FOOTBALL has been a staple of Hugh Worrall’s weekends for as long as he can remember.
Now 69, Worrall remains committed to the sport which took him from his home town in Port Campbell to the VFL stage with Fitzroy in the late 1960s.
These days the Hampden league champion – he won three Maskell Medal during a 125-game career at Cobden – stays involved in the action as an umpire.
Worrall, whose resume also includes coaching roles and a stint at Hampden league president, will notch game 500 on Saturday.
The Port Fairy resident still competes as a central umpire, racking up almost 10 kilometres a game on average.
“It’s easier now with the two umpire system,” Worrall said.
“When I first started you had one and did a fair bit of ground.
“The game’s gotten faster over the years and you need two to do the job properly.”
Worrall jumped into umpiring after he hung up his boots following a individual honours-packed career which ended without premiership success.
Umpiring was the perfect way to keep his passion ticking. He joined Colac District Umpires Association before switching to Warrnambool District Football Umpires Association in the latter stages of his career.
“I struggled for a bit – I retired too early,” he said.
“It’s such a big part of my life. I don’t like sitting on the boundary – I really like to stay involved.
“Umpiring is like a football club with the camaraderie.”