Lane Cove Local – Alex Chisholm Hits the AFL Big Stage

Alex Chisholm is a Lane Cove boy through and through.  He went to St Michaels Primary School and St Ignatius Riverview.  Alex is now a fully accredited AFL Goal Umpire who will be officiating at Sydney Swans and GWS Giant games.  We asked Alex to tell us what it takes to make the big league in umpiring.

What made you interested in becoming an AFL Goal Umpire?

I had always dreamed of playing AFL footy when I was younger, but by the time I was about 13 I worked out that I was a fairly ordinary footballer so I saw umpiring as a potential pathway to being involved with AFL on the big stage. It was also a good way to make some pocket money as a teenager.

How long have you been training to be a Goal Umpire?

I started umpiring at the age of 13 in 2012. After trying out field and boundary umpiring at the start of the season, I eventually decided to switch to goal umpiring halfway through the 2012 season and never looked back.

Do you have to train?

We have two training sessions a week, but it is also expected that we keep fit outside of these sessions by going to the gym or going for a run in our own time.

What is the hardest part about being a Goal Umpire?

The hardest aspect of goal umpiring is probably being able to judge the flight early enough to get into the correct position. It may not seem like it, but goal umpiring is extremely technical and that’s what the average footy lover doesn’t understand about it. The umpires that you see on TV make it look easy but you only have to look at the dads volunteering to goal umpire their kid’s games on a weekend to realise that it’s much harder than it looks. One tiny error in judgment and you can look very silly and risk getting the score incorrect.

How do you make sure you don’t get bowled over by a player?

You’ve got to use your peripheral vision and keep an eye out for the players around you while also watching the ball. In a way, you’ve got to think about what you would do if you were the player and by applying that logic you just attempt to go around the player’s path. Sometimes though a clash is almost unavoidable, because at the end of the day you’ve got to be in the right position, so you can’t sacrifice getting into the correct position because you’re cautious about getting knocked over by a player.

Will you be travelling all over Australia?

I’m a Sydney based umpire, therefore, I’ll generally only get games in Sydney and Canberra, but sometimes there is an opportunity to do games in another state. I will rotate between umpiring and being the emergency goal umpire.

What do you do when you are not umpiring?

I’m currently studying a Bachelor of Media at Macquarie Uni.

Good on you Alex!!  It is no wonder that Alex loves AFL.  Alex’s father Steve started the first AFL junior club in Lane Cove and he is a life member of the Lane Cove Cats.


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