Three of the Bupa TSL’s most promising field umpires will have the chance to fast-track their development in 2020 under the tutelage of former AFL umpire Scott McLaren.
Sam Bridges, Casey Fellows and Tomas McIntee have all been selected to join the Victoria/Tasmania Umpiring Talent Hub, which will be coached by McLaren who officiated 365 AFL matches, including five Grand Finals.
The AFL Umpiring Talent Hubs is an expansion of the AFL Umpiring Team’s talent program and is designed to better prepare the country’s most talented State League umpires for a career in the AFL.
Bridges, Fellows and McIntee will all be exposed to high-performance principles and work on both their umpiring and personal development through the season under the guidance of McLaren who will watch the trio officiate a match prior to the season while also monitoring match vision throughout the year and provide feedback on how they are tracking.
Bridges, 24, also works as AFL Tasmania’s Umpiring Development Manager and after being part of the AFL umpiring academy preparatory program in 2019 says any opportunity to learn from the best in the business is something to taken with both hands.
“The exposure to such a high level of coaching is something I’m looking forward to.
“Like for anyone, a different voice is often what you need to find the little things that you need to work on to get better. Scott will be a voice in our ear to help pick up on those little things.”
Bridges is excited to see how McIntee and Fellows develop throughout the season as a result of this opportunity.
“Tom and Casey are two exceptional young umpires who are well and truly on the pathway towards making it at the top level. This opportunity is just another step for them to that end goal and will help fast-track their development.
“The AFL is doing a great job at advancing the umpiring pathway and providing opportunities for state league umpires.
“We are fortunate in that we have a really talented young list of TSL umpires and if we are able to bring back lessons we learn from Scott it will only benefit umpiring as a whole, but also showcase that it is working for us as individuals.”
AFL Tasmania TSL / TSLW Umpiring Coordinator Gerry O’Dea says the trio’s selection is a testament to their own hard work, but also an opportunity that will have a broader impact on the state’s umpiring pathway.
“The Talent Hub is an exciting new development and a great opportunity for three of our finest young field umpires to shine. It’s also an acknowledgement that Tasmania is punching above its weight in terms of pathway opportunities. Not only will Sam, Casey and Tom receive best practice coaching and personal development advice, they will also be able to share this information with their colleagues at a TSL level. So it’s a win/win for us.”
“For them to have regular access to Scott McLaren, a five-time AFL Grand Final umpire is a priceless experience, and one that will can them on the road to success. It’s the equivalent of being taught to drive by Lewis Hamilton!”