Genazzano students umpire women's footy final

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29 September 2016

A group of Year 10 students were given the chance to take their new umpiring skills to the next level, after being selected to officiate in the inaugural SwisseGenazzano students participating in the College's Umpiring Academy VFL Women’s Grand Final on September 18 2016.

For students Kaitlin Barr, Mara Lunn, Lilah Flanigan, Tess Plowman and Kate Delaney along with Genazzano College teacher Lisa O’Halloran, the thought of donning an umpire’s uniform was a foreign concept.

Fast forward nine months and the talented group will join some of the VFL’s best field umpires as they prepare to run the boundary and wave the flags in their first state league Grand Final.

However like many football players, the road to Grand Final selection hasn’t come overnight.

The group of boundary and goal umpires have been developing their skills each week in the first AFL Victoria metropolitan all-female school based Umpiring Academy.

Held at Genazzano College, the new program invites students of all ages to learn the basic principles of umpiring across the three disciplines of field, boundary and goal.

Conducting weekly training sessions since March this year, the group have developed practical skills and knowledge of the game as well as established match day experience in the Victorian Women’s Football League community finals.

In addition, two of the program’s other students will wave the flags as goal umpires in the VWFL Division 1 Grand Final on Sunday, with Chloe Hunt and Gemma Steedman selected for the role.

AFL Victoria Umpiring Manager, Neville Nash said he was pleased that the effort and commitment shown from the students has allowed them to reach a high level of umpiring in such a short period of time.

'At the start of the year our main aim from the program was to get the girls familiar with umpiring and ready to adjudicate as many local community games as possible,' he said.

'It became clear halfway through the season that some of the students would be given the opportunity to umpire community finals and due to their outstanding performances, we had no hesitation in appointing them to the Grand Final this Sunday.

'Most of the girls in the umpire academy have indicated they will continue to umpire in 2017 with some wanting to do field umpiring, which is fantastic.

'Our all-female school based Umpiring Academy initially had just 35 girls at the start of the year and given its success, we are confident that a number of students from Genazzano College will join the academy in 2017.'

The Swisse VFL Women’s Grand Final between Darebin Falcons and Melbourne University was held on Sunday 18 September at Piranha Park, Coburg. 

This article was originally published on the AFL Victoria website as Rising stars earn Grand Final call-up.