Among them was Lower South West Field Umpire Jeff Bennett.
For Bennett this year was his 18th Landmark Championships, having only missed it on one occasion in the last 19 years.
At 50 years of age and already recognised as a top quality umpire, having represented WA at the Australian Country Football Championships on two previous occasions, he could have been excused for simply making up the numbers. But that’s certainly not Bennett’s style.
The unassuming Department of Environment and Conservation District Fire Coordinator prepared particularly well for this year’s Landmark Carnival, training alongside former British sprint champion John Higgins since February near Bennett’s hometown of Northcliffe.
“It was a chance meeting really as John was doing some training on the same oval as myself,” Bennett said.
“He invited me to join him and before long I was doing all sorts of strength training from running on my toe exercises, pulling tyres and doing ply metrics.”
Though always remaining in top physical condition, the specialised training certainly paid off for Bennett as he was last week awarded the JJ Lussick Umpire of the Carnival along with umpiring the Division 1 Grand Final between the South West and Upper Great Southern.
Along with his Grand Final appointment, Bennett’s most memorable moments during the week included the one point match between Peel and Lower South West on day one and Great Northern coming from eight goals behind to win against Ongerup on day two.
2012 Landmark Carnival Field umpire coach Ray Zoch was full of praise for Bennett about the way he officiated throughout the event.
WAFC Manager Regional Umpiring & Game Integrity Tim Priest echoed Zoch’s comments saying Bennett is the consummate professional.
“He is always physically prepared plus mentally focussed to give his best performance as he recognises how important quality umpiring is to the players involved. Added to this, his firm but polite demeanour on the field truly reflects his understanding of the responsibilities that go with being a field umpire. He is a highly talented regional umpire,” Priest said.
Following his outstanding performance, Bennett represented WA as a field umpire at the Australian Country Football Championships in Wagga Wagga.
Picture: WACFL board member Peter Sheridan presents the JJ Lussick Award to Jeff Bennett.