AFL umpires give back to local footy

AFL umpire Martin Rodger with players from the Parkside Junior Football Club and Park Orchards Sharks Junior Football Club.

Some lucky junior football players received a special visit from an AFL umpire at their games over the weekend. As part of Community Umpiring Week, four experienced AFL umpires pulled up their socks to officiate junior games across the Yarra Junior Football League (YJFL), Southern Metro Junior Football League (SMJFL) and the Essendon Districts Football League (EDFL) on Sunday.

At the U13 Mixed Division 2 match between Parkside and Park Orchards, AFL umpire Martin Rodger gave the teams a pre-match address before taking to the field alongside community umpire Luke Buttigieg, providing some valuable on-field insights and umpiring tips.

Martin made his AFL umpiring debut in Round 1, 2023, after beginning his umpiring career at the age of 15 through the Northern Football Netball League. As a senior umpire, Martin has officiated 31 AFLW games, 5 VFLW and 82 VFL matches, including the 2017 AFLW Grand Final, the 2019 and 2022 VFL Grand Finals and received the VFL Umpire of the Year honours twice.

The EDFL saw appearances from AFL umpires Nick Foot and Robert Findlay at U12 games Keilor v Greenvale (Mixed Division 1) and Oak Park v Gisbourne (Girls Division 2), whilst Brett Rosebury paid a visit to the SMJFL at the U16 Girls Port Melbourne v East Malvern Knights (Division 1) match.

Anyone interested in becoming a local football umpire is encouraged to visit to find out more.