WARRNAMBOOL teenager Kieran Ferguson has made the VFL development umpires squad.
Ferguson, 18, will umpire the round one TAC Cup match between Oakleigh Chargers and Eastern Ranges on Sunday.
He will spend 2013 umpiring TAC Cup and VFL reserves games and can then push for selection on the VFL’s senior umpires’ list.
Ferguson was told he’d made the cut as a boundary umpire on Tuesday night after a thorough trial period.
He started a training program in November and started training two nights a week with the VFL umpires at Victoria Park in January.
Ferguson said he felt more comfortable in the practice games than he did on the track.
“I only just made it by one second in the time trial,” he said. “You needed 14.55 for the four kilometres and I got 14.54.”
The pharmacy student took up umpiring in Warrnambool in 2006, following in the footsteps of his father, Andrew.
“It was a way to make money and get fit,” he said.
Ferguson said he expected 2013 to be a steep learning curve. He said it would take time to adjust to the pace of TAC Cup and VFL reserves’ games.
“It’s a new challenge. It’s harder football and better football,” he said.
“In the first practice game it was a 33-degree day and we did half a game and I struggled to keep up for the first little bit.”
Ferguson said the training had opened his eyes to the dedication needed to make it as an AFL umpire.
“It’s a lot harder than I thought it would be,” he said.
Ferguson said he hoped another south-west teenager would make the cut as a central umpire.