The Rochester Echuca Football Umpires Association is already gearing up for 2017 and do so with a multitude of umpires at their disposal.
The association has had an influx of members throughout 2016 and currently has 73 umpires on the books, which puts them in a good position for next season.
They’ll have a full complement of umpires to supply the Heathcote and District Football League from thirds through to seniors, ranging from ages 11 to 65.
The association also contributes umpires to the Goulburn Valley Junior Football League to promote the development of junior umpires from boundary to central umpiring.
Six female umpires have joined the team in the past year, which has been greatly encouraging for the growth of women in the sport.
The association had its AGM last Wednesday (October 26) and had a change of presidency, with Russell Brodie stepping into the role and Marlene Stapleton taking over as secretary.
The REFUA would like to thank out-going president Alan Aylward and secretary Brett Ayres for their commitment and help in securing a strong membership base over their time serving on the committee.
Aylward is a life member and has been a coach and mentor to the young umpires to develop their skills over the past 15 years.
Ayres has been a loyal member of the REFUA for the last 18 years, helping the association run smoothly in an ever changing environment and was named a finalist in the administrator of the year awards in 2014.
Pre-season training will commence January 2017 and anyone interested in giving umpiring a try can contact Marlene Stapleton on 0416 288 767 or Gary Langdon on 0427 809 276.
The presentation evening was held on August 30, with members recognised for their contributions throughout the 2016 season.
AFL Victoria umpire development manager Russell O’Toole attended the night.
Charlotte Batchelor was awarded the golden whistle, Harry Marshall took out the junior boundary award and Jacob Baldock the junior field.
First year field award went to Dylan Stapleton, with the first year goal award going to Bruce Thompson and first year boundary joint winners were Rylea Demerlo and Shaylee Anderson.
In the seniors boundary went to Noah Downie and Cohen Spicer, Russell Brodie (field) and Paul Whelan (goal).
Marlene Stapleton was awarded best club person for her work at the association and the training award went to Brent Thomas.
The Ray Ponton award for services above and beyond normal expectations went to Gary Langdon, who’s been able to coordinate the position of appointments and assist in coaching.
Life member Brett Ayres was inducted as a legend of the game for his long-term dedication and service to the association.