown in to a distance between 12 and 15 metres. The
ruckman should not be running forwards to meet your throw unless they are
standing too far back of course.

If you find your throws are falling short, come in a few metres from the
boundary line. However I would not expect to see anyone doing this in
Premier League Seniors or even Regional League Seniors in an ideal world.

Moving off after throw

Do not get caught flat footed after you throw the ball in. You should be
moving towards the long side of play either forwards or backwards. The
reason is to get into a position if the ball is punched back out quickly or for
when play moves down the ground.

If the throw is within 10 metres of the behind post you should be trying to
quickly get into the post to assist the goal umpire.

                                CHAPTER 31

Below are the running aspects you will be judged on during your match.

Start of quarter

Moves sharply from centre circle to corner of centre square.

Centre square

Move forward quickly off centre square on a 45 degree angle.

You should always run forwards off the centre square and not backwards.

It is easy to fall into the habit of running off the square with your head down.
In order to avoid this it is best to watch the ruckman contesting the ball and
try to determine who wins the tap out. This will make you keep your head

General Play

Keeps up with play at all reasonable times.

There is a yet another saying in umpiring that you ought to “keep up rather
than catch up” with play. Catching up with play is difficult. One kick behind
play can easily turn into two or three kicks.

Runs hard in all four quarters

Top class boundary umpires are able to run at the same pace throughout the
entire match. I usually found that the first twenty minutes of the match was
the toughest on my body. You need to go out hard at the start of the game
until you get your “second wind” and get through the pain barrier. Once you
get there you are generally ok for the remainder of the game. Don’t fight it or
go back into your shell because this will only make it harder for you.

There are a few of you who go out far too hard at the start of your match and
tire badly in the last quarter. Others tend to take it easy in the first and third
quarter and save themselves for when they believe an observer may be
watching. Well, under the arrangements I have in place this season, you will
have to run hard all game because you will have people dropping in to watch
you for 15 minutes or perhaps a quarter and then they will leave. Most of you
will not know what they look like either. You therefore need to make every
minute count.

Reads/anticipates play

I am going to spend two pages talking about this topic because it is something
we have been doing very badly in recent years.

Reading the play is not an ability which you need to be born with – you can
learn it by properly concentrating and thinking during your match and by
watching other senior umpires in action – particularly at VFL games and at
the rare Premier League Senior match on a Sunday.

I can not stress enough how much of an advantage it is to be good at this. I
know it will give me a massive advantage if I do a few matches this season. I
might not be as fit as I would like these days but I can partly make up for that
by knowing when and where to run.

When I was younger I would travel to Melbourne to see a weekend of
football. I would always try and find a weekend when there were at least
three games being played. I would pick the matches based on who was
umpiring rather than the teams I wanted to see. I would try and find a match
where guys like Ian Green, Peter McDonald, Malcolm Owen or Alan Cook
were umpiring. If they were all in action it was virtually the perfect weekend.

I would watch the game and think where I would position myself and then
look across to see where they were. Most of the time they were not where I
expected them to be – they had already taken off and were headed towards
the behind post.

Let me tell you a little more about Ian Green. He was simply outstanding. I do
not know what his 4km time was but I suspect it would be around the 13.45 to
14.00 minute mark. The guys I umpired the 1996 TFL Senior Grand Final were
both good athletes and ran around the 12.10 mark. When Ian came over here
to train during the preseason in the early 1990s there would always be 6 to 8
guys quicker than him and he would have to work hard to keep up with the
front runners. But he would have absolutely murdered them in a match
because he could read the play and could run hard all game.

If you were a good athlete and had no knowledge of umpiring you would
probably look at the 4km time trial results of some AFL Boundary Umpires
and say “I thought they would have been much quicker than that”. But it just
goes to show that you do not need to be an outstanding runner to succeed at
that level. I have no doubt that you can be an average runner and yet umpire
the Premier League Senior Grand Final. But you will never do that unless you
can read the game properly.

Most people are reluctant to talk about this topic because they struggle to put
into words how you actually develop this skill. Here are a few tips I think you
will find useful.

Look at the difference between the two teams. Let’s say it’s 2006 and you have
been appointed to umpire Clarence v Lauderdale. Clarence are currently on
top of the ladder and Lauderdale are last. Clarence are leading by 60 points
and it is not even quarter time yet. The first mistake most of you would make
is to not change the nature of your running to take into account the flow of
play. You would tend to run the same irrespective of which team had
possession of the ball. This is the first thing you need to change. You should
be taking off before Clarence are about to take possession of the ball with a
view to getting a kick ahead of the play and beating the ball to the behind
post when it travels down the centre or opposite side of the ground. On the
other hand, when Lauderdale take possession of the ball you still need to
move down field but I would be inclined to merely stay in touch with the
play rather than to try and get ahead of it because the odds are it will be
turned over and another goal scored at the opposite end of the ground.

It helps if you know the skills and talents of particular players or at least try
and remember them throughout the match – ie who are good overhead

marks; who has good leg speed; who is a very long kick; or who loves to play
on after a mark or free kick etc. Scott Wade could not kick on his right foot
and therefore every time he got the ball and was stationery you would get
valuable metres on his long kicks because he always had to spin around to the
other side of his body before he would kick the ball.

It also helps if you know the game plan which clubs use or, more realistically,
the plan they seem to be using in that particular match. Most clubs are made
up of right footed players and will therefore prefer to take the ball into their
forward line so that the left side of their body is closest to the boundary line –
this opens up the angle for a kick at goal.

Keep an eye on the wind. This is very important. If there is a 10 goal breeze
blowing straight down the ground and the sides were relatively even, you
would be inclined to spend a considerable amount of time at that end of the
ground and not bust your guts trying to get a kick ahead of the play into the
breeze. A 40m kick can travel 60m in the wind and it is ironic how many
times the ball always seems to bounce just inside the boundary line when this
type of wind is blowing.

After you have backed out after a behind has been scored, try and keep
moving backwards so you are always on the long side of the play. A kick out
from full back is an opportunity to set yourself up for a quick goal being
scored at the other end of the ground. If the full back kicks the ball out and it
goes straight to the opposing centre half forward, what usually happens is he
will either play on for a shot at goal (in which case you wont get to the post in
time anyway) or he will go back and take his kick (in which case you’ll get to
the post anyway). That’s why I would be more concerned with the fast break
down the ground.

If the player taking the kick out decides to kick the ball to the opposite side of
the ground, this is not an invitation to stop and walk but an opportunity to
cut in towards the centre square and start moving down the ground ready to
beat the ball to the post.

In general play, if a player kicks the ball across the ground to a team mate on
his own, keep moving the down. Do not stop and wait for him to pick the ball
up. Use that as an opportunity to get yourself into position for the next act of

Quite often reading the play can be based on pure mathematics. At a contest,
if there are 3 players from one team but only one from the other team, the
odds are that the team with the more players at the contest will win the

possession. And you have an even better chance of anticipating if you know
the players involved.

When a player takes possession of the ball, look downfield at his options. Is
anyone on their own? Has someone made a clear lead?

When play is moving wide down your wing, you can even look two kicks
ahead of play. If there are players all on their own, you know you really need
to put your foot down and run hard.

Umpiring associations throughout Australia are littered with people who
were average runners but went on to become excellent or even outstanding
umpires. This is largely because they could read the play and were always in
the right spot at the right top.

If done properly this will take your umpiring to a new level. Remember this
point - reading the play well is more of an advantage to you than running
seven days per week - and you do not have to put all that extra work in either.

Keep up – don’t catch up.

Avoids excessive walking

When you begin your umpiring careers in the colts, I realise that you will
walk at times because you will not have the physical strength or endurance to
run your entire match out. I did the same thing when I started. I do not have a
problem with it at that level so long as you are walking due to fatigue rather
than laziness.

Displays strong and obvious change of pace when required

There are a number of occasions during a game when a change of pace is
required. Examples are after the ball has gone out of bounds and you are
caught some distance behind play; after a goal has been scored; a player is
about to take a set kick for goal; or when a player is running along the wing
bouncing the ball – this is when a top class boundary umpire would be able to
run alongside the player as they are moving down field.

Demonstrates strong backwards running skills

Backwards running skills are very underestimated. You need to be competent
in this skill. It requires a fluid motion, sometimes at great speed, rather than a
skipping motion. You need to practice it and to condition your muscles and

legs to what is a rather unnatural movement. Backwards running is even
more important now with the recent change in the kick in law.

Turns when appropriate and facing into play

Umpires often ask “when do I need to turn and run backwards”. The best
explanation is when you can no longer see the ball out of the corner of your
eye without pulling your shoulder backwards.

When play is on or very close to the boundary line you should turn at the
contest rather than running straight past it.

Do not forget that you need to turn facing into play rather than towards the
nearest fence.

Runs strongly to nearest field umpire at end of quarter

This is self explanatory.

Into goal

Attempts to beat ball to behind post (particularly when play travels down
opposite side of ground)

You should be aiming to be on the behind post whenever the ball goes
through for a goal. Sometimes this will not be possible for a number of
reasons. But this should nonetheless be your aim. Quite often an indication of
your talent or ability as a boundary umpire is to see how many times you can
get to the post before the ball goes through. It looks very good when you are
able to do it. It is an indication that you are on top of the game rather than the
game being on top of you. It is one of the most important running indicators I
look for.

When play travels down the opposite side of the ground or is loose on the
ground in the opposite pocket you need to get to the post to assist the goal

umpire. The quick snap across the face of goal is most goal umpires worst

Displays strong and obvious change of pace into post

There should always be a clear and obvious acceleration in your running pace
into the behind post – perhaps none more so than when a mark is taken in the
goal square. You want to make sure you are on the post when that kick is

There should be a clear change from 2nd or 3rd gear up to 4th gear. This is
another example of your opportunity to show me how good and strong you

I believe the difference between a top class boundary umpire and a very good
boundary umpire is that the top class boundary umpire will use 2nd gear less
than the very good umpire and has a greater capacity to use 4th gear more

You need to remember that the main reason for there being a coach or
observer at a match is to decide who the better umpire is – you or your
partner. Of course they are there to provide feedback and assistance but the
first thing I ask an observer is who umpired the better of the two. This then
enables me to rank umpires for the finals and to run you off against each
other to see who is best.

Whilst team work and sharing the work load is important – and it does look
good from the back of the stand when two umpires arrive at the post together
- you are competing against your partner at the end of the day – and it may be
a competition to see who gets the grand final and who misses out.

There is an old saying in umpiring that you are only as good as your partner.
I think that is total rubbish.

Turns at appropriate spot to back into behind post

I have answered this above.

Ball relay

Shares workload with partner

There is no better way to upset your partner and to get a bad name amongst
your fellow umpires than to grab all the short runs. You need to share the
workload. There will be times when you are injured or sick during your
match and you may want your partner to do most of the long runs. But they
may not be prepared to do that if you have created a bad name for yourself.

Some umpires like to take it in turns of doing one long run and then one short
run – others go two and two. It generally levels out at the end of the day.

Most of the top umpires can handle doing 4 or 5 long runs in a row.
Sometimes this happens when one team gets a purple patch and kicks a
bundle of fast goals from general play. You tend to find that if you start on the
long corner your partner will always get there before you to collect the ball. If
this continues to happen after say four goals, you should tell your partner that
you need a short run or your partner should have the presence of mind to do
the same thing to you.

If you umpire a game with three boundary umpires and use the standard AFL
system discussed earlier in this manual, I would expect the umpire who has
the entire quarter on the ground to be doing the majority of the short runs.

Waits 5-10m off goal square to start 2nd leg

This is probably the thing which irritates me the most – umpires waiting
nearly at the start of the centre square to collect the ball from their partner.
There is no excuse. It is laziness. You need to push down to the goal square to
start the 2nd leg. The earlier you change over the less likely you will be to run
out of room. You will often get players moving in front of you at the last
minute which delays passing the ball over.

Demonstrates smooth transition with ball

What I want to see is a smooth transition with the ball. Two umpires striding
out next to each other with the ball being effortlessly flicked to their partner.
It needs to be polished.

Ideally, when you have the short run your partner should be running slightly
slower than your pace when you get to him. You should be about two metres
apart and run side by side for about three seconds. When you draw level with
your partner you should say ”one, two passing now” and then you flick the
ball across to them.

Displays strong running to short corner

You need to run hard all the way into your corner – not switch the motor off
15 metres from home.

Displays strong running to long corner

The same applies here.

Accelerates after passing ball to field umpire

It looks really impressive if you can slightly increase your speed after passing
the ball off to the field umpire. It is just another of the one per centers which
can make the difference between a very good boundary umpire and a top
class boundary umpire.

                                CHAPTER 32

During general play

You need to follows play from goal to goal. You should position yourself
where you can have a good view of the boundary line but ensure that you do
not interfere with the players contesting the ball.

When play is on the other side of the ground, you can move inside the
playing area but no further than your side of the centre square.

Boundary umpires should never place themselves between the players and
the ball.

Set kick at goal

When a player is taking a set shot at goal after a mark or free kick, the
boundary umpire runs and stands behind the behind post. This allows the
boundary umpire to assist the goal umpire.

At the centre square

At the beginning of each quarter and after a goal has been scored, the
boundary umpires position themselves on diagonally opposite corners of the
centre square. They must supervise the square lines that meet at their corners.
Once the ball has been bounced or thrown in the air, the boundary umpire
moves off towards the boundary line.

General play

If you are still running towards goal when a behind is scored, you move
quickly to the boundary line and position yourself about 50 metres from the

Boundary umpires need to position themselves where they have a good view
of the boundary line but do not interfere with players contesting the ball.

After a behind has been scored from a set kick

The boundary umpire is positioned behind the behind post for the set shot.
When the goal umpire signals a point, the boundary umpire runs backwards
along the boundary line for about 50 metres.

You should make sure no one is standing behind you when you leave the
behind post and you will need to keep checking behind you when running
backwards to make sure there are no objects in your path.

You need to be aiming to be on the long side of the kick after it has been

You also need to be alert for the player lurking close to the boundary line
(about 10-15 metres out from goal) waiting to take any short pass.

Ball near boundary line

The best position is standing on the boundary line – not a metre inside or
outside the line (but note the exception below).

Maintain 10m distance on long side of play

You need to keep this buffer area between yourself and the play in order to be
prepared for a sudden change in direction and to maintain a wide vision.

Back off along the boundary line under pressure to maintain safe distance
from play

You need to stay on the line and back off along it when play closes in on you.
Never back off towards the fence because you will not be able to tell whether
or not the ball crossed the line. This sounds pretty simple but one of the best
boundary umpires we have ever had always got into this bad habit.

Run out wide to fence for better view down field

When you are caught some distance behind play your vision of both play and
the boundary line is reduced. You can off set that by moving out wide so that
you are virtually running with your elbow rubbing against the fence.

Depending on the shape of the boundary line and your distance behind play
it may enable you to get a straight line of vision on the ball and to a part of the
boundary line you would be unable to see if you remained on the boundary

Sometimes we can get caught behind play when it is not our fault. It happens
to everyone. You will not get penalised if you are making a genuine effort to
catch up or to move out wide to the fence if play is near the boundary line. It
is all about making a genuine effort to get into the best possible position to
make your decision.

Ball inside 50m area

I am about to go through a number of examples of where you should be
positioned when play is inside the 50m area. The two most important things
to remember are to use your common sense and realise your capabilities.

I could comfortably go to the behind post when most others would not dare
because I know I can back myself and I know what I can and can not do. I also
know to weight up such things as the quality of the opposition and strength
and direction of the wind. It will take you some time to learn this.

Whilst it is good to see people backing themselves by going into the behind
post, be careful not to over do it. If you stay on the post too long and miss an
out of bounds or are a long way behind when the ball sails through at the
other end of the ground – you will get knocked off by an observer.

Perhaps the best way to judge it is to remember the following expression – “if
in doubt stay out”.

Finally, just because your partner goes to the behind post does not
automatically mean that you should do same. For example, if there is a field
bounce 40 metres out from goal near your boundary line, a top class
boundary umpire on the opposite side of the ground may well go to the
behind post but you would be silly if you went and stood there as it would
simply be inviting disaster.

When to go the behind post

   •   Field bounce – 30-40m out – providing it is not too close to your
       boundary line.
   •   Throw in – on opposite side of the ground - within 40 metres of behind
   •   After your throw in if within 10 metres off the behind post.
   •   In general play when it is within 20 metres of goal [the closer it is to the
       opposite boundary line the more likely you are to go to the behind

                               CHAPTER 33
                          LEGAL RESPONSIBILITIES

Acknowledgment: I have taken the material in this chapter from a draft paper
being circulated for the new level 2 field umpire accreditation program. Apart
from being too long and detailed I do not otherwise have any problems with
the content.

All players will be affected by the actions of an umpire during the course of
the game. Therefore, the Field Umpire has a responsibility to the players to
ensure that no harm comes to them because of degree of carelessness on the
Field Umpire's part.

The complexities of the sporting environment, range of laws and related
litigation, are emerging as the new era in modern sport and along with that is
the expectation from the community that Field Umpires fully understand
their legal, and other, responsibilities for the welfare of their sport and of
those who participate.

Pleading ignorance of knowledge of rules, best practices and responsibilities,
is neither excusable nor acceptable and excerpts from the following article
entitled, "The Sports Official and the Law", a paper by James Paterson,
B.Comm. LL.B. (Hons) Grad, Dip. (Legal Practice), a lawyer with the
Australian Sports Commission, adequately describe the role and
responsibilities of the sports official (umpire).

A famous American League umpire used to wear a shirt that had the words
emblazoned across it, "Once I thought I was wrong, but I was mistaken."
Unfortunately, the umpire is not always right, and sports officials today may
be held legally responsible if they fail to act as a reasonably prudent sports
official would have, and an injury to a player results.

Whilst this increased risk of liability is a concern, it should not be seen as an
unwarranted intrusion into the world of sport, but rather, as an excellent
reason to provide a safe sporting environment for officials, participants and

It is extremely important to establish a clear awareness of the liability issues
that affect your sport. Injuries are inevitable in sport. If an injury occurs it
does not mean that a lawsuit will automatically result. However, it is a very
real possibility. It is essential that those involved in the sports industry realise

that there is no automatic legal protection just because an injury occurred in
the course of a sporting activity. As such, there is a need for an awareness that
injury-related litigation can happen in your sport. This awareness should lead
to action that will prevent injuries before they occur.

The purpose of this paper is to provide a brief summary of the general
principles of the law or torts, and in particular to examine the duty of care
placed upon sports officials to provide a safe sporting environment.

The Law of Torts - The General Principles
The law touches upon all areas of life, and sport is no exception. The
relationship between sport and the law is now more evident than ever before,
and all involved in the sporting industry, whether they be officials, coaches,
managers, players, spectators, directors or administrators, can no longer
ignore the principles of our legal system. The law of the land is all
encompassing, and the principles of our legal system do not stop at the
sidelines of our sporting fields. Civil actions in respect of sports related
injuries are the most common type of case in sports law.

So what is the Law of Torts? The law of torts simply deals with people's
wrongful acts, which cause injury or damage to other people. In a tort action,
a person who has suffered damage or loss (the plaintiff) claims that the
person who allegedly caused the injury (the defendant) should pay
compensation through an award of damages, which are assessed by the court.
Whilst the law aims to compensate the injured person, it also encourages a
safer sporting environment by deterring similar injuries by imposing legal
liability upon those who could have prevented the injury occurring. Thus, tort
liability may be seen as a legal device promoting the safe administration and
of all sports.

There are two possible civil actions that a person may bring as a result of
injuries sustained due to some sporting activity.

1. Battery or Trespass to the Person, or as it is commonly known, Assault
(which is an intentionally wrongful act): and,
2. Negligence (which is an unintentional wrongful act).

The first category of assault will only be covered very briefly as the
overwhelming majority of tort involving sport focus on the issue of
negligence. Therefore, for the most part, I will examine the tort of negligence
and how its principles apply to sports officials.

Assault and Battery
This is an intentional tort. Not only does it involve the application of force (no
matter how slight) by the defendant to the plaintiff's person causing injury,
but the defendant must have done the act deliberately. It does not matter that
the defendant did not contemplate the precise extent of the injury caused by
his or her actions.

The tort of assault involves the following three elements:
1. The direct application of forceful contact by one person on another person;
2. The absence of consent by the person who was forcefully contacted; and
3. An injury as a result of the offensive contact.

Negligence Principles
Now back to the tort of negligence. The basic principles used to govern the
required level of safety in sport are not complicated legal doctrines. Rather
they are simply principles of common sense, reason and foresight. It is vitally
important that all involved in the sporting industry have a basic
understanding of the law of negligence and how it is relevant to their sport.

Injuries occur frequently in sport. However, the mere occurrence of an injury
does not automatically provide the injured person with the ability to
successfully sue somebody. Before a court will award a person monetary
damages, the plaintiff must show that the defendant who allegedly caused the
injury, actually caused the plaintiff to suffer some harm or loss by failing to
live up to a legal duty to be careful for the plaintiff's safety. This failure to
meet a reasonable standard of care is called negligence.

Negligence is the unintentional harm to others as a result of an unsatisfactory
degree of carelessness. It occurs when a person does something that a
reasonably prudent person would not do, or when one fails to do something
that a reasonably prudent person would do. Negligence is therefore the
failure to use reasonable care.

The basic rule is that there is a legal duty to take care to avoid acts or
omissions (an omission is simply the failure to take some positive action to
prevent injury) which you can reasonably foresee as being likely to injure
someone who may be affected by your actions. For example, an official who
ignores a team captain's request to "fix" a "pothole" on a playing field and an
injury occurs to a player as a result of stepping into the pot-hole.

In determining whether a defendant has been negligent, the law has evolved
a four-tiered test, which is applied to the individual facts of each situation. An

affirmative answer to each of these questions is required for an action in
negligence to be successful:

1. Did the defendant owe a duty of care to the plaintiff?
2. Did the defendant breach that duty of care?
3. Did the plaintiff suffer damage as a result of the defendant's breach?
4. Did the defendant's breach actually cause the plaintiffs injury?

Duty of Care
Before any liability in negligence can be established, the injured person must
show that he or she was owed a duty or care by the person who caused the

A duty of care depends upon establishing some relationship or proximity
between the parties. The question the courts ask is, "whether the relationship
was such that the defendant should have contemplated that his or her
negligent act or omission could lead to the injury that resulted."

Breach of the Duty of Care
Once it is ascertained that a duty of care exists, it is necessary to determine
just how careful the defendant was obliged to be in order to see whether the
duty has been breached. The duty is not to take all possible steps to avoid
causing injury, but rather, to take all reasonable steps to do so.

Also, it must be remembered that playing sports or attending sports events
involves a certain number of inevitable risks from things like stray balls to
crashing racing cars. Where injury arises from a normal and reasonable
practice inherent in the game there will be no liability. Such incidents are
regarded as mere accidents whose costs must be borne by the injured person.
Sport often derives its value and enjoyment from its speed, physical exertion
and sometimes even violent and physical contact between participants. The
occasional accident is the price paid by the official, player, or
spectator, for the benefits of participating in sport.

So once an injured athlete successfully establishes that a sports official owes
him or her a duty to use reasonable care in supervising and controlling
athletic events, the athlete must establish an applicable standard of care and
prove that the official's conduct fell below it.

The Standard of Care
This is the most important concept in the law of negligence, and it is the issue
upon which the majority of cases are decided.

What does the concept mean? The best means of illustrating the concept is
through a detailed example based on two case scenarios. These are based on
the facts of two Canadian cases.

Case 1
A paying spectator at a stock car race was killed when one car was bumped
by another, went out of control and left the track. When hit, the spectator was
in a restricted area. Spectators were warned to stay well away from the area
by prominent warning signs, constant announcements and by security
guards. The spectator had been removed from the restricted area earlier by
security guards and told not to go back.

Case 2
This case involved an out of control car leaving the track while participating
in a stock car race. In this case, the driver lost control because of a mechanical
defect in the car, and crashed into the pit crew area, killing two people.

The two cases are indeed very similar in many respects. In both, spectators
were killed when racing cars left the track and hit them. However the
outcomes of the two cases were completely opposite.

The crucial difference between the two cases is in the efforts the defendants
had taken to prevent such an injury occurring in the first place. The
defendants in the second case had made some efforts to prevent the spectator
from being injured, but these efforts were not enough. The car driver was
negligent for driving a defective car, while the organisers were negligent
because they had failed to erect adequate safety barriers to protect the pit
area. In the first case, the efforts of the defendants were found to be sufficient
even though those efforts still resulted in death of the spectator. Here the car
driver could not prevent the accident, and the organisers had taken very
reasonable steps to protect the spectator from injury and therefore met the
legal standard of care.

"The message for those involved in sport is an encouraging one. There is a
level of behaviour that is acceptable to the courts, and if it is met, the law
protects the person who has met it, regardless of whether it has been effective
in preventing injuries or not. The law does not require you to account for the
safety of other people, but only for your own behaviour in respect to their
safety. This difference is more than legal semantics; it means that the ability to
protect yourself against legal liability lies within your own hands."

The "Reasonable Person" Test
The test that has been developed to address the question of whether or not the
reasonable standard of care has been met is called the reasonable person test
(traditionally known as the "Reasonable Man" test in Australian and English
case law). To meet the reasonable standard of care, a defendant must be
found to have exercised as much caution as the reasonable average person
would have exercised under exactly the same set of circumstances.

The problem with applying the reasonable person test is that the reasonable
person most likely knows very little about the appropriate conduct of
sporting activities. For this reason, the courts have come to modify the
reasonable person test to make allowances for specialised knowledge in
specialised fields.

The standard of care must reflect an ordinary prudent official and not merely
an ordinary prudent person. Therefore if an ordinary reasonable official
would have seen the danger and would have been capable of preventing it,
then the official in question should be held to a similar standard of behaviour.
Thus the duty of care owed by an official takes into account that they are
acting in a specialised and skilled capacity.

Thus, if the adequacy of the conduct of a professional referee during a
professional football game is at issue, the court will not apply the reasonable
person test, but rather the reasonable professional referee test.

The rule is that the more highly trained and experienced a person is the
greater the standard of care is that he or she is required to fulfil.
Unfortunately, though, ignorance of the law is not an excuse the courts will
accept. The standard of care you are accountable for rises in proportion to the
extent to which you become better equipped to meet a higher standard. It is
crucial to note that there is an absolute minimum standard of care which no
person's acts or omissions are viewed as acceptable under law, regardless of
how ignorant of the situation that person can show themselves to be. The
courts look extremely unfavourably upon defendant's who are "wilfully
blind" to their obligations at law. Part of the general duty of care which
everyone is subject to, requires you to take reasonable steps to inform yourself
about what standard of care you should be living up to.

Despite its apparent vagueness the reasonable person test does at least
establish that there is no general requirement for those involved in the
sporting industry to be careful in the extreme. The mere fact that there was
something more that could have been done to avoid the injury occurring does

not necessarily establish that there had been a failure to meet the reasonable
standard of care.

The final two requirements before negligence can be found are damage and

Unlike criminal law, which is designed to deter undesirable behaviour by
directly punishing wrongdoers, civil law is designed to compensate those
persons who have suffered some loss or harm by requiring those responsible
for that injury to pay monetary damages. Generally the damages awarded in
civil actions are not given to punish the negligent party, but rather to place
the injured person in as close a position as to what he or she was in, before the
injury occurred.

For this reason, there must have been some actual harm or loss suffered by
the plaintiff. If none has been suffered then there is nothing to compensate.

The causation requirement insists that the defendant actually caused the
injury to the plaintiff in order for the plaintiff to be successful in a claim for
negligence. The question the court will ask is.... did the negligence of the
sports official in question cause or aggravate the player's injury? If the answer
to this question is no (on the balance of probabilities) then the injured athlete
will not be able to recover damages from the official even if the official was

In most sporting cases the issue of causation is very clear cut. However the
above question is often complicated in the case of a player suing a sports
official ... the problem being that there is often intervention by a third party
such as another athlete who ends up being the direct cause of the injury.

We acknowledge the use of the article titled, "The Sports Official and the Law"
as the basis of this part of the module. The article appears in, "Legal
Responsibilities and Risk Management for Sports Officials" an Australian
Sports Commission publication. The author was James Paterson, B. Comm,
LL. B. (Hons) Grad Dip (Legal Practice), a lawyer with the Australian Sports

Umpire's Responsibilities:
What Duty of Care Do They Owe?
There is a well held but unfounded belief that sports officials are immune
from legal liability. In reality though, umpires who are responsible for

supervising a sporting event and enforcing the rules of the game can be held
legally responsible for injuries suffered by players under their control. (This
would include a Boundary Umpire where it relates to the area of the game
which is directly affected by his decisions and over which he has control).

Do not be fooled by the current lack of case law on the subject of negligent
umpires. This does not mean that a lawsuit may not result in football. Indeed
when an injury is incurred by one player because of the fault of another, and
that injury could have been prevented, but for a negligent umpire, then the
umpire can be held legally liable for the damage that results.

But I must stress that umpires are not and cannot ensure the absolute safety of
all players.... they must merely do everything reasonably possible to ensure
their safety.

On the whole then umpires have a legal responsibility to exercise reasonable
care to eliminate foreseeable hazards in the conduct of the game and to ensure
the safety of the environmental conditions under which it is played. This
responsibility is derived from both the specific rules of the sport and the
umpire's general authority to control the flow of the game itself.

The following duties have been identified as those which umpires owe to the
under their control.

Duty to Enforce Rules
Umpires have a duty to enforce the rules of the sport and to prevent illegal

Umpires cannot prevent all rule violations, and they only have a duty to use
reasonable care to see that the rules of the game including safety rules are
followed. Reasonable care consists of advising the players of adverse
conditions and illegal manoeuvres, showing due diligence in detecting rule
violations, penalising the rule breakers, etc.

If umpires overlook unsafe or improper behaviours, it is reasonable to assume
that those behaviours will continue and perhaps increase. For example, in
football the act of making primary contact with the head is both unsafe and
against the rules. A player who does this whether by intent or by accident and
does not cause injury, or, is not penalised, may well continue to do it again. If
one player appears to get away with it then others may well try. Such
oversights reduce both the safety of players and the quality of the game.
Therefore an umpire's failure to control the actions of the players

to the degree that the rules allow, can result in legal action if and when an
injury occurs as a result of inappropriate or unsafe techniques or actions.

The interesting question then is what should umpires do when their personal
judgement for preserving the player's safety in a particular situation does not
precisely follow the letter of the written rules?

The critical point is that regardless of the potential of a lawsuit, the health and
safety of the players must be the most important factor to be weighed in your
decision-making process. As the potential and likelihood and severity of
injuries increases, so must the primacy of the safety issues. An umpire who
must choose between an angry coach and a seriously injured player really has
no choice. Disagreeing with a coach may cause annoyance or embarrassment
but failure to protect the safety of the players may result in a serious and
costly litigation.

Duty to Protect Participants
As a part of an umpire's duty to provide non-negligent supervision there is a
duty to protect participants. Indeed umpires are potentially legally
responsible if they:

§ fail to stop a game when the safety of players is threatened through
  spectator violence;
§ fail to ensure proper safety equipment is used; or
§ fail to enforce safety guidelines including blood and infectious disease

But umpires cannot guarantee the safety of each player; umpires are only
under a duty to exercise reasonable care in all the circumstances to prevent
injury. Specifically, umpires do not have a duty to protect players from
dangers that are inherent in Australian Football.

Duty to Warn
There is also a duty on the part of umpires to warn players of possible
dangers. This duty can arguably be expanded to include the umpire's
responsibility of controlling the game as regards hazardous conditions and
inclement weather. For example, ceasing play during a lightning storm.

Umpires must be aware of their potential liability for ensuring that games are
played under safe conditions. Umpires have the power to postpone or
suspend a contest. Despite the tradition of playing certain sports in inclement
weather if necessary, umpires are now being sued for not postponing or
suspending a contest. Reasonable judgement is crucial in these cases.

Duty to Anticipate Reasonably Foreseeable Dangers
Umpires are also under a general duty to anticipate reasonably foreseeable
dangers. It is the responsibility of umpires to determine that the playing
conditions are safe.

The rules of football charge umpires with the responsibility for ensuring the
safety and appropriateness of the facilities and equipment used in the game.
This might entail ensuring that the equipment adheres to appropriate
specifications and standards.... that the physical layout of the area is
appropriate, and that the surface is playable and remains safe throughout the

For example an umpire would be expected to note and correct a situation
involving inadequate protective wrapping around a Boundary post, a
sprinkler in the ground exposed because of a missing cover, or, holes on the
field which may cause a broken limb.

Umpires are expected to respond to both actual and constructive notice.
Actual notice might include complaints from coaches or players about the
facilities and equipment; whilst constructive notice of reasonably obvious
deficiencies could be obtained by performing appropriate pre-game
inspection. In either case the umpire has a clear responsibility to take
immediate and appropriate actions to safeguard the players involved.

In the end it is the umpire's responsibility to decide whether the game should
start, firstly inspecting the overall playability of the playing surface. The crux
of this issue is the umpire's reasonable judgement: the responsibility to call off
a game will rest solely on the shoulders of the umpire.

Duty to Control and Supervise the Game
One other potential area for umpire liability is the failure to control and
properly supervise the flow of the game. It is the duty of the umpire to detect
and control the use of illegal and dangerous manoeuvres. However the duty
to supervise and control only requires that umpires exercise reasonable care
under the circumstances to prevent injury.

It is clear that umpires have a duty to stop the match if it appears that an
opponent is in serious danger of injury.

Whether an umpire can prevent a risk of harm resulting in a player's injury
may depend on the type of game the umpire is officiating and the extent of
the umpire's authority. In certain sports like boxing and wrestling the referee

has a greater capacity for control than some other sports. But in team sports
like football one or two umpires may find it difficult, if not impossible, to stop
fights amongst players. Perhaps only the continual failure of an umpire to
control observable and controllable player misconduct may be seen as a
breach of the umpire's duty of care.

As umpires you have ever-increasing responsibility to have liability insurance
and to properly enforce the rules of football with respect to activity between
players and the conditions of playing surfaces. If you see anything that looks
the least bit unusual, it is always better to try and remedy the situation, at the
very least call it to the attention of the relative Controlling Body.

While you can never totally prevent an injured player from suing, you can
certainly take precautionary measures to minimise the risks to players and to
you being named as defendant in a negligence suit.

Racial Vilification
It is disappointing that the practice of "sledging" has become a part of sport
and, even more unsavoury, that it has taken on racial overtones. This type of
behaviour is both intolerable and unacceptable and is to be discouraged in the
strongest terms.

With the advent of many different ethnic groups now participating in
Australian Football, there must be an awareness of State and Commonwealth
legislation that deals with harassment and discrimination, and the
responsibility of the Boundary Umpire to control it on the field in his area of

The following legislation is in place to protect peoples' rights relative to

§   the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW)
§   the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Commonwealth)
§   the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Commonwealth)
§   the Disability Discrimination Act (Commonwealth)
§   the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Act 1987

You are not expected to know each of these Acts inside out, however, there is
a duty to be aware that people have certain rights and that these should not
be infringed.

Discrimination means treating someone unfairly because they happen to
belong to a particular group of people - e.g. particular ethnic group, or,
because they have a disability, and it is often the result of prejudice,
ignorance, fear or simple naivety.

In football, a common form of discrimination is racial.

Most competitions would have a rule or policy, which addresses these issues.
If such rules or policies are in place, then you should be familiar on how to
implement them correctly.

Should your competition not have rules or a policy in place, and you come
across a situation on the field involving discrimination, you will need to
handle the incident with a common sense approach.

If, in your opinion, the incident warranted reporting a player, the report
should be under rule 19.2.2 (l) - "using abusive, insulting, threatening or
obscene language".

Just to sum up then... it is crucial today for umpires to be aware of their legal
responsibilities. The risk of injury is common, and accidents do occur where
no-one will be legally responsible. It is impossible to eliminate all the risks
involved in football short of cancelling the game altogether. However, a
number of sporting injuries are preventable by taking reasonable measures to
ensure a safe sporting environment, and a failure to take these reasonable
steps means that you can be found liable for
negligently causing the injury.

It is stressed, however, that the only duty that is placed upon you as an
umpire is to do what is reasonable in the circumstances. The Boundary of
each umpire should be to recognise and remove every hazard, which is
reasonably within his or her control. Evading the issue and/or attempting to
responsibility to others does nothing to increase the safety of participants or
absolve you of your legal responsibilities.

As people become more informed about liability concepts they often become
frustrated about, what seems to be, an increase in the breadth of their
professional responsibilities. In point of fact their responsibilities have not
increased at all. They were just as obligated before they became aware as they
are afterward. While ignorance may have seemed blissful, ignorance in no
way reduces a person's responsibility or liability exposure. Informed umpires,

however, are best able to take positive steps to reduce the risk to the player
and the resultant liability exposure to themselves.

Finally, remember that ensuring your sporting contests are conducted safely
is legally very important. But do not let this affect you adversely. Take the
initiative and implement safe practices and risk management strategies such
as appropriate levels of insurance, updating your competencies through
training, maintaining/improving personal fitness, and be satisfied that you
will be providing a safe environment for football, and reducing your risk of
liability for sporting injuries at the same time.

                            CHAPTER 34
                    WHAT TO TAKE TO YOUR MATCH

I have already dealt with your umpiring uniform in a previous chapter.

Whistle and sweat bands

The only umpiring-specific items you need to obtain yourself are an Acme
Thunder Whistle and a pair of white sweat bands. The whistle must be this
brand and have a finger grip. It can either be metal or plastic. The cost is
about $18-20.

If you have a metal whistle you should place Elastoplast tape around the
mouth piece so you do not chip your teeth. Vaseline around the mouth piece
will also make it easier to blow. Your whistle should not slide easily off your
hand. You can either place extra tape around the finger grips or tape it to your
hand. You should wear your whistle on the two fingers closest to your thumb
and on the opposite hand you use to throw the ball in.

You should run your whistle under a hot water for a minute or so before each
game. This cleans all the mud and saliva from your whistle and causes the
pea to swell and therefore produce a larger sound.

Every month or so you should rinse your whistle in boiling water containing
a mild antiseptic liquid. Do not leave it in there too long otherwise you will
ruin your whistle.

You should carry a spare whistle inside the pocket on your shorts on match

Umpiring uniform

The Executive will provide you with an umpiring shirt, shorts and socks.
Only this approved gear can be worn in your matches. The gear is not free. In
previous seasons the cost has been deducted from your match payments after
you have signed an authority. Also in previous seasons, this fee has been
refunded to all first year umpires upon umpiring again the following season.
Further details should be announced by the Executive shortly.

What to take to your match

I have placed a * next to the items that are essential – the others are optional.

   •   *Umpiring shirt.
   •   *Umpiring shorts.
   •   *Umpiring socks.
   •   *Two pairs of shoes.
   •   Towel.
   •   *Appointment slip.
   •   *Laws of Australian Football 2007 (after you get your 2007 book –
       throw the 2006 version out to avoid any possible confusion).
   •   *(2) Acme Thunder whistles (with finger grips).
   •   *Sweat Bands.
   •   *Two pens.
   •   *Note book.
   •   Vaseline.
   •   Deep heat.
   •   Band aids.
   •   Elastoplast tape.
   •   *About 1.5 litres of water [some towns have bad water and some
       ground have rusty pipes].
   •   *Spare shoe laces.
   •   Tracksuit to wear whilst waiting to go out and at half time.
   •   Baby oil.
   •   Soap.
   •   Shampoo.
   •   Deodorant.
   •   Sunglasses.
   •   White hat.
   •   Head ache tablets.
   •   Chocolate bar, lollies or snack food.
   •   A shopping bag for your dirty clothes.
   •   Commercial sports drink.
   •   An old tooth brush to wash the mud off your shoes if you have a
       double header that day.

   I always carry a golf pencil and two business cards in my pocket out on
   the ground instead of a pen and paper. I just find it easier.

   All of the smaller items can be placed in a large sponge bag or lunch box
   so they are easily accessible.

                          CHAPTER 35

Association Meeting

There is generally an Association meeting each Thursday night. Meetings are
held in the club rooms at the Domain Athletic Track and are relatively short.
There is a fully stocked bar which also has chips and chocolate bars. Savs are
served but you need to get in early to beat the goal umpires (and myself).

I have always found these meetings to be a good way to get to know your
field and goal umpires. It is always worth listening to the announcements
because not only may they affect you on a weekend but it provides you with
an opportunity to put names to people’s faces.

Appointment Slip

You will receive a blue piece of paper called an appointment slip. This is your
entry pass into the match. You need to read it carefully because your match
may have changed from Tuesday night or indeed from the list of all matches
which is generally on the wall. Your appointment slip is the official
confirmation of your appointment. Do not rely on what you are told of a
Tuesday night or simply look at the appointments on the wall and then leave.
If you do not collect your appointment slip from Graeme Hamley within the
time he provides, your match will be allocated to someone else. I, of course,
will be extremely annoyed because I spend considerable time carefully doing
the appointments and it will result in extra work not only for me but for
Graeme as well.

Your appointment slip will tell you:

   •    The day and date of your match.
   •    What level you are umpiring.
   •    Which teams are playing.
   •    The venue of the match.
   •    What time the game starts (you need to be there 45 minutes before the
        scheduled start time).
   •    The driver of any “official car” and their telephone number.

Please do not come up to me on a Thursday night and say you can not umpire
a particular game now. If it is my mistake I am more than happy to wear it.
But if you do not have a reasonable excuse you will be effectively saying good

bye to any finals you may have received and the next two weeks of umpiring
as well. The fact we may be short of umpires at the time will be irrelevant.
This has been an incredibly frequent and ridiculous problem over the last two
years and I will not put up with it.

Official Car

Some matches played outside the Hobart metropolitan area are allocated an
official car. An umpire is designated as the official driver and receives a
particular sum of money for his or her car being used to transport umpires to
or from the match.

The onus is on you to let the official driver know if you require a lift. It is best
to organise a lift at the meeting if the driver is present. Make sure you are
absolutely certain where you are to be picked up from and ask the official
driver if he has a mobile telephone number (in case someone is running late).
You should be able to obtain the contact details of most members from the
secure area of our website – www.tflua.asn.au (username is tflua and the
password is umpire).

You should apply the same procedure if you need to get a lift with a fellow
umpire. Do not leave it until 9pm on Friday night to organise a lift because it
may be too late.

If you require directions on how to find a particular ground you should ask
your captain or another umpire at the meeting.


Make sure that you have plenty of fluids – water is ideal – and have a good
night sleep.

Check your gear

Make sure everything has been washed from the previous week and that you
have not run out of a particular item. If so, purchase a replacement on the
Friday – do not leave it until Saturday morning as you will inevitably be late
to your match.

Set your game plan

The reason for having a game plan is threefold:

  1. It provides you with guidance in ensuring that you do not overlook
     vital aspects of the game (ie taking control, player welfare etc).
  2. It alerts you to not missing certain components of the game (ie players
     encroaching on centre square at centre bounce).
  3. It acts as a vehicle for displaying information (ie interrelationship
     between Boundary Umpire and players).

A game plan should include the fundamentals of boundary umpiring which
would apply to any match irrespective of the level of football.

Your game plan should be changed each week depending on your current
strengths and weaknesses. You should take it to your game so you can
remind yourself of your goals before you are about to walk out.

                             CHAPTER 36
                        MATCH DAY HAS ARRIVED

My toughest challenge – getting out of bed

When you wake up on the morning of your match you should generally get
up rather than lay in bed for a while or try and get an extra hour of sleep.
Sometimes you will only feel more tired if you try and get more sleep.


In the “old days” it seems that many did not have anything to eat for
breakfast or lunch - even if they had a 2pm senior game. The modern trend is
to have something to eat – it is just a question of what and when.

I am probably the worst person to comment on this topic because I would
often have a bucket of hot chips and sauce at half time of a premier league
senior match. But I suspect most of you would not be able to get away with it
or indeed want to.

When I was umpiring senior football I would generally have a plain piece of
toast at about 11am or nothing at all except for half a Powerbar at 12.30 and
the remainder at half time.

Like sports drinks, it is what works best for you. But if you are tempted to try
something different, it would be wise to practice during the week by having it
to eat and then going for a run.

Packing your bag

The best way to pack your bag is to mentally picture yourself in your
umpiring gear and start from your feet upwards. You may find the check list
in chapter 34 to be rather helpful.

You also need to give some thought to your valuables – do you leave your
wallet at home and just take $20 or do you lock it in your car with your
mobile phone etc? Don’t forget to take your driver licence which is
compulsory under the Vehicle & Traffic Act 1999 (Tas.).

Do not run the risk of leaving valuables in your bag even if the change room
is locked and “supposedly” only the umpires have a key. I remember one TFL
senior goal umpire leaving the change rooms with $400 in his wallet and

returning to find it empty. I always wonder how many club officials have a
key and whether the other umpires would remember to lock the door on the
way out.

Travelling to and arriving at the ground

You should know in advance how to find the ground and approximately how
long it will take you to get there. Do not cut it too fine. Allow yourself plenty
of time to get to the match.

If you are the “official driver” or going to be collected by another umpire at a
pre-determined spot, it would be worthwhile having their mobile telephone
number on you before you leave home. I would always write their number on
the back of my appointment slip.

Never park your car behind the goals. Apparently Tim Chalmers did one day
at Youngtown Oval and the heavy, wet ball went straight through the front
windscreen. Lucky it was a hire car I guess.

You need to be at the ground at least 45 minutes prior to the scheduled
starting time. The ideal time is just after half time. This will enable you to see
a bit of the third quarter and get a feel for the ground before going into the
rooms to get changed. You can then use the oval at the ¾ time break to have a
good warm up. You should never stretch whilst cold.

When you arrive at the ground the first thing you generally do is put your
bag in the change rooms and introduce yourself to your fellow umpires by
shaking their hand. You should have a firm handshake and look them in the
eye. If you have never met them before or you believe they may not
remember you – I would say something like this: “G’day, I’m Cameron Lee
and I’ll be running the boundary today”. After they have told you their name,
you can follow it up with some of these questions: “So, where did you umpire
last week?; or “Have you had either of these teams before”; or “What’s the
surface like out there”.

Never ask them how long they have been umpiring for as I believe it can be a
bit elitist.

First impressions are extremely important. People generally make up their
minds about you within 30 seconds of meeting you.

Dealing with the umpiring environment

Historically, a culture has existed in Australian Football that has seen umpires
as ‘fair game’. It is important that umpires develop strategies to help you cope
with the umpiring environment.

Pre match

You can use the pre match period to acknowledge and communicate with
other participants by taking the opportunity to establish and build a
relationship particularly with players. It is an opportunity for you to project
confidence which can influence players/coaches/administrators thoughts and
flow on to the field of play.

During the match

The way in which you go about umpiring will have an impact on players,
coaches, administrators and supporters. A firm and friendly approach with
confident decision making and clear communication will win the respect of
players and others.

You will be aware of comments from officials on the sideline. It is best to
ignore these except in the situation where it continues or becomes abusive. If
this is the case, you should consider reporting them.

During matches it is common for comments to be directed at you from
outside the boundary line much of which will not be supportive or
complimentary. You need to be aware that supporters get emotional and
vocal with their support for their team and players and that generally the
verbal attack on players and umpires is not meant as a personal attack.

It is important for umpires to ignore the comments and to block them out of
their mind. Concentrating on the task at hand or responding to some cues will
assist umpires to remain focussed.

Remember – if you were to give them a test about umpiring, 99.9% of them
would fail. What does that tell you? Keep that though in your mind the next
time a spectator abuses you.

Inspecting the ground

Never rely on the field or goal umpires to either do this or even get it right.

You need to consider the following questions when inspecting the ground:

       1.     Has the ground surface and markings been prepared correctly
              for an Australian Football match?
       2.     Is the surface free of debris? (free from glass, rocks, rubbish, etc)
       3.     Have weather conditions or water made the surface unsafe?
       4.     Is the surface in good condition? (grass length, free of holes etc)?
       5.     Are sprinkler covers correctly in place?
       6.     Is the perimeter fencing safe? (signs, etc)
       7.     Are the weather conditions safe for the game to commence?
              (lightning etc)
       8.     Have Goal posts been padded?
       9.     Are there any other factors which may be dangerous to the
       10.    Is there a stretcher available for use in the event of a serious

Getting changed and preparing to go out

I usually try and find a quiet spot in the rooms to get changed – in smaller
rooms the shower cubicle is sometimes a good place. I lay out an old towel on
the ground and then start getting ready by putting my socks on first before
the rest of my umpiring gear. I then rub a bit of deep heat and oil on the old
legs and arms before putting a tracksuit on. I am then ready to go out at three
quarter time and run two or three very slow laps around the ground. I do not
go inside the centre square because that only encourages morons in the crowd
to do same. By the time I get back to the rooms I am sweating and ready to
start my stretches. And that’s exactly how you should be. Again, I start my
stretches at my feet and end with my neck.

I try and keep my tracksuit on until the moment we all leave so I stay warm.

You should always do a quick gear check just before you leave – especially to
make sure you have two whistles, pen/pencil and paper – as these are the
common items people tend to leave behind. There is no point giving your
spare whistle to a goal umpire to hold – they will not be standing next to you
in a crisis when your first whistle breaks.

You should always shake hands with your fellow umpires and wish them
good luck before you go out onto the ground.

Entering the ground

There is a certain way we always enter and leave the ground. The field
umpires are at the front two or three abreast depending on how many of them
there are; we then stand behind them; and then the goal umpire stand behind

This is meant to be done in near military precision. When the field umpires
enter the ground they will stop on the boundary line and wait to make sure
everyone is present and ready to go. Then someone will say “on the left”
meaning everyone starts walking in their columns by placing their left foot
out first.

Everyone then walks in a straight line towards the centre circle. The field
umpire will then place the ball on the ground in the centre circle and the
warm up begins.

Most umpires run in an anti-clockwise direction around the outside of the
centre square. It is preferable if everyone runs one lap together as a team
before doing their own thing but that depends on how quick some people run
off at.

You should run two or three very slow laps around the outside of the centre
square with your partner. You can then perform a series of run throughs
around the square with an emphasis on building up speed in each run. Some
tend to run down the wings and go backwards across the ground but this is a
matter for you.

You should then do any last minute stretches before having three or four
practice throw ins. It is important that you do this so you nail the first throw

of the match. You may need to rub a little dirt onto your hands to get rid any
excess oil.

Starting the match

As I said earlier in this booklet, due to the large number of observers we have,
you no longer decide between yourselves which side of the ground you start
on. The umpire with the earliest surname in the alphabet will start on the
main scoreboard side of the ground or if the scoreboard is located behind the
goal, on the major grandstand side of the ground. For example, Chris
Badenach and Paul Bidgood are umpiring together at Bellerive Oval. Chris
will start on the hill side of the ground and Paul will be on the Clarence
Cricket Club side.

You must change sides at the end of each quarter.

You should always be standing diagonally opposite your partner on the
centre square – ie you should never be standing at the same end of the square
as your partner or also on the same side as well.

You start each quarter by standing with your feet on the inner centre circle
opposite your partner and with your back directly facing the corner you are
running to. On the one siren (ie after the third and second sirens have
sounded) or the field umpires say so, you leave the centre circle by moving
backwards for three steps, turning and then running forwards for ten paces
before turning again and backing into your corner. You should always be
turning by facing into play.

After the field umpire has bounced the ball or the ball has left their hand if
being thrown up, you then run forwards off the centre square on a 45 degree
angle and then continue your role of following play. You should always run
hard off the square and keep your head up and focused on the ball.

Quarter time and three quarter time breaks

Make sure you grab a drink and have a stretch. Ask your partner how your
throws are looking and if there are any problems – sometimes you may need
to talk about running the ball back to the centre because this seems to be one
of the hardest things for us all to get right. Too often the person waiting to
receive the ball stands out at centre half forward instead of 5-10m off the end
of the goal square. I always liked to keep walking around during the breaks
so that my legs kept moving. It is also a good opportunity to get a few tips off
your partner if you happen to be running with one of our top umpires or
someone with considerable experience.

Half time break

The same principles apply at half time. The first thing I do when I return to
the change rooms is put a tracksuit on – top and bottoms. This keeps all of
your muscles warm and makes a significant difference when you are
warming up again after half time. Try not to sit down for too long – if you feel
the need to sit down, do a few stretches at the same time.

If you get a report in the first half it is always a good idea to write your report
up if there is time. It saves doing it after the match.

Remember to check that you have all of your gear on before leaving the
rooms for the second half.

When you get back out on the ground you should complete the warm up
routine again just as you did before the match started.

After the match

All umpires should shake hands with their fellow umpires after the game and
congratulate them on their performance. Something like “Good game John”
or a simple “well done Peter” or “well umpired Bruce” is all you need to say.

You should also ensure that you have a good stretch as well. When getting
changed the best trick is to place all of your used gear in a plastic bag so that
it does not deposit mud on your good clothes and secondly so it does not
accidentally go home in the bag of another umpire.

If the ground was particularly muddy, quite often it is a good idea to wash
your shoes in the shower after the game. I know some that do this with their
entire umpiring gear.

Remember to complete any report sheet before leaving and ensure that it has
been checked and counter-signed by a field umpire and that you have a copy
of it.

If the game has been rather volatile or the umpires have come in for
particularly harsh criticism, you may wish to leave the change rooms with
one of your colleagues.

The last one to leave the rooms should always check to make sure that no one
has left anything behind. Always take any of these items with you and bring
them to training on the Tuesday or Thursday night.

After the game you should try and have a drink with the players if possible.
Again, it is best to go in with another umpire. You should not be discouraged
from going in simply because the home team happened to lose the match.
Sometimes the atmosphere may be quieter but I have seldom encountered
any problems with players or spectators. They seem to turn off and forget
rather quickly after the game has finished. If someone wants to hassle you the
best answer is to walk away. You will generally find that 3 or 4 people will
come over and have a chat to you and the majority will keep to themselves.
Some may not even remember you as having just umpired the game which is
almost certainly a good thing.

                              CHAPTER 37
                         POST MATCH ACTIVITIES

Arriving home

One of my biggest habits was to leave my umpiring gear sitting in my bag
until the following weekend. It is much easier to dump it in the washing
machine as soon as you get home. Some umpires soak their gear in Napisan
overnight before washing it the following day. That is certainly worth doing
with your sweat bands and shoes as they tend to lose their whiteness rather
quickly. You should not have the water too hot because it can make the
colours run and melt the glue in your shoes.

Saturday night is also a good time to take two or three minutes to note down
three strengths from your match and the three areas you wish to work on the
following weekend. Self-reflection is both a wonderful and powerful tool.

You will find that your umpiring career will benefit by having a drink with
your fellow umpires on a Saturday night at the Domain Athletic Centre (5pm
– 7pm) or by attending an umpiring function.

Sunday – the benefit of a long run and visit to the beach

I regard Sunday as being the most important day of the week for your
umpiring preparation. You can use it purely for recovery or as an opportunity
to get in a long run or cycle, and then a recovery session afterwards.

When I was running well “last century”, I would do the “pipe line” run at
Fern Tree every Sunday – rain, hail or shine. I would always be swearing and
cursing to myself as I drove up in my car but once I got through the first
twenty minutes of the run I was always glad I had made the effort to go. For
those that are familiar with this run, I would run to the old second gate before

the first hut. I would cruise up in about 30-31 minutes and aim to be back at
the car park in 57-58 minutes all up. It is just about the perfect run.

After that I would go the beach and wade out to my waist for about 5-10
minutes in the salt water. You should always wear an old pair of shoes or
something similar on your feet as it is very difficult to spot a used syringe or
other sharp object in the water. If you do this you should take a friend with
you and get your parents permission if you are a youngster.

I then felt that my body was recharged and ready for another week of

Others may prefer to go to a swimming pool and do a few laps but I have
always found that sea water has some mysterious property which always
seems to make your legs feel better than ordinary pool water.

Our top umpires should be doing at least one long run each week and two
during the pre-season.

                                 CHAPTER 38


If I was to survey all boundary umpires I would be quietly confident that
most of you would say that going to the tribunal is the most difficult or worst
thing you have to do as an umpire. I am sure this is why very few umpires
make reports.

Going to the tribunal should be fun. I now see the funny side of it and, in fact,
have a bet with myself whilst I am waiting to give evidence that the following
will happen:

   •   The reported player will say he never punched anyone.
   •   The victim will say he never felt a thing.
   •   A witness will “mysteriously” come forward who was not even at the
   •   The club advocate will launch into character evidence about his
       glowing player who, he has forgotten to mention, has appeared before
       the tribunal on five occasions in the past two seasons.
   •   The tribunal will expect you to take on the role of a prosecutor and to
       carry out everything other than to deliver their decision.

So much more will happen but I would prefer to tell you that over a beer
rather than in print.

I have lost count of the number of players who have given unsatisfactory
evidence at the tribunal – it has been nothing short of appalling and some
have even taken their evidence one step further than that. There seems to be
an unwritten rule that you do not tell tales on your fellow footballers.

This is the reality of the situation which is likely to confront you when you
attend the tribunal. It therefore should not come as a shock to you as I have
told you about it now.

There are two things I want you to remember when attending the tribunal:

   1. Your role is that of a witness only – say what you saw and that is all.
   2. Do not be concerned about whether the player is found guilty or not.

Step 1 – know the reportable offences

Before you can make a report or even step out onto the ground for that
matter, you need to know what the reportable offences are.

Step 2 – pen and paper

You need to carry a pen/pencil and paper with you in order to make a report.
Never rely on your memory.

Step 3 – seeing a potentially reportable offence

When this happens you need to ask yourself these two questions:

   1. Should I report it or let it go?
   2. If yes to (1), do I make the report now or at the earliest break in play?

I can not tell you the answer to question one because it will depend on what
happened. Common sense is about the best advice I can give you. If you think
it is reportable, back yourself, jump in and get it done.

In relation to question two, your primary role and responsibility is to follow
play and decide whether or not the ball is out of bounds. Again, it comes back
to common sense.

If play has stopped, make the report there and then.

If play continues, make the report at your next available opportunity – ie at a
boundary throw in or after a goal has been scored.

You should not wait until the end of the quarter to make your report unless it
can be avoided. There are a number of reasons for this. First, the player has a
right to be told of the report as soon as practicable. Secondly, it cannot be said
to be the subject of any collusion with colleagues during the quarter or three
quarter time break. Thirdly, a field umpire will need to issue the player with a
yellow or red card depending on the type of report which is being made.

If you encounter a situation where a player is both blatantly and rather
forcefully struck to the head, he goes to ground, there is blood everywhere, he
starts shaking and you get the feeling it will be a job for the local ambulance
officers and you believe that unless you make the report there and then you
will be unable to obtain the number of the player to be reported – you should
make the report immediately irrespective of where the play is. What do you

think would make the worst headline on the back page of The Sunday
Tasmanian – “Umpire misses ball going out of bounds” or “Umpires miss
report – local football player laying in ICU with half his face missing”. You
can see my point. Again, it comes back to common sense.

If you intend to report a player for striking in a situation where the ball was
not close by at the time of the incident and it was a rather forceful blow, I
would report the player for assault and not striking. It seems to me that too
many players are reported for striking when it is assault.

Step 4 – informing player(s) of report

You will generally make the report and inform the player(s) either
immediately/at the next break in play or prior to the commencement of the
next quarter.

I will refer to the word player but you should remember that officials can also
be reported

Informing player(s) of report either immediately or at first break in play

First, you need to note the number(s) of the player(s) concerned. Most reports
involve two players – lets call them the “accused” (ie the player you have
reported) and the “victim” (ie the player that was hit).

I always try and maintain my focus on the accused for as long as is required
to obtain his number. He is the most important person in this process. Quite
often the accused is then attacked or confronted by a number of opposition
players and his team mates then also rush in to support him. What then
happens is you lose sight of him amongst the other players and miss noting
his number. The victim is generally taken to one side by a trainer or is on the
ground and therefore it is usually easier to obtain their number.

Secondly, you need to inform the accused of the report – in particular what he
is being reported for and the number of any other player(s) involved.

You should never place your hand on their body or approach them from
behind as they may mistake you for a player and take a swing at you. I
usually say something like this: “I am reporting you for striking number 29 of
Clarence. Do you understand the report”? You should make a mental note of
anything the player says in response because the tribunal are likely to ask you
this question.

Thirdly, you need to inform the victim of the report. That could be: “I have
just reported number 10 of Kingborough for striking you. Do you understand
the report”? Again, you should make a mental note of any comment the
victim makes in response.

You should also look to see whether or not the victim has any bruising or
blood on them, how their speech sounds, whether or not they can stand up by
themselves, whether or not they were treated by a trainer, whether or not they
left the ground, how they played after the incident etc . The tribunal should
ask you some or all of these questions so it is best to be prepared.

You should write down the number(s) and team(s) on your piece of paper at
the time of making the report. I generally put a * next to the name of the
player I have reported and note the time in the quarter – ie 20 minute mark.

Fourthly, you should inform a field umpire of the report so a yellow or red
card can be issued.

If you are unable to inform either the accused or victim of the report because
they are either unconscious or off the ground, you must tell them of the report
prior to the start of the next quarter. If they are still not contactable, you must
inform their captain or an official on the team bench prior to the next quarter
commencing. If the victim looks as though they are going straight off to
hospital it would be best to tell their captain straight away rather than to
worry about it prior to the next quarter commencing.

Informing player(s) of report prior to start of next quarter

If you were unable to tell the player(s) of the report during the quarter in
which the incident occurred, you must do so prior to the next quarter

The best approach is to wait until after the team(s) has broken up from their
quarter or three quarter time huddle or after they have returned to the ground
following the half time break. You should then take a field umpire with you
and go over and speak to the player(s) concerned. You simply follow the
above instructions in terms of informing the players of the report.

Before you go over, tell the field umpire that you will do all the talking just so
it is clear to everyone that you have made the report yourself.

If it is a case where both the field umpire and yourself have made the same
report and he has not told the player(s) either, you should both inform the
player(s) of the report separately but in the presence of each other.

Reports occurring in fourth quarter

If a report takes place in the last quarter you only have to make a reasonable
effort to inform the players of the report. You must at least make a reasonable
and genuine effort. If one of the players has disappeared, you should try and
inform their captain or club official before leaving the ground. This will
prevent them from accusing you of deciding to make the report after
discussing the matter with your colleagues in the change rooms after the

Step 5 – expanding on your brief notes as soon as possible

The next thing you need to do is expand on your notes at the end of the
quarter. For example, you may wish to quote what was said to you in the case
of an abusive language charge. You may wish to note the hand and point of
contact in a striking charge.

Step 6 –completing the report form

A report book should be provided by the home team manager. Some field
umpires also carry their own book.

You need to take great care when filing out the report sheet. Always write
your own report out and double-check it carefully before getting a field
umpire to do same and to counter sign it.

You must check the player(s) numbers from the team sheet. Make sure you
have the correct team sheet (ie the seniors sheet if you are umpiring the
seniors) and that your rule book is the 2007 edition and not 2006. You need to
be very careful when quoting the rule number as it is very easy to get this

If you believe your report is very serious you should tick the box on the
report form to indicate that a tribunal is requested. This prevents the player
from taking a set penalty.

If the player is not on the team sheet you should inform the match manager
about this. Use the number you have taken on the field rather than
substituting it for one that looks close or similar on the sheet.

There will not be enough copies of the report slip for you so you will need to
write out an exact copy for yourself and write “umpires copy” on the top of it.
Get the field umpire to counter-sign it as well. You will need to refer to it
when preparing your evidence and perhaps also at the tribunal as well. It
could be very easy for a home team manager to misplace the paper work
particularly if one of their star players had been reported.

As I said earlier, if an umpire is either assaulted or threatened I would prefer
that you ring me on my mobile after the game so I can make sure we have
followed the correct process.

Step 7 – notifying Graeme Hamley of the report

Every season Graeme gives a little speech about contacting him in regards to
the tribunal. The time for notifying Graeme of any reports has always been
between 5pm and 6pm on a Sunday – not 7pm and definitely not 8.30pm. He
says it every year because people always forget to do this.

Sometimes a player may take what is known as a “set penalty”. That means
he has administratively pleaded guilty in order to avoid going to the tribunal.
He is then suspended accordingly. Graeme will let you know if a player has
taken the set penalty because you will not have to go to the tribunal.

If you believe you need someone from our association to go with you to the
tribunal you should let Graeme know at that time. It is probably a good idea
to do this until after you have been two or three times.

Step 8 – preparing for the tribunal hearing

You should do this by no later than Sunday night.

I think the easiest way to do this is by drawing a quick diagram including:

   •   What quarter the incident occurred.
   •   What time of the quarter it occurred.
   •   Where the incident took place on the ground.
   •   Which way the teams were kicking.
   •   Where the players were positioned.
   •   In which direction the players were facing.
   •   Where the ball was.
   •   Where you were positioned.

   •   Where the nearest field umpire was positioned (if you happened to
   •   The distances between you and the play etc.

After you have done this, the next step is to think it through in your head as a
form of visual role play.

The tribunal are likely to ask you to draw a diagram of where everyone was
positioned at the time of the report.

Moreover, they are almost certain to ask you to demonstrate how it happened
in a form of role play. This is why you should go through it on the Sunday
night rather than for the first time at the tribunal on the night. Better to look
silly in your own home rather than in front of a group of strangers.

In a striking charge you need to pay particular attention to which hand was
used and where the blow landed on the victim’s body. For example, if two
players were facing together and you described the blow as being a right
round arm motion to the right side of the victim’s head, the tribunal would be
wondering whether this is at all possible. It is generally a right hand to the left
side of the face and a left hand to the right side of the face.

If you take your notes along, the tribunal will ask you when you wrote them.
Certain evidentiary issues and legal arguments can arise out of a delay in
preparing notes. That is why it is best to write them as soon after the game as
you can. You should try and avoid reading from your notes as it does not look
as good and does not make your account of events as believable.

Remember - think it through carefully in your head what happened.

Practice giving your evidence a few times before the tribunal hearing.

An example of an umpires evidence to the tribunal

“I was one of two boundary umpires appointed to the Huonville v Cygnet
senior match at Huonville last Saturday.

I observed a reportable incident at about the 20 minute mark of the second

The incident occurred on the centre wing area on the grand stand side of the
ground, about 20 metres in from the boundary line.

Huonville were kicking towards the northern end of the ground and Cygnet
towards the southern end of the ground.

I was positioned on the boundary line about 15 metres to the southern side of
the incident. My view was clear and unobstructed.

Player Smith (Cygnet) had been awarded a free kick by one of the field
umpires. I can not recall what the free kick was paid for. Player Jones
(Huonville) was standing on the mark.

Player Smith took his kick. The ball travelled about 40 metres towards the
centre corridor of the ground.

As soon as player Smith took his kick, player Jones ran straight at him. He
was travelling at about half pace and player Smith was moving forwards
rather slowly. Player Jones then struck player Smith with a right clenched fist
to the left side of player Smith’s head.

The blow was delivered in a round arm motion. On a scale of 1-10 (with 10
being the most severe) I believe the force of the blow was about an 8. It
knocked player Smith to the ground. He was on the ground for about 15
seconds. Other players came over to remonstrate with player Jones and a
trainer came out to attend to player Smith.

I could not make the report there and then as we are instructed that our
primary role is to follow the play which is what I did. Fortunately within
about a minute of the incident another Cygnet player kicked a goal and I then
informed both players of the report prior to the ball being bounced in the
centre of the ground.

I informed player Jones that I had reported him for assaulting number 29 of
Cygnet – player Smith. Player Jones said that player Smith deserved it
because he had grabbed him in the nuts about five minutes earlier and that he
had only just got his voice back.

I then went over and informed player Smith of the report. He was still being
treated by a trainer. I told him that I had reported number 13 of Huonville –
player Jones - for assaulting him. He said “good on ya young fella”.

I noticed that he had a 10cm cut on the left side of his head which appeared to
be steadily bleeding. Player Smith then left the field in the presence of the
trainer but he was not carried off or assisted in any way. He came back onto

the ground at the start of the next quarter and I noticed that he got a few kicks
during the rest of the game.

I then informed field umpire Magoo that I had just reported a player for
assault and he then issued player Jones with a red card which means he was
unable to return to the field for the rest of the match.

That is my evidence Mr Chairman”.

The different roles of persons appearing before the tribunal

The role of the tribunal is to determine whether or not the accused is guilty
after he has entered a plea of not guilty. This decision is made on the basis of
the evidence presented at the hearing. The second function of the tribunal is
to impose a penalty on the accused after he has pleaded guilty or alternatively
has been found guilty by the tribunal.

Your role as an umpire is to be a mere witness only. It is not your task to run
the tribunal as a form of prosecution and to question witnesses. The tribunal
will want you to do this because it makes life easier for them. I seldom ask
questions of any witnesses because I only see that as my role during the day.
However I have done it in one or two cases where an umpire has been
assaulted or where a player has been badly injured and the umpire’s evidence
was poor or the victim’s advocate was as good as useless.

You should politely say to the tribunal that we are instructed to appear as
witnesses only and not to prosecute the case. You can quote me on that if you

The accused will do anything to get himself of the charge – perhaps even
accusing you of being a liar. Just remain firm and polite with your evidence.

The victim will generally go into bat for the accused and say they were not hit
or downplay the seriousness of it. It is known as “Monday night amnesia” (or
whatever night the tribunal happens to sit) Do not worry if this happens
because we do not care whether or not the player is convicted. As long as we
provide the best possible witness account of what happened that is all we are
required to do.

How the tribunal hearing is to be conducted

The tribunal is held at the offices of AFL Tasmania which are located at North
Hobart Oval in Argyle Street, North Hobart. You enter the ground through

the Argyle Street gate and then walk up through the seated area of the Horrie
Gorringe Stand (directly behind the goals at the same end of the ground) and
enter through a blue door at the top of the stand.

The tribunal hearing generally takes place before a three person tribunal
consisting of a chairman and two tribunal members who are seated at the
main table. The chairman sits in the middle of the two and runs the hearing.

The tribunal co-ordinator will announce the name of the next matter and ask
that all parties enter the tribunal room. This will mean the accused, the victim
and the umpire (and any advocates) will enter the room. There are six seats
with each player and umpire sitting next to their advocate if they choose to
bring one along.

The procedure is usually as follows:

   1. The chairman will ask everyone to identify themselves.
   2. The chairman will then read out a short explanation of how the
       tribunal hearing is to be conducted.
   3. The chairman will then read out the report directly from the sheet (and
       ask the umpire to clarify any omissions).
   4. The accused will be asked to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty.
   5. If the player pleads guilty the tribunal will still want to hear your
       evidence because that will be relevant to penalty. The accused or his
       advocate may ask you a few questions as to the level of seriousness of
       the report and then they will make some short submissions as to
   6. If the player pleads not guilty, the victim and his advocate will leave
       the room and you will then give your evidence. At the end you will be
       asked questions by the accused and/or his advocate. The tribunal will
       interrupt your evidence in order to ask questions whenever they deem
       it appropriate
   7. The victim then enters the room and gives his evidence. The accused
       and/or his advocate can ask questions and then you and/or your
       advocate will be given the opportunity to do same.
   8. The accused will then give his evidence and both yourself and/or your
       advocate and the victim and/or his advocate can then ask questions of
       the accused.
   9. Any witnesses then give their evidence and, as a general rule, everyone
       has an opportunity to ask them questions.
   10. The tribunal will then give each party the opportunity to make a
       closing statement before everyone leaves the room so the tribunal can
       make their decision.

   11. When the tribunal does this, you should ask whether you are free to
       go. If so, you should then leave. Do not hang about for the decision.

What to do at the tribunal

   •   Be punctual.
   •   Dress neatly and appropriately.
   •   Take your rule book, report slip and any notes with you.
   •   Turn your mobile phone onto silent so it does not go off during the
   •   Address the chairman as “Mr Chairman”.
   •   Be honest and polite at all times.
   •   Be confident and persuasive with your evidence.
   •   Look into the eyes of the tribunal members when giving your evidence
       and speak slowly (as they are trying to write down everything you say
       to them).
   •   If you do not understand the question, ask for it to be repeated to you.
   •   There is no shame in asking the tribunal for leave to amend the details
       or charge contained in the report.
   •   Be prepared to draw a diagram containing details of the report and to
       act out a role play if requested.

What not to do at the tribunal

   •   Lie, be rude, disrespectful or argue with the tribunal members.
   •   Guess the answer to a question if you are not sure. You should simply
       say “I do not know the answer to that question”.
   •   Become concerned at the tribunal’s decision.

                           CHAPTER 39

        (Picture: 2006 Premier League Senior Grand Final Umpires)

In 2006 Paul Bidgood, Josh Natera & William Koolhoff umpired the ultimate
grand final in Hobart. Who will it be this year? You perhaps?

All the hard work is certainly worth it in then end. Even Brendon Gourlay
would agree with me on this point.

   (Picture: Brendon Gourlay steps forward to collect another grand final
      medallion at an annual dinner and trophy presentation evening).


   1.   Boundary Umpire Assessment Criteria
   2.   Boundary Umpire Match Assessment Form
   3.   SFL Premier League Roster
   4.   SFL Regional League Roster
   5.   Old Scholar Football Association Roster


I would like to thank Edward Swifte for taking the time to carefully proof
read this manual.

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