Former Ballarat Football Umpires Association official Callum Leonard has kicked a goal of his own, promoted to the offical AFL umpires list for season 2022.
Now one of just 25 elite goal umpires around the country, Leonard will be among the first called upon for AFL games next season.
A three-time Ballarat Football Netball League grand final goal umpire, two-time VFL grand final and one time AFLW grand final umpire, the 31-year-old has risen through the ranks over 15 years to earn his place on the elite squad.
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Earlier this year, as a rookie listed umpire, Leonard was called up to make his AFL debut when Hawthorn hosted Brisbane in Launceston.
Leonard said it had been a long journey to get to this point of his career, with goal umpires traditionally continuing in the sport well into their 40s, meaning spots are generally hard to win.
"It's funny, as a footy player you get to my age and you're just starting to think about finishing up, where for me the career is essentially just getting started," he said.
"My journey hasn't necessarily been the quickest, but most guys tend to take 10-15 years to make it.
"Obviously we've had two interrupted seasons, well, one that didn't happen at all and the other was cut short midway through."
The AFL goal umpires ranked have had two retirements this season which has opened the door for Leonard to be promoted.
"We've had one retire after 17 years and another was around for 15 or 16 years," he said.
Leonard is living proof that no matter where you come from, you can make it to elite levels. Prior to Leonard's promotion, Ballarat most famous umpire export is Shane McInerney who was a field umpire in more than 500 games, including the 2004 and 2007 grand final.
Leonard said he was excited about getting a chance to umpire at the MCG, admitting concentration will definitely have to be at its best when he's standing in front of the Tiger army at the Punt Road end of the MCG.
He said having umpired his first game in Launceston on a last-minute call-up earlier this season but with no family allowed, he was looking forward to being able to umpire in front of his family and friends when it comes to debut "2.0".
And he said, just like footballers, umpires can also be in and out of form.
"Every game gets ranked on your decisions, your positioning. If you've made a mistake, it can knock your confidence, but it's a matter of picking yourself up and getting on with it," he said