WA boundary umpire Luke Graves has been elevated to the AFL Umpires Senior List for 2024.
This is a major step in his career, which will see Graves relocate from Perth to the Gold Coast ahead of the 2024 AFL season.
This appointment caps off a fantastic year for the 24-year-old who umpired his fifth consecutive grand final having officiated under 100 WAFL League games – a feat that has not been achieved before.
Graves said his appointment to the AFL list is a great reward for his effort.
“I see this as an opportunity to now compete at the highest level on offer against the best umpires in the country, which is something that excites me,” Graves said.
“Being a self-proclaimed ‘footy nuff’, I am really looking forward to the opportunity to serve the game on the big stage and be involved in the game that I spend so much of my life watching and talking about.
“At the end of the day the umpires truly have the best seats in the house, and I can’t wait to get out there.
“Now that I have achieved this goal, I am hoping to make the most of it and hopefully have a successful career like the AFL guys in WA that I have looked up to over the last few years.”
WAFL Umpiring Manager Dean Margetts congratulated Graves on the appointment.
“Luke comes from an athletics background, and he simply has a running capacity that not many umpires have,” Margetts said.
Graves has a background in running and began his umpiring career at a young age, following in his father’s footsteps, who was a field umpire.
“Luke used to run the boundary with his dad when he was 14, so to see him now reach the Everest of umpiring is really special for not only Luke and his family, but for the broader Umpiring WA family, which is really tightknit,” Margetts said.
WAFC High Performance Boundary Umpiring Head Coach, Geoff O’Neill had been working with Graves in recent years to take his umpiring to the next level and said it’s wonderful to see the young umpire reap the rewards of his hard work.
“Luke is a very driven person and has always known what he wanted out of umpiring,” O’Neill said.
“I have no doubt that Luke will be a very successful boundary umpire, and I look forward to following his career with more than just a passing interest.”
Graves says he’s been fortunate to learn from some of the best umpires in Perth.
“The coaching staff in the WA umpiring hub have been great, guys like Geoff O’Neil, who has been around for quite some time, continues to play a pivotal role in the journey of ump and coming umpires like myself,” he said.
“I would likely not be in this position if it were not for his tutelage over the years.”