AFL Outer East marks Women in Umpiring Day

An all-female umpiring panel is set to take the field for Women in Umpiring Day. Picture: ON FILE

By Callum Ludwig

Outer East Football Netball in conjunction with the Yarra Ranges Umpires Association will be hosting a Women in Umpiring Day at the Emerald vs Belgrave games on Saturday 21 May.

The day aims to highlight some of the AFL Outer East’s outstanding female umpires and encourage more women to give umpiring a go, particularly with the game shifting at a professional and community level to create a more hospitable and respectful environment for umpires.

AFL Outer East Head of Umpiring John Howorth said recruitment of new umpires, including female umpires, has been a big positive this season.

“This year we have recruited 54 umpires, which is accumulates to a third of our list’ he said.

“Of that, nine of our new recruits are female, taking our total to 16.”

The Senior match at Emerald’s home ground of Chandler Reserve will be umpired by an all-female panel, pink umpire uniforms will be worn to honour the occasion.

Shannyn Gereg, Veronica Brown and Ella Priestley will be involved in officiating the Reserves game, while in the Seniors Sophie Mastaing and Sam Price will be the field umpires, Taylah and Georgia Priestley will be joined by Chloe Siddall on the boundary and Amelia Gemmill and Sarah Fishley will be behind the goals.

​The AFL Umpiring department will also be in attendance to support and acknowledge the significance of the occasion to the region and umpiring as a whole. AFL Head of Umpiring, Dan Richardson will be joined by Head of Community Umpiring Brenton Sanderson to toss the coin and be apart of the formal proceedings of the day including a post match function in the clubrooms from 5:30pm in which Dr Mandy Ruddock-Hudson and well known sports presenter Brad McEwan from ELEVATE Performance & Wellbeing, will be sharing their experiences of female participation in community sport and how important the ‘Women in umpiring day’ is to the community and female participation in sport.

The AFL Outer East has a track record of supporting young female umpires such as Maddie Lum who has gone on to become an AFLW Boundary Umpire, having umpired 102 games previously in the Yarra Ranges including two grand finals in 2015 and 2016. She has made 22 AFLW appearances to date.