Young umpire gets his chance
It is the first step for Mitchell as he aims to progress through the Umpiring Development Pathway in place for the best junior umpires in the state.
At 16 years of age, he becomes the second umpire to achieve the honour, after his brother, Luke started the same journey a few years ago.
Mitchell graduated to the AFL North Coast senior roster last year in his first year of umpiring, and as well as umpiring Under 18 and Reserves finals matches this year, he was also selected to officiate the Under 16 Grand Final alongside his brother.
The Northern Regional Umpiring Squad is in its first year and gives aspiring junior umpires in Northern NSW the opportunity to improve their skills, according to State Umpiring Manager, Graham Glassford, who will be in Coffs Harbour on the 16th and 17th March to participate in the Coaching Course, and to conduct a Talented Player Program Basic Umpiring Course and school visits.
"A Regional Squad was trialled with the Greater Sydney Juniors last year and given its success it has been expanded across four regions across NSW and the ACT," he said. "The aim is to develop promising junior umpires in maximising their potential through creating a clear progression and pathway from junior to senior umpiring."
Mitchell, as a member of the squad coached by Newcastle Juniors Coach, Roy Reichert, will participate in designated training sessions, umpire in Talented Player Program matches, have access to AFL umpires and coaching staff, partake in strength and conditioning programs, seminars and parent/coach recognition sessions.
His first assignment comes later this month, when he will travel to Newcastle to officiate in the Black Diamond Football League.
Luke, who has umpired the last three North Coast Senior Grand Finals and doubles as the Juniors Umpiring Coach, believes Mitchell has the potential to further his umpiring career.
"Mitchell has the potential to progress throughout the Umpiring Pathway that allows junior umpires to travel and umpire the best football matches and the best talent in both NSW and across Australia," he said.
"He has a great fitness base which is crucial to an umpires success and he has developed very quickly to the stage where he will be an integral part of the Junior and Senior Umpiring Panels this season," Luke believes. "His willingness to learn and improve is impressive and although he has some development before he becomes an elite umpire, with motivation and a desire to achieve, he will be well positioned to make it a long way."
Umpiring is a great option for people both young and old, as it develops many skills that are crucial to personal development and that also look attractive to potential employers. It is a well-paid part-time profession, with local umpires earning over $100 every weekend whilst keeping fit and getting the best position to watch the best game in the world.
For more information on umpiring, please contact Senior Umpiring Coach, Rod Macpherson (0448 833080) or Luke Turner (0409 641892).