FORMER Warrnambool umpire David Harris will make his AFL debut today.
Harris, 27, was selected as field umpire for the North Melbourne versus Melbourne clash at Etihad Stadium this afternoon.
His selection comes four weeks after he was elevated to the AFL umpires’ senior list.
Speaking to The Standard yesterday, Harris said it was a dream come true.
“If anyone said four weeks ago I’d be umpiring AFL footy, I would have told them they were dreaming,” he said.
Harris said his nerves were in check after learning of his call-up on Monday morning.
“To be honest, this week has gone quickly and I haven’t had too much time to focus on it,” he said.
“When I get my bag ready tonight and try and go to sleep it will be a different story.
“I haven’t played it out too many times in my head.
“I’m going in with an open mind and I am going to let it unfold and not be overawed by it.”
Harris, who runs up to 15 kilometres a game, will team with former Warrnambool umpire Jason Armstrong and four-time AFL grand final umpire Stephen McBurney today.
McBurney has umpired 376 AFL matches.
“He’s third on the all-time list of games,” Harris said.
“It’s awesome to get to learn off him.”
Harris was elevated to the AFL umpires’ senior list after injury forced Stefan Grun into retirement.
“Once I got on the list it was wait and see,” he said.
“There was never a guarantee I’d get a game.”
Harris moved to Melbourne in 2007 to umpire VFL matches. His path to the AFL was similar to that of many players.
He tried out for the VFL development list, which enabled him to umpire TAC Cup and VFL reserves matches before he made his way onto the VFL senior list.
Harris earned an AFL try-out after umpiring the 2011 VFL grand final between Port Melbourne and Williamstown.
“I missed out and was put on the rookie list,” he said.
“But I was lucky enough to be the first one elevated.”
Harris combines twice weekly AFL umpiring sessions and three personal training sessions with full-time work in Melbourne.