After travelling 22-hours, the Watson’s Umpiring Trio made it to the TIO CAFL


It is very rare to hear of umpires travelling up to 100 kilometres for a game, let alone 1,742.

This is what the Watson family, based in Maningrida have done to help kick off Community Umpiring Round in Alice Springs last weekend.

Gerard, Shaun and Wesley Watson who have experience in umpiring a number of TIO NTFL and remote matches of football, travelled by car to Alice Springs with TIO NTFL Premier League Umpire Kimble Perring to experience what it is like to umpire in the Red Centre.

Coinciding with the AFL’s National Community Umpiring Round, all four umpires officiated a number of matches across Round 2 of the TIO CAFL including two A-Grade matches with Shaun and Gerard on the boundary. 

The trip down to Alice Springs wasn’t without its challenges which included overcoming a significant weather change and umpiring in arctic conditions while also learning new rules. Although, the 22-hour journey was worth it for the devoted umpires who were supported across the weekend by experienced AFLNT umpires, Wally Gallio and Sam Cunningham. 
AFLNT Umpiring Manager Andrew Wainwright said being in an umpire in the NT has boundless opportunities. 
“What an extraordinary experience it is to be an umpire in the NT, especially during Community Umpire Week,” 
“One of the best things about being an umpire in the NT is that you can travel from some of the most remote communities of Australia to the cities to learn and grow your skillset. Those from the city can also travel to communities to umpire too!
“The number of Indigenous umpires from remote communities continues to grow through our AFLNT remote development programs across the Territory and we hope one day we will see umpires like the Watson’s umpiring on the big stage.”

If you are interested in umpiring, head to today!

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