Eight of the nine umpires officiating in Sunday’s Peter Jackson VFL ‘Love the Game’ Grand Final will be making their debut on Victorian football’s biggest stage.
Field umpires John Howorth (67 VFL games umpired), Paul Rebeschini (35) and Andrew Talbot (173), boundary umpires Simon Blight (64), John Cooper (119), Joshua Furman (47) and Samuel Stagg (65), and goal umpire Callum Leonard (104) will all take to the field in a VFL decider for the first time.
Goal umpire Simon Plumridge (127 games) will join them in his third VFL Grand Final when the Casey Demons and Box Hill Hawks clash at Etihad Stadium. Cameron Dore (45 games) will be the emergency field umpire and John Varker (30) the emergency goal umpire.
The Grand Final appointments cap off memorable seasons in particular for Talbot (Field), Furman (Boundary) and Plumridge (Goal), who have also been announced as AFL Victoria’s 2018 Umpires of the Year.
Meanwhile, former Dandenong Stingrays and Frankston player Rebeschini and former Vermont Eagles player Dore have risen to VFL Grand Final appointments after being the first two participants in the VFL Player to Umpire program that started in 2015.
AFL Victoria Head Coach of Umpiring Cameron Nash congratulated the nine umpires on their achievement.
“The umpires selected have been rewarded with their VFL Grand Final selection through consistent performances throughout the home-and-away season as well as performing to a high standard during the finals,” Nash said.
“It is exciting to have eight umpires doing their first VFL Grand Final, and there is a good blend of experience with four of the umpires selected having umpired over 100 VFL matches.”
GRAND FINAL UMPIRES
PETER JACKSON VFL #LOVETHEGAME GRAND FINAL
(EMERG) CAMERON DORE
(EMERG) JOHN VARKER
SWISSE WELLNESS VFL WOMEN’S#LOVETHEGAME GRAND FINAL
(EMERG) MICHAEL WILLCOX
(EMERG) JAMES RIZIO