Don’t miss your chance to see David and the five other worthy inductees honoured at the 2016 SFNL Hall of Fame. CLICK HERE for further details on the event and to book your place.
By Will Hunter
Highly decorated whistle blower David Luttrell will this year become just the second umpire to be inducted into the SFNL Hall of Fame, following on from the inclusion of Peter Martin in 2015.
Luttrell commence his lengthy career with the whistle on the boundary began back in 1981, and retired in 2010 as one of the most respected field officiators in the business with a total of 625 games to his credit.
Four of those matches were Division 1 Senior Grand Finals as a field umpire, and he participated in a further five on the boundary.
In addition to his sterling on-field resume, Luttrell has also made an incredible contribution to the South East Suburban Football League and Southern Football League Umpires Associations off the field.
He served as Treasurer of the SESFLUA/SFLUA from 1989 until 1995, and later became President of the SFLUA in 1998, a role he held for four seasons.
Luttrell credits his uncle, himself an umpire in the SESFL, with introducing him to umpiring back as a teenager in the early 1980’s.
Initially Luttrell started off as a boundary umpire, but after 12 or 13 years he ventured onto the field, which he believed was the natural progression, and learned a great deal about the craft from the senior field umpires at the time.
He rates his nine Division 1 Senior Grand Final appearances as his best memories because, just like a player, these contests are the pinnacle of the sport and the matches that everybody strives to be a part of.
But although he looks back fondly at these on field achievements, his recollections of the matches themselves are a bit of a blur.
However, the one he remembers most was the first Division 1 Grand Final that he officiated in as a young boundary umpire back in 1987 between Noble Park and Tooronga-Malvern.
“That was just like running on air because it was something you’d been aiming for for years before that and to finally get it and to finally do the game was a wonderful feeling,” Luttrell recalled.
Over the journey Luttrell has been the recipient of several awards and accolades, including the prestigious Graeme Bertram Award.
The Graeme Bertram award is a combined Umpiring Department/Umpires Association Award for ongoing excellence on the field and for making a major contribution to the SFLUA off the field. It is voted on by just two individuals, the President of the SFLUA and the Umpires’ advisor, or the Head Coach of the Umpiring Department.
Luttrell claimed this unique award twice (in 2002 and 2008) and is very aware of the significance of it.
“It meant a hell of a lot because it’s obviously recognition of your efforts and it recognises the fact that, not only are you a reasonably good umpire on the field… but you are also making a contribution to umpiring in general off the field,” Luttrell said.
“That’s equally as important as turning up and umpiring.”
In addition, Luttrell has been bestowed Life Membership of both the SESFLUA and the SFLUA, which recognises 10 years of service given to each of those organisations.
He was also made a Life Member of the SFNL in 2004.
But induction in to the SFNL Hall of Fame is the ultimate reward for a man of such unwavering loyalty and utmost integrity, and a deserved honour for one of the umpiring fraternity's all-time greats.