2018 Umpiring Academy

What is the AFLNT Umpiring Academy?

Each year 25 to 40 junior umpires between the ages of 13 - 18 are selected to make up the AFL Northern Territory (AFLNT) Umpiring Academy. Members have come from many regions of the Territory including Darwin, Palmerston, Alice Springs, Katherine, Tennant Creek and Gove. We hope to incorporate junior umpires from larger communities such as Wadeye and the Tiwi Islands into the Academy Program in the near future.
AFL Northern Territory focus on four main areas of umpiring:

  • To increase the numbers of younger umpires
  • To introduce a structured NT umpiring pathway
  • To increase the retention of younger umpires
  • To increase the funding to develop local umpires

Aims of the AFLNT Umpiring Academy

The AFLNT Umpiring Academy is the first step in bridging the gap between the National “Green Shirt” Mentoring Program (U9s) and senior football within the AFL Northern Territory umpiring development pathway (UDP), its aims are to:

  • Develop each umpire's skills and abilities
  • Create a peer group of umpires across the Northern Territory
  • Promote umpiring across the Territory  in accordance with the National “Respect the Game, Respect the Umpire” model
  • Introduce benefits (development and retention) of umpiring AFL to the youth of the Northern Territory and to increase numbers of junior umpires across the whole of the NT
  • Expose umpires to State League Level – NTFL and NEAFL competitions
  • Encourage umpiring as a career pathway to the AFL

What competitions do they umpire?

AFLNT Academy Umpires participate in the talent and School Sport NT (SSNT) representative seasons which run from early April to late July. Other events include the U18 and U16 State Academy trial games, Michael Long U14 Development Squad and many other AFLNT events that run from April to September.

When did the Umpiring Academy first commence?

Former AFLNT Umpiring Manager, Mark Noonan, was responsible for setting up the first Northern Territory Umpiring Academy in 2007.

The AFLNT Umpiring Academy was officially launched at the pre-match function before the AFL NAB Cup match between Geelong and Port Adelaide on 3rd of March 2007, with junior umpires and mentor coaches from Darwin, Alice Springs, Katherine and Tennant Creek.

What have been some highlights?

There have been many highlights over the years, but to see the formation of a peer group of junior umpires across the Northern Territory as they push each other along to become better umpires and people has been a great benefit. Seeing many of the junior umpires progress through the Academy to represent the NT at national school championships then onto their NTFL Premier League debut is why this program exists. The “live-in camps”, the introduction of the “heritage numbered caps” and seeing the Academy grow to 40 members in 2016 after starting with 23 junior umpires back in 2007.

Who are the 2018 Junior Umpiring Academy coaching staff?

Field – Lachlan McDonald
Boundary – John Rawsthorne
Goal – Shaun Ostler
Academy Female Liaison Officer – Sheryle Schmode

Who are the support staff?

Each year AFLNT umpiring staff invite Northern Territory umpiring coaches who are involved in the AFL SportsReady Coaching Program to share and pass on their knowledge and expertise to the Academy umpires at events like the SSNT U15 Boys/Girls trials and SSNT U12 Championships. We believe that better coaches make better umpires and a range of different coaching styles will help the junior umpires improve in their overall chosen umpiring discipline.

How do you qualify for this Academy?

AFLNT send out nominations every January to all junior umpires who fit the following criteria:
Darwin, Palmerston, Katherine and Alice Springs:

  • 13 - 18 years old
  • Attending school regularly
  • Level 1 Umpiring Accredited
  • A minimum of 12 months' umpiring experience
  • Training on a regular basis with their local umpiring group

Tennant Creek and remote regions:

  • 13 - 18 years old
  • Attending school regularly
  • Identified as a promising umpire by the AFLNT Remote Development Manager or other AFLNT staff 

AFLNT Umpiring Development Coordinator Sam Cunningham and Talent Manager Wally Gallio select the top 40 applicants for the calendar year.

Thanks to our 2018 sponsor