WHAT an umpiring career Seb Dalgleish has had – and he’s only 16.
After starting as a boundary umpire at the age of 12, the Horsham teenager has now earned a place in the 2017 AFL Victoria Field Umpire Rookie Squad.
The rookie squad is for umpires who are considered to be one to two years away from officiating the Victorian Football League.
Dalgleish said he was excited when he saw the email saying he had been selected.
“I had no idea I had been nominated or anything, though I have had the idea suggested to me previously,” he said.
“I would like to see myself umpiring at AFL or VFL level in the future and that is what I am aiming for.
“I see this as getting my foot in the door or a stepping stone toward that.”
Dalgleish, 16, has been flying up the ranks in the Wimmera Football Umpires Association in the past few years and has officiated more than 100 matches.
His first field umpiring match came at 13 years old.
Dalgleish attended a game in Apsley to run the boundary and was called upon to umpire the reserves after the initial umpire did not arrive.
Within several weeks Dalgleish was field umpiring senior football matches on Saturday afternoons, after playing under-14s football for Wimmera Football Association’s Horsham Saints every morning.
He continues to play under-17s football with the Saints and then travels to umpire senior contests.
Dalgleish enjoys umpiring.
“I enjoy it because it has and continues to give me opportunities like meeting new people, travelling and has helped to develop my confidence and fitness,” he said.
“I like the challenges associated with umpiring but whether it’s men or juniors each game is umpired the same way so it isn’t too difficult to adjust.”
For the past two years, Dalgleish has been part of the School Sport Victoria umpires team officiating at the School Sport Australia Championships in Geelong and Maroochydore.
He will travel to fortnightly VFL training sessions from May through to August as part of the squad.
The experience will include the chance to learn from league umpires and have sessions with their coaches.