Umpires Appointed For Bupa TSL Grand Final

An experienced trio with over 450 senior games and 50 finals will take control of the 2018 BUPA TSL Grand Final between North Launceston and Lauderdale to be played at UTAS Stadium this Saturday, September 15.

Matt Clarke, Nick Butler and Joel Harris were selected as the field umpires with Sam Bridges named as the emergency.

Butler will be umpiring his first grand final, while Clarke will be umpiring his sixth grand final and Harris his fourth.

Clarke, who was last week named as TSL Field Umpire of the Year, also becomes the first field umpire to have officiated in more than five TSL Grand Finals.

Matt Clarke, the TSL Umpire of the year, will officiate the 2018 Grand Final. IC: Andrew Woodgate

“Matt, Nick and Joel have all had very strong seasons and fully deserve their selection” said State Umpire Coach, Cameron Lee.

“Matt has been an outstanding umpire for a long time now. He has an incredible feel for the game and his decision making and bouncing is terrific. He will have the honour of taking the first bounce”.

“Nick comes in this year with over 150 games and nine finals of experience. He has really worked hard and his strong decision making and communication skills has been his big strength all season”.

“Joel has been there on the big stage many times before, he is a very good athlete and has the great match management skills to really stand up when it counts”.

Harris conceded that the appointment was a pleasing reward after a lengthy season.

“It is great reward,” he said.

“Our training period starts in November so we have trained really hard through the off-season into the footy and then until the end of the season.

“We have put in some good performances and they have been rewarded with a TSL Grand Final, so we are pretty rapt to be there,” Harris said.

Butler, set for his first TSL Grand Final, was also relieved to get the call-up after being on the verge of selection in recent years.

“This will be my first (Grand Final).

“It is nice to get reward for all the effort we have put in not just this year, but over the last three or four years – working together as a nice, tight group with lots of young players and being able to mentor them has been terrific.

“I have been close the last few years so it is nice to reach the goal I have set myself for for so long,” Butler said.

Butler and Harris are looking forward to taking to the field and know that they have what it takes to perform well on the biggest stage.

“Each umpire has their own individual strengths,” Butler said.

Nick has a striong decision-making proicess and his decision-making accuracy is terrific. Matt Clarke has a fantastic decision-making process as well and is highly skilled. My strength would be match management, skills and cision making.

“I’m not as much of an athlete as Joel, but the one-percenters have let me down in the past, so to tidy those up and have everything come together at the right end of the season is really rewarding.

Joel Harris (second from right) and Nick Butler (right) will both be officiating the 2018 Bupa TSL Grand Final. IC: Solstice Digital

Boundary Umpires Rhys Goodyer and Lucas Chamberlain will be officiating in their third straight grand final while Ollie Bennett and Lochlan Bromfield will be on debut.

“We have a good blend of experience and youth on the boundary this year. Our focus has been on developing that young list. Having Rhys appointed to the curtain-raiser to the AFL Grand Final this year caps off a very good season developmentally, and I hope that in the next few seasons we will see him earn an AFL spot,” Lee said.

Boundary umpire Ollie Bennett will make his Grand Final debut. IC: Andrew Woodgate

Goal Umpire Bryce Guy will make his grand final debut after having umpired strongly for a number of seasons, both here and in AFLW. Brayden White returns after some time away for his second grand final, while Jayden Carey has been named as the emergency.

“Bryce and Brayden are two goal umpires who I think have big careers ahead of them and are already displaying some of the capabilities to umpire AFL”.

“Umpiring a TSL Grand Final is what every umpire strives for. Most of our top guys have been training six days per week since November.

“We need to be fitter than the players because unfortunately we don’t have the luxury of going to the bench and doing rotations.

“We ask a lot from them with group training, video analysis, self assessment and law reviews. The fact that our best goal umpire runs 6 mins 35 secs for 2km really highlights to me how hard and professionally we are working,” Lee said.

Please see below the career statistics of each grand final umpire. 



Matt Clarke

Games: 144

Finals: 22

Grand Finals: 5 (2009, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017)

Nick Butler

Games: 151

Finals: 9

Grand Finals:

Joel Harris

Games: 174

Finals: 22

Grand Finals: 3 (2013, 2014, 2016)


Sam Bridges

Games: 26

Finals: 2

Grand Finals: –



Rhys Goodyer

Games: 78

Finals: 10

Grand Finals: 2 (2016, 2017)

Lucas Chamberlain

Games: 66

Finals: 8

Grand Finals: 2 (2016, 2017)

Ollie Bennett

Games: 18

Finals: 2

Grand Finals: –

Lochlan Bromfield

Games: 43

Finals: 5

Grand Finals: –


Bryce Guy

Games: 90

Finals: 7

Grand Finals: –

Brayden White

Games: 113

Games: 14

Grand Finals: 1 (2012)


Jayden Carey

Games: 128

Finals: 10

Grand Finals: –


Field: Damon Marsh, Adrian Cornish, Jake McKercher (Nick Flack EM)

Boundary: Hayden Cannon, Jessica Gaffney, Ryan Graham-Daft

Goal: Michael White, Will Flack (Sam Roberts EM)



Field: Tom McIntee, Ryan Guy, Cameron Doyle (James Dietrich EM)

Boundary: Brodie Laing, Shelby Stubbs, Jacob Bevis, Jack Marsh

Goal: Jayden Carey, Kayden Wynwood (Bradley Chamberlain EM)