WAFL Field Umpire Nathan Williamson has been added to the AFL Umpire Panel following an outstanding 2016 season.
Williamson, 22, won the WA National Football League Umpire Association’s (WANFLUA) Montgomery Medal as the best WAFL field umpire in 2016 and officiated in his first League Grand Final last month.
He has spent that past two years as an AFL Rookie and umpired 78 WAFL League games after progressing from the Peel Football League, where he commenced umpiring juniors at age 12.
He said that receiving a phone call from AFL National Development Manager of Umpiring Adam Davis informing him that he’d been added to the AFL’s Umpire Panel was a dream come true.
“I couldn’t talk at first, I was really emotional. Umpiring AFL has been a dream of mine ever since I was young so it was very surreal to get that phone call,” he said.
“I will be moving to Melbourne by the end of the year which is such a good opportunity. I’m really excited and I can’t wait to get over there and start being involved in that elite environment.
“The opportunity to be around the AFL umpires and soak up their experience will be great. I will be all ears and just learning as much as I can to get myself ready and hopefully do enough to deserve being selected for my first AFL game.”
Williamson said that being an AFL Rookie for the past two years had also been an invaluable learning experience and thanked his mentor, AFL Grand Final and All-Australian Umpire Matt Stevic, for his guidance and leadership.
“Matt has helped me so much. So have my WAFL coaches Darryl Sinclair, Gareth Parker and Craig O’Donoghue, all of the match day coaches and everyone at the WANFLUA and Peel Football League Umpires Association. They are all great people that have been fantastic to be around and helped me get to this point,” he said.
“Also to my mum and dad, Tracey and Doug, who have always been there for me and my brother and sister to provide us with so many opportunities to be independent and mature people.
“This is quite literally a dream come true and I think it’s going to take a while to sink in.”
West Australian Football Commission CEO Gavin Taylor congratulated Williamson on his appointment and said it was fantastic to see the West Australian Football League and WA’s umpire development programs producing such talented umpires.
“Umpiring is such a critical part of the game and the development of talented umpires is equally as important as players and coaches,” he said.
“It really is a collective effort from all of the people involved in Umpire Development in WA to have Nathan appointed to the AFL panel and everyone should be very proud of this achievement.
“I expect Nathan will be a great role model for our aspiring AFL umpires of the future.”
78 WAFL League Games
2016 WAFL League Grand Final
2016 AFL NAB Cup Umpire
2015/16 AFL Rookie Umpire
2015 WAFL Reserves Grand Final
2014 AFL National 18s Championship Umpire
2014 WAFL Reserves Grand Final
2013 WAFL Colts Grand Final
2011 appointed to WAFL Umpire Panel
2010 Landmark Country Football Championships Umpire
2006-2010 Peel Junior Football League & Peel Football League Umpire