Umpiring duo experience ‘a new perspective of footy’

Two Ararat College Year 8 students have successfully completed the AFL National Umpire Accreditation Scheme, qualifying to be registered boundary umpires following their first season on the job.

Byron Hemley and Marti Corbett both joined Ararat’s Umpire Association (AUA) this year, picking up skills and knowledge as the Mininera and District League season progressed.

(L-R) Byron Hemley and Marti Corbett recieve their accreditation certificate.
PHOTO: Supplied

AUA Executive Assistant, Greg McKinnis said the association has been providing umpires for the league throughout the last 50 years, being an integral part of the game – in conjunction with the Hamilton Umpires Association who also supply umpires.

“With Marti and Byron joining us this year, it has allowed us to supply boundary umpires for the first time in a long while,” McKinnis said.

“Not only due to their commitment to training each week and umpiring throughout the regular season, but their skills and knowledge of the game has also grown each week and allowed them to be eligible for the finals series this year.”

“They both have completed their national umpires accreditation scheme qualifying to be registered boundary umpires which can allow them to go on further if they wish to.”

Byron Hemley was first to join the association, a choice he has not regretted.

“It was fun, it was good running around and watching footy,” Hemley said.

“It was a new perspective of footy, you can control a game in a type of way.”

Marti Corbett made the decision to also join after Byron spoke with him. He decided it would be a better opportunity compared to doing chores around the house.

“I had to either do a sport or do a lot more stuff at home… I picked the right choice,” Corbett said.

“The people at the association are nice and the people at all the footy clubs are nice as well. You also get to meet other people from different umpiring clubs from places like Hamilton.”

Corbett’s hard work and dedication to umpiring from the beginning earned him the Golden Whistle Award last Friday at the association’s presentation night, something he was not expecting.

“It was exciting… I was shocked, and then happy because I won it in my first year,” he said.

McKinnis said the award allows the recipient to grow in confidence in everyday life and be role models for future umpires.

“The Golden Whistle Award is an encouragement award and is awarded to an umpire for his/her dedication, not only at training and game day but also a person who continually strives to better themselves in all aspects of the game,” he said.

The association is now putting the call out to others within the community willing to take up the challenge and become an umpire.

“You might like to be a field or boundary umpire, or in the goals waving the flags. It’s the best seat in the house and it’s a great opportunity to improve your fitness, meet new people and get paid while you’re having fun as well,” McKinnis said.

Anyone interested can get in contact with Greg on 0437 441 033 or Tony on 0488 923 57. Training for next year will commence in February 2020.