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  • Writer's pictureRebecca Ruthven

No game without umpires: Rosebury

AFL Umpire Brett Rosebury is encouraging everyone to give umpiring a go with the local footy season just around the corner.


The West Australian Football Commission recently launched a campaign searching for new umpires ahead of the 2024 local season. Over 1500 games are played each weekend across junior, amateur and state-league levels.


With 25 years of AFL experience under his belt, Rosebury has adjudicated over 500 games – the most of any VFL/AFL umpire.


He celebrated his 500th game during the round 18 clash between Collingwood and Fremantle last season at the MCG.


Rosebury told Sport FM that umpiring is a great way for young Australians to be involved with the game, and it’s a viable career for anyone.


“It's a great way for young guys and girls to stay involved with the game that they've loved,” he said.


“It might just start as a bit of a hobby and enjoyment like that. If you really love it and go on, you can earn up to about $400 umpiring a WAFL League game. Those that can go on to the AFL, you can make a real career out of it.”


“It's a great way to earn a little bit of pocket money on the weekend. If you wanted to, you could do it full-time. It gets paid well enough now at the AFL that you could make it a full-time career and job.


“Umpiring is full of great, amazing people in the community. It's a really great camaraderie down at these local umpiring groups.


“It teaches you great life skills around communication, people management, conflict resolution, all this kind of stuff that you're learning while you're umpiring that you can use in your outside life.”


Rosebury began his umpiring journey in Armadale with the South Suburban Junior Football Umpires Association at 14.


At 18 he became the youngest umpire to officiate at WAFL level before debuting at AFL level in 2000.

 He was inspired to take up umpiring during his junior footy player days.


Rosebury found each week presented a new challenge which made umpiring all the more enjoyable.


“I will admit that I maybe was a little bit of a lippy kid towards the umpire, but that made me want to take it up. I just wanted to give it a go” he said.


“I know that anyone out there, whether you're a current young player, I guarantee that once you take it up and you give it a go, they actually enjoy or realise It's actually a lot more fun than you thought.


“The people that are involved at the community level or the country region, they're amazing people to umpire with and have a bit of a laugh round on the training track.


“It's something that challenges you week to week. You don't know what you're going to get. I've seen things pop up in games 500 or 508 that has not happened before. Things like that challenge you from week to week and you really don't know what each week's going to throw up.”


Recently, many stories have circulated regarding spectator abuse towards umpires. Last year, the WAFC launched its “Stop Umpire Abuse” campaign to draw awareness and act against the issue.


However, Rosebury reassures prospective umpires that they are appreciated, and clubs are creating safe spaces enabling them to develop and perform their role.


“It is important that the clubs do provide that safe environment and they're working really hard in that space by providing club chaperones.


“I think that everyone out there appreciates that there are young umpires that are starting out and it's important to support them.


“The game isn't easy to umpire but there is no game without umpires in the future. So it's important that we look after these young umpires that are in the community and provide that safe space for them to continue to umpire.”



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