Call for more umpires

THE umpiring body that oversees the Central Murray Football Netball League and Golden Rivers Football Netball League is seeking more umpires.

AFL Central Rivers would ideally like to run three field umpires in senior competitions, but a lack of numbers last weekend meant the GRFNL game between Wakool and Wandella was to be officiated by one field umpire.

In the end, another umpire was found the night before, however, that match, along with the contest between Macorna and Murrabit, only featured two field umpires.

The organisation's director of umpiring, Dale Jager believes this is far from ideal considering it was the first weekend that both competitions were operating.

"With holidays and families away, it was always going to be hard for the first couple of weeks," he said.

"We currently have about 90 registered umpires. Last year, we started with about 56 and that grew out to 109 by the end of the year, but a lot of them being boundary umpires.

"In terms of central umpires, we've got about 30 on our books, but due to injury and blokes being away, you generally end up with about 25, leaving us a couple short of that 27 you need every week."

The AFL Central Rivers Umpires spreads there umpires across the two leagues.

Field umpires are sent out for GRFNL senior matches, while the CMFNL are provided field, boundary and goal umpires for seniors and Colts matches.

The group developed an agreement with the Horsham-based AFL Wimmera Mallee Umpires last year to cover numbers - an agreement that is still in tact.

"They generally supply two or three umpires for one match either in the Golden Rivers or the Central Murray for us," Jager said.

In an ideal situation, Jager would love his team to cover all matches across both leagues, and is trying to converge some strategies to make the dream a reality.

"Every week there is a club with a bye in the Central Murray and, obviously, it is Swan Hill this weekend, so I'm going to contact the Swan Hill coach and see whether he'd have a couple of blokes willing to help out and do an under 17 match for us," he said.

"That means that he can have a couple of blokes on the park to have a bit of a run around, even players under a bit of a fitness cloud and they can also understand what it is like to be a central umpire.

"We're just asking anyone who is even remotely interested to come down and give it a crack. Even if it's every two weeks. They can follow their clubs around and parents can follow their juniors."

Training occurs on Wednesdays at Swan Hill's Alan Garden Reserve, commencing at 6pm.

For more information, contact Dale Jager on 0418 281 904 or email umpires@aflcm.com.au.

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