Top umpire on hand for the NPFL grand final
A high-profile AFL umpire will be among those calling the shots at the North Pilbara Football League grand final this Saturday.
WA Football Commission umpire development manager and experienced AFL umpire Dean Margetts will be mentoring local umpires before and during the NPFL final in South Hedland this Saturday and is himself an emergency umpire for the big game.
Margetts, who has refereed a total of 277 AFL matches, including several preliminary finals, said he had volunteered to run the NPFL’s umpire training during the rare bye before this year’s AFL finals as another way to support country football and its umpires.
“If I can come up and coach and help them out with support and some feedback, because they probably don’t get that expertise from AFL umpires very often ... it’s a unique opportunity to give them some live on-the-field coaching,” he said.
“I think community football is almost the fabric of most community environments, and I think it’s a really important thing that we have players, coaches, trainers and umpires involved because it’s a very important part of any community’s weekend.”
He said he was ready for anything at the NPFL’s big game.
“I know there will be some passion there,” he said.
“I’m going in eyes wide open, to be honest.
“And I’m sure there will be a few people hanging over the fence reminding me I probably should have stayed away.”
NPFL boundary umpire Rodney Barden said this was the first time he had seen an AFL umpire mentor a local squad during grand final week in his 15 years of umpiring.
“There’s a lot of excitement within the team,” he said.
“Nothing but a positive can come out of this. To have someone like this up here ... to give us some coaching and advice preparing for a grand final (is great).
“It’s not just the field umpires — he’ll be able to look at the goal umpires, help them out, and especially the boundary umpires ... it’s just an opportunity to have someone like him to help them out as well.”
AFL umpire Dean Margetts will be part of the North Pilbara Football League grand final on Saturday.