Hobart-based umpire Emily Best will make history on Saturday, becoming the first female to take to the field as a running umpire in a TSL Senior or Development League Grand Final.
Best, 17, has enjoyed a remarkable third year of her umpiring journey, having officiated the Tasmania v Queensland Women’s State Game earlier this season as well as making her debut as an AFLW umpire.
Best has been surprised by her rise through the umpiring ranks.
“A year ago I was keen to see how far I could go with my umpiring but I did not expect to have a season like this.
“I managed to get into the TSL seniors thanks to my coaches and was lucky enough to run the State Game and now in the AFLW. I’m learning so much about umpiring at that higher level, so it’s really exciting to have had a season like this and know that I am growing as an individual both on and off the field.”
Although slightly nervous, Best is excited by the chance to run the boundary in the Grand Final and is proud of the umpiring pathway that’s now available for women and girls.
“It’s very exciting. Grand Final atmospheres are amazing to be part of.
“I’m honestly honoured to be the first female umpire to take to the field in a TSL or Development League Grand Final. It’s a little overwhelming but it’s an awesome experience and I’m really excited to take part.
“It’s really good to show young girls the pathways available in umpiring so they can see it and think they’re capable of doing it too.”
Best will become the first appointed running umpire for a TSL or TSL Development League Grand Final, with Xanthea McCarthy and Fern Callaghan both appointed as emergency goal umpires previously.