Denmark top cop enforcing the rules on and off the field after GSFL debut

Cameron NewboldAlbany Advertiser
Officer in charge of Denmark police Matt Hartfield in his GSFL role as league umpire.
Camera IconOfficer in charge of Denmark police Matt Hartfield in his GSFL role as league umpire. Credit: Laurie Benson

Denmark’s top cop Sgt Matt Hartfield is enjoying the challenge of upholding the rules both on and off the field.

Sgt Hartfield umpired his first game in the Great Southern Football League on Saturday but blowing the whistle is something he is quite familiar with.

Having spent years in the police force, where his day job is centred on enforcing the law, Hartfield is also no stranger to umpiring a football game.

He spent time as a central umpire in the WAFL, getting as high as the reserves competition, and in the Public Schools Association and various other country areas including most recently the North Pilbara Football League.

Sgt Hartfield, the officer-in-charge at Denmark Police Station, is involved with his three boys participating in junior football but said he relished the step back up to senior officiating.

“It has been a while since I’ve done that level,” Sgt Hartfield said. “The last senior game I did was in Karratha about five years ago.

“At WAFL I got to the reserves but I never got to league level. The last few years I have been helping out with juniors so at 45 to keep up with a league game was a bit of a shock to the system but I pulled up all right.

“Between the under-14s in the morning, walking around normally and then the league game I did 24km on Saturday so that will teach me.”

Sergeant Matt Hartfield in his role as Denmark’s officer in charge.
Camera IconSergeant Matt Hartfield in his role as Denmark’s officer in charge. Credit: Laurie Benson

Approaching four years in Denmark, Sgt Hartfield said he was happy to do his bit and help out the diminished local umpiring stocks.

“In the current situation they need people to help out,” he said.

“If people don’t help out then games don’t go on, so I’ll help out where I can. (Umpiring) is about being confident around your decisions and to be fair and reasonable and earn that respect.

I do it on the footy field and in the police environment. I know some of the Denmark guys, we had a bit of banter out on the field but for my first game the behaviour of the players was quite good.

“I’m happy to talk about a decision but it normally doesn’t get changed.”

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