Geelong umpires, Metricon excited for 2024 start

March 25, 2024 BY

(L-R) Metricon regional West manager Simon Taylor, GFUL chair David Chaston, Emily Jose (goal umpire), Elizabeth Wolbers (boundary), and Archie Underwood (boundary). Photo: VINNIE VAN OORSCHOT

UMPIRES are pulling up their socks and making sure their whistles are working with the start of the local football season just days away.

Geelong Football Umpires League (GFUL) chair David Chaston said the 200-strong umpiring cohort based out of Kardinia Park was excited to get the year started with home-and-away matches starting as early as Good Friday.

“We’re feeling really strong, registrations to umpire are ahead of where we were a year ago, and I think across AFL Barwon registrations are all trending upwards as well.

“Our aim this season as a group is to reach 400 umpires by the end of the season, that was our size prior to the pandemic, so if we can reach that point again, we’d consider it a massive success.”

Among the key focuses for the umpiring cohort will be enhanced ruck contest interpretations through legal fend-offs, as well as a zero-tolerance policy for off-field misconduct.

Local umpires will also introduce a white card system that gives a coaching box three chances to control unruly behaviour in the interchange area, demonstrating a commitment to fair play and sportsmanship at all levels.

Sanctions can be dealt by umpires for multiple games if coaches cannot control behaviour at the interchange.

The GFUL will also have the backing of Australian home builder Metricon for another three years, following a new partnership extension with its major sponsor.

“At Metricon, we believe in giving back to the communities we serve. Our longstanding partnership with the GFUL highlights our commitment to supporting both our local community and grassroots sport.” Metricon regional west manager Simon Taylor said.

“We are privileged to support the umpires who play an essential role in ensuring the game is played with integrity and passion.

“Our sponsorship not only benefits the league but also contributes to the wider community, including our staff, tradespeople, and customers involved in local football clubs.”

Chaston said his organisation was thrilled to have Metricon on board for the 2024 season.

“Their ongoing commitment to the GFUL is a testament to their dedication to our community and our sport.

“With Metricon’s support, we can continue to develop the next generation of umpires, ensuring the integrity and quality of football in our region.

“We are excited for another exciting year of footy across Werribee, Colac, the Bellarine Peninsula, and beyond.”

To get involved with umpiring for 2024 and beyond, click HERE.