Top um­pire on hand for the NPFL grand fi­nal

Pilbara News - - News - Ali­cia Per­era

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.”

Pic­ture: Michael O'Brien

AFL um­pire Dean Mar­getts will be part of the North Pil­bara Foot­ball League grand fi­nal on Sat­ur­day.

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