Celebrating those in green and Samantha Clarke’s 100 game umpiring milestone during this weekend’s BRFL Umpiring Round

Sam Clarke

Umpiring Round returns during Week 4 of the Big Rivers Football League (BRFL) with a series of activations to recognise the hard work and dedication shown by the BRFL umpiring squad and to celebrate the contribution made by umpires such as Samantha (Sam) Clarke.

BRFL Umpire and Player, Sam Clarke began her umpiring career in South Australia from the age of 14 and said she started umpiring due to a complete lack of female junior footy teams to play in. 

“I started umpiring in Adelaide because I was too young to play. It’s a different story these days but I’m grateful to have started umpiring as I can now do both!”

Sam relocated to the Northern Territory which has the highest female umpiring participation rate in the country from South Australia almost five years ago. She now umpire’s various grades in the BRFL while playing and managing the Women’s Katherine South Crocs team. 

In the TIO NTFL seasons, Sam plays for the Women’s Nightcliff Tigers whilst also umpiring Division 1 Men.

“I really enjoy umpiring and the Katherine Region is such a great place to do it. It is a small place which makes it easy to get to know the players and the community,”

“I love being involved in the footy community generally. As soon as you umpire, it makes it easy to keep up with the league and the players – it is always such a great game to watch in community down here in Katherine.”

AFLNT Umpiring Coordinator, Samuel Cunningham said Sam is a valuable part of the Territory umpiring squad and is thrilled to see her reach her major 100-game milestone. 

“It’s awesome to see such a great person as part of our umpiring squad and reaching milestones like this,”

“When Sam’s not playing, she consistently puts her hand up to umpire Senior Men’s football in the BRFL and is always happy to help and get involved,”

“As well as being a enthusiastic umpire, Sam has also been actively involved on the Katherine Umpires Association board as the Vice President in previous years.” 

After reflecting on her years of umpiring, Sam said the leadership skills and self-confidence that is built once becoming an umpire is unparallel. 

“I’ve learnt a lot during my time umpiring like learning to back myself and have been able to transfer these skills to my work and become more directive,”

“I think it is a great side job and believe all people can get a lot out of umpiring, from socializing, developing leadership skills or even just getting in some extra exercise in the week and getting some extra cash. 

“Providing my availability in advance makes it super easy to juggle umpiring, playing, work and social life.

“I am stoked to be so close to my 100-game milestone in the NT! I’ve really enjoyed being involved in the umpiring and broader footy community and really encourage everyone to give it a go!”

To find out more information on becoming an umpire, visit https://umpire.afl/ or email Samuel.Cunningham@afl.com.au 

As part of the BRFL Umpiring Round, activations across the weekend include bounce and boundary throw in competitions, NTFL Umpiring Association President coin tosses, special umpire cameos from each club and much more. 

BRFL Umpiring Round Game and Umping Information:

Friday 14 May 2021:
5:30pm, Katherine Showgrounds – Senior Women’s Katherine South v Katherine Camels
Field: Meshac James (Arnhem FC Assistant Coach), Daryl Gahek (Katherine Umpires Association President)
Goals: Will Bridgeman (Garrack FC Secretary), Jack Stephenson (Eastside FC President)

7:00pm, Katherine Showgrounds – Senior Men Katherine Camels v Katherine South 
Field: Daryl Grahek, Sam Clarke, Alec Moylan (Garrack FB Treasurer) 
Boundary: Jamie Grahek, Brenton Swan, Bonnie Swan, Jayvon Caddell
Goals: Tracy Robinson, Joanne Hill

Saturday 15 May 2021:
1:00pm, Mataranka Oval – Senior Men Arnhem Crows v Ngukurr
Field: Barry Price, Dean Sullivan, Ray Hocking
Goals: Anthony Heaslip, Yerrin Heaslip

2:00pm, Kalano Oval – Senior Women Tindal Magpies v Eastside 
Field: Nick Lovering (Katherine South Club President), Leigh Ware, (Katherine Camels FC representative)
Goals: Mal Fox (Katherine South Senior Coach), Tom Spence, (Katherine Camels Men’s Coach)

3:30pm, Kalano Oval – Senior Men Garrack v Tindal Magpies
Field: Gerry Wood (NTFLUA President), Greg Ostler (NTFLUA Life Member), Carl Weindes
Boundary: Cameron Pettit Holmes, Dakotah Pettit Holmes, Kahl Weindes
Goals: Tracy Robinson, Rowan Wesley

6:30pm, Katherine Showgrounds – Senior Men Eastside v NWS
Field: Daryl Grahek, Dylan Durose, Samantha Clark
Boundary: Jamie Grahek, Brenton Swan, Bonnie Swan, Jayson Caddell
Goals: Joanne Hill, Rowan Wesley