Well-respected NTFL Umpires Association (NTFLUA) member, Mark Noonan will become the most capped Men’s Premier League field umpire this Saturday when Waratah plays Southern Districts at Gardens Oval.
It will be Noonan’s 261st appearance as a field umpire in Men’s Premier League, which will be one more game than previous record-holder, Gary Turbill.
Both men are amongst the best the NTFLUA has had, with Turbill beginning his umpiring career in 1983 and continuing for an incredible 34 years, retiring from all forms of umpiring in 2017.
Having begun his career at Gardens Oval, Turbill amassed an impressive 669 NTFL games as field, goal and boundary umpire across the different divisions. 320 of those were Premier League; 260 as a field umpire before he took up the white flags in goals.
His record (full list, below) includes two NTFL Premier League grand finals, NTFLUA President for six seasons, representative game duties and NTFLUA Umpires Carnival Convenor on two occasions.
Rather fittingly, Turbill’s last game as a field umpire was a Men’s Division 1 game at Gardens Oval on Australia Day in 2017, which he officiated with Noonan and long-time umpire and friend, Greg Ostler.
He will be at the same venue where it all began and then ended this weekend to wish Noonan, a fellow NTFLUA Life Member, well.
Affectionately known as ‘Noons’, Noonan is one of the modern-day umpire personalities, who has won numerous NTFLUA field umpire awards, including the famed ‘dummy spit award’ and the prestigious ABC Umpire of the Year, twice.
Originally from Brisbane, he appeared in the NTFL in the 1998/99 season for a taste of Territory footy and returned to umpire his first Premier League game at Gardens Oval on 23 January 2000 between Waratah and Wanderers. He went back to Brisbane with five Premier League games to his name, before relocating in October 2005 to take up the position of AFL Northern Territory Umpiring Manager.
He was in that role for 12 and a half years, and despite eliminating himself from different finals selections to give other umpires an opportunity, he still oversaw seven Premier League Grand Finals (two less than current record-holder, Simon Walker) beginning with the 2005/06 game when the Darwin Buffaloes defeated St Mary’s.
Noonan’s umpiring has also seen him take charge in AFLNT-affiliated leagues in Alice Springs, Katherine, Gove, Tennant Creek and the Tiwi Islands.
He credited the umpiring friends he'd made along the way for keeping him committed to the umpiring cause.
"It's the comradery and the friendships that I've enjoyed the most about umpiring.
"I'm not sure how much longer I've got in me but it would be great to get to 300 games," he said.
- 1983 – 2017
- 1995 NTFLUA Life Member
- 2009 NTFLUA 250 Club Member
- 2015 NTFLUA Hall of Fame
- 1985-1994 NTFLUA Team of the Decade Emergency Umpire
- NTFLUA President 1987/88 1994/95 2001/02 2002/03 2006/07 and 2013/13
- 1986/87 & 1991/92 NTFL Grand Final Field Umpire
- 1984/85 NTFA Grand Final Field Umpire
- 1989 NTFL v Port Adelaide Field Umpire
- 1990 & 1994 NTFLUA Umpires Carnival Convenor
- Total Field, Goals & Boundary across all grades: 669 games (260 as a field umpire in Premier League)
- 1998 – current
- 2017 NTFLUA Life Member
- 1999/00 League Field Umpire Debut last five rounds
- 2005/06, 2006/07, 2010/11, 2012/13, 2013/14, 2014/15 and 2018/19 NTFL Premier League Grand Final Field Umpire
- 2005-20144 NTFLUA Team of the Decade Field Umpire
- 2012/13 and 2013/14 ABC Umpire of the Year
- Total Field, Goals & Boundary across all grades: 488 games (260 as a field umpire in Premier League)