Umpire pathway a State blueprint: Margetts

Tim EdmundsAlbany Advertiser

AFL umpire Dean Margetts has lauded the zero tolerance approach to umpire abuse adopted by the Southern Districts Junior Football Association which has been a factor in their panel of junior umpires tripling in recent seasons.

Margetts, who recently umpired his 400th league match, visited Albany for the second time last week as the WA Football Commission’s umpire development manager to continue to work with the competition’s emerging umpires and junior coaches.

The experienced AFL field umpire praised the work of umpires co-ordinator Mel Benson, umpire coaches Rob, Neil and Jeff Daniels and WAFC regional manager Tom Moir and the positive matchday environment being created had led to more teenagers taking up field and boundary umpiring.

“It has come a long way, it shows this program is working,” he said.

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“Numbers have tripled easily but it doesn’t happen overnight.

“It’s the perfect model for other country regions to follow.”

SDJFA president Michael O’Dea said the association had concentrated on improving their matchday environment and providing a pathway for junior umpires to the higher level for potential careers.

He said the many of the young umpires also played and enjoyed the pocket money and extra fitness.

Many of the young umpires officiate in the SDJFA and have progressed on to umpiring in the Great Southern Football League.

Margetts said he could remember the dire situation when he first visited the region in his role in 2014 when umpire numbers were of grave concern.

“In my opinion it’s now the healthiest numbers wise and supportive program in the State,” he said.

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