Six of Tasmania’s most promising young umpires will be given the chance to learn from the best as part of the ‘AFL Mates Program’ in 2019.
The Mates Program, which has been running for years in Victoria, aims to promote the development of talented young umpires through a mentor program with elite AFL umpires.
Field umpires Ryan Guy and Tomas McIntee, boundary umpires Ollie Bennett and Dominic Schiliro and goal umpires Will Flack and Will Robertson will all be mentored throughout the season by an AFL-listed umpire in a new initiative for the state.
Guy and McIntee will both be ‘Mates’ with Nick Foot, a Tasmanian-born umpire with 113 AFL games to his name after debuting in 2012.
Mitch Le Fevre will mentor Launceston pair Bennett and Schiliro, with Le Fevre, a 251-game veteran heading into 2019, inducted into the Tasmanian Football Hall of Fame in 2018.
Hobart-based Mark Ensbey (70 AFL games since debuting in 2014) will be a mentor for goal umpiring duo Will Flack and Will Robertson.
AFL Tasmania Umpire Development Coordinator Sam Bridges says the program will provide some of the state’s best emerging talent with invaluable knowledge.
“To have three of the best umpires Tasmania has produced working alongside some of our emerging talent is a great coup for the state’s umpiring program,” Bridges said.
“I know that Nick, Mitch and Mark are all looking forward to giving back to who will hopefully be the AFL umpires of the future, and I know that our six beneficiaries of the ‘Mates’ program are itching to get stuck into it.
“This won’t benefit just these six umpires, as our broader squad will all be able to take learnings from what is being passed on and improve as the season progresses,” Bridges added.
Foot, Le Fevre and Ensbey will all meet with their Tasmanian ‘mates’ as often as possible during the season, particularly surrounding appointments for AFL matches in the state.