Current AFL field umpire Mathew Nicholls, who officiated in the 2013 AFL Grand Final between Hawthorn and Fremantle, has been appointed head coach of AFL Victoria’s Female Umpire Academy.
The Academy is designed to support and develop talented female umpires and help them climb the umpiring ranks.
Nicholls, who replaces fellow AFL field umpire Marty Ellis after three years in the job, will play an active role in the development of the 23 members of the umpire academy.
The girls will meet once a fortnight for traning sessions at Visy Park and under the guidance of Nicholls look to improve their running patterns and decision making, and develop strategies to overcome obstacles that all umpires face.
AFL Victoria Umpire Development Manager Neville Nash said the appointment of Nicholls was a significant coup for the Academy.
“Being one of the most highly regarded field umpires in the AFL with more than 200 games experience, Mathew is an ideal person to lead the Academy,” Nash said.
“Marty (Ellis) did a fantastic job with the girls over the past three years and as such we have many promising female umpires throughout the state.”
“With 14 new girls in the Academy this year, it’s hoped talented female umpires may soon step up to the VFL level.”
Nicholls, who began his umpiring career in the Diamond Valley FL in 1992, said he was excited to be taking the reins of the AFL Victoria’s Female Umpire Academy.
“The Academy coaching role is a great opportunity for me to develop my coaching skills while also contributing to the development and professionalism of some very good umpires,” Nicholls said.
“I’m looking forward to working with the girls to help enhance their umpiring skills and hopefully prepare some of them to take the next step up to the VFL.”
Nicholls will be assisted by Eliza Broadbent, former member of the academy and senior field umpire with Eastern Football League.