Willing and waiting to umpire
His last game, his 612th, was out at Coreen five weeks ago. Covid, of course, caused the cancellation of all of the 2020 season and there have been interruptions this season.
“I’ve umpired ten games in the past two years – normally I’ve umpired forty,” the man popularly known as ‘Wocka’ from Yarrawonga told the Yarrawonga Chronicle.
“I’ve given the treadmill a good work out to keep fit.”
Henderson has been described as a great mentor to umpires by fellow umpire and friend Jason Raine.
“I’ve known ‘Wocka’ a long time, through a family connection,” Raine said.
“He’s an idol of mine. When I wasn’t that good at footy I took up umpiring instead. He’s been a great mentor for a lot of umpires.
We’ve actually done a grand-final together, about five years ago (in the O and M). Wocka is a great bloke and top umpire.”
Included in Henderson’s total of 612 games are 334 Ovens and Murray games with seven grand-finals. Raine, 28, who lives in Wodonga and used to play football at Chiltern, has umpired six O and M grand-finals.
Sixty-six-year-old Peter Andreski is head coach and development officer for AFL North East Border, with 160 umpires under his watch. He rates Henderson highly.
“Wocka is a very good umpire who has been around a long time,” Andreski, the umpire of over 800 games including about 100 in the O and M, said. “When he goes out on the field you know you’ll get a good job. He’s like a truck going on a long trip to Sydney – he goes the one pace.”
The 56-year-old state award-winning greenskeeper Henderson at Yarrawonga Mulwala Golf Club Resort still loves umpiring. He used to play junior football in Rutherglen and thirds, seconds and seniors in the Coreen league.
“Since I retired from footy I wanted to put something back into the game,” he said. “I decided to have a crack at umpiring and have never looked back.”
Asked about unfavourable aspects to umpiring, the very fit looking 55-year-old umpire responded: “I dislike people questioning my decisions.
“Some people have no idea on the interpretation of the rules. So long as they come back and talk to you – which players do – we move on.”
When asked about umpiring next season, Henderson didn’t hesitate. “Yes, I’ll be umpiring.” And he is ready for whatever game, to close off season 2021.
Legendary local football umpire Warwick Henderson keeps waiting for the call to umpire his next football match.