Elite umpires return for training camp

AFL umpire Shane McInerney and BFUA senior field coach Simon Harrison chat during training last night. PICTURE: LACHLAN BENCE

AFL umpire Shane McInerney and BFUA senior field coach Simon Harrison chat during training last night. PICTURE: LACHLAN BENCE

AFL whistleblowers Shane McInerney and Michael Palm wound back the clock and relived some old memories during a trip to Ballarat on Wednesday night.

McInerney and Palm, who were both members of the Ballarat Football Umpires Association before reaching the top level, joined fellow AFL umps Tristan Burgess, Ian Burrows, Drew Kowalski and Adam Wojcik at BFUA training at City Oval.

To promote the AFL’s Community Umpiring Round, elite umpires will this week visit associations in regional and metropolitan centres to help improve skills, as well as offer information to potential new recruits.

“It is the AFL’s way of supporting and appreciating the role that community umpires have,” McInerney said.

“Today’s opportunities aren’t just at the AFL level; those opportunities are at the community level as well.”

BFUA senior field coach Simon Harrison said it was a big thrill to see two former umpires of the association come back to Ballarat.

“It’s a bit of a homecoming for these guys as well to see how the group is functioning,” Harrison said.

“From our group’s perspective, to have people at the top level is just fantastic for the younger ones that aspire, and great for a lot of our older umpires that know and grew up with Shane and Michael and follow their fortunes.”

Harrison said the BFUA was in a strong position through good numbers, which were continuing to rise.

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