2014 has been a successful year for football umpiring in the Southern Football League. On Wednesday night almost 200 people celebrated the season at the SFL Umpiring Grand Finals Appointments and Awards night.
Director of Umpiring for the Southern Football League, Peter Mair, thanked all stakeholders across the league who assisted with delivery of the umpiring program, including the SFL Board and Administration, the Umpiring Department coaching and administration team, the SFL Umpires Association, all Umpires, the SFL Coaches Association, Presidents, Coaches, Captains and Players.
A number of Awards were presented during the evening.
AFL Victoria Umpire Development Manager, Neville Nash, presented the Golden Whistle Award to Sam Bridges. The Golden Whistle Award is an encouragement award for an Umpire in the formative stages of their umpiring career, who displays a clear desire to pursue an umpiring career in community and possibly the next level. Mr Nash also presented a Golden Whistle to Annie Mirabile. Annie is a listed umpire with the SFL, however, won the award as an Umpire in the Victorian Women’s Football League.
First year Umpires, experienced Umpires who assisted new Umpires, and Umpires who obtained Level 1 or Level 2 accreditation as part of the National Umpiring Accreditation Scheme, were all recognised.
Andrew Scott was awarded the Most Dedicated Umpire, for excellence in preparation and training.
Best First Year Umpire awards went to Ilya Fridman (Field), Daniel Ebbott (Boundary) and Adam Ross (Goal).
Leigh Dawkins (Field), Lachlan Harris (Boundary) and Tayla Manning (Goal) won awards for Most Improved Umpires.
Peter Martin won the prestigious Graeme Bertram Award which is a combined Umpiring Department / Umpires Association Award for ongoing excellence on the field and for making a major contribution to the Umpires Association off the field.
Best Clubman was awarded to Thomas Grundy.
Games milestones were recognised, together with two Umpires being awarded life membership of the SFL Umpires Association.
Carmel and Nigel Thompson (Canteen) and Kevin Mitchell (Uniform Shop) were recognised for their volunteer efforts, by receiving a community umpiring recognition award provided by the AFL.
The evening concluded with the announcement of the 2014 Grand Final Umpires across all grades.