This weekend is a real testing time for the WRFL umpires. After a staggered start to the season, we now move into a full day of football for all three divisions on Saturday and then have all the junior grades playing on Sunday. Plus, the women’s and girls’ grades also require field umpires.

All this will certainly stretch the umpiring resources to their fullest. Last season saw shortages in a few areas. Firstly, there were not enough field umpires to cover all the junior fixtures on a Sunday. Likewise, goal umpires only were able to be provided for about half the Under-17 and Under-15 matches.

Many umpires were called upon to double up and do two games of a Saturday or two games on a Sunday. Some umpires did one game or more on both days. It appears that the same thing will happen again this season.

At present, there are about 40 young students from the various academies being instructed and assisted by mentors. Hopefully they will develop sufficiently in their umpiring skills so that in a few weeks that they all will be able to umpire on their own without the need for a mentor to be with them.This will help swell the umpiring numbers slightly.

The Academy at MacKillop boasts a large percentage of Under-13 footballers from the Werribee Centrals Football Club. The WRFL umpiring department encourages young footballers to combine both playing and umpiring. At times it might mean a little bit of juggling but in most cases it can be done.

So if there are any other footballers out there who would like to know more about the possibilities of umpiring (and playing) then just go to the WRFL umpiring website at or simply Google WRFL umpires. Of course, you don’t necessarily need to be a current player to become an umpire. Well-known WRFL goal umpire Paul Battaglia spent over 20 years with the Kingsville Football Club before coming into umpiring in 1996. His one regret is that he didn’t make the move into umpiring sooner than he did.


This week’s question: In a senior game after a behind has been scored when can a defender kick the ball back into play?

(a) When the goal umpire has signalled a behind

(b) When the goal square and nearby area is clear of players

(c) A combination of both.



The answer is (c) A combination of both. 


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