Former SFNL umpire Annie Mirabile is no stranger to the big stage.
From officiating back-to-back Division 1 Senior Grand Finals, through to VFL senior footy and launching the inaugural AFL Women’s match in front of nearly 25,000 fans, her career continues to progress at a rate of knots.
And tomorrow Mirabile will reach dazzling new heights when she officiates in the blockbuster AFLW Grand Final between Western Bulldogs and Brisbane Lions at Ikon Park.
Mirabile received a call from AFL Umpires National Talent & Development Manager Adam Davis with the news on Monday, and the talented young officiator said she has been on cloud nine since.
“Yeah absolutely (excited). I was at work (when Davis called) so I couldn’t answer at the time, but I saw who it was from and my heart started racing a bit. And when I called back, yeah, I got the good news,” Mirabile said.
“(The nerves) are not too bad at the moment, they will probably be a bit more shaky closer to the game time, but yeah I am looking forward to it. More excitement than nerves.”
“I’ve had a fair few people congratulate me, which has been nice, and the parents are obviously very excited.”
Despite the enormity of the contest on the biggest stage of the AFL Women’s competition, the level-headed Mirabile says she will treat the game just like any other regular season contest, however, she will make sure she enjoys the momentous occasion.
“(I approach it) just like any other game really. Just prepare the same way, don’t change too much, because that’s where you can come unstuck, and just soak it all up and enjoy the moment,” she said.
Last year Mirabile became the first ever female to be appointed to the VFL Senior Field Umpire Squad and has hopes of one day following trailblazer Eleni Glouftsis into the AFL.
SFNL Director of Umpiring, Peter Marshall said that Mirabile’s appointment was well and truly deserved, and that her AFL dream remains a reality.
“It’s a great acknowledgment of where she’s come from and she has a huge future. It’s not a token appointment, she’s earned that appointment under her own steam,” Marshall said.
“She’s tracking well (towards an AFL berth), she has a wonderful opportunity and if she makes it, it will be on her own steam. There won’t be any extra lift because of her gender, she is a bona fide top VFL Senior umpire.”
Meanwhile, SFNL umpires Luke Porter and Cam Watts are currently trialling for a spot alongside Mirable in the VFL Senior squad, while Nathan Guy, Matt Crowley and Sam Rogers are trialling to secure a berth on the VFL development list, which further SFNL Umpire Pathway program.
Congratulations, Annie, on your appointment and go well tomorrow!