Well, here we are.
After a strong pre-season led by our new fitness supervisor Gavin de Kretser, it is almost a relief to pull on the boots and head out for round 1.
There have been 6 notable absences from our pre-season training, and we’re delighted to announce that they have all been accepted onto their respective VFL development panels. We congratulate Sam Levin, George Wood, Sam Beer, Adrian Pretorius, Michael Driver and Antonio Valente on their achievements, and wish them well for their first season in the VFL Development Squads.
But while we lose some umpires to the VFL and others to life commitments, we are lucky to welcome dozens of new umpires every year to our ranks. We have umpires joining us from junior associations, returning from the VFL, and some taking up the whistle for the first time. This is particularly important in a year where we see an amazing 1200 new players take to the field in the VAFA Women’s competition.
To the players in the VAFA Womens – The VAFAUA has welcomed many ex-footballers into our ranks, including Vice President Andy Hartnett. Some have gone on to reach AFL level. While its very early days in many of your playing careers, for those a little further down the track please do consider umpiring as a way to stay involved in football when you’ve had one too many injuries and are ready to hang up the boots. The VAFAUA is much like a footy club, and we are a diverse and inclusive group who welcome umpires of any background and experience level.
In my first few months as president, it has struck me how enviable our relationship with the clubs and VAFA community is – and it is this acceptance of umpires as an integral part of VAFA football that makes us such a strong umpiring group, and the safe and welcoming environment provided by the club fuels the recruitment of young umpires.
This acceptance also comes with expectation – an expectation of umpires to demonstrate respect for the VAFA, for the clubs and players we are officiating, and for our own fellow umpires. It is only by showing respect that we will receive respect for our role in return. Generations of umpires in the VAFA have exhibited this quality and lived the amateur ethos, and we must strive to continue this into the future.
To our umpires, particularly those joining us for the first time – I encourage you to actively participate in VAFA and VAFAUA life. Come along to the VAFAUA social events. Attend the club after-matches. Get to know some of the players you officiate, as well as the club coaches/officials. If you are invited to join in the post-match scull competition... well… remember that water/soft drinks are always an option – and do us proud!
Finally, we have established a new website for season 2017, and are hoping to welcome Social members to our association for the first time. Our newsletter database is open for all to join, and we’d love to welcome more people into the VAFAUA family. Please visit www.vafaua.asn.au for more information. If you’ve ever considered picking up the whistle – there’s no time like the present!
Good luck to all clubs and umpires for 2017!
ROUND 1 APPOINTMENTS - Reminder that while these are current as of Friday Morning, umpires should check Schedula for up to date appointments. Any queries should be directed to Brian Woodhead or your coach.