FOR talented young umpire Hayley Walker, the lure of running the boundary in the AFLW one day is strong.
The Warrnambool and District Football Umpires Association member – who officiates her 150th game on Saturday – has carved out a successful career already in local leagues.
“In the long-run, it’d be great to umpire in some of the women’s AFL games,” she said. “Or even if I could umpire in the VFL, that would be great.”
The Year 12 Emmanuel College student will take her next big step next year when she heads to Richmond Football Club, where she will undertake the Richmond Institute of Sports leadership and management double diploma.
“I’ll work with the Richmond footy club, and it’s going to be a great opportunity,” Walker said.
“I want to work within the AFL industry, so it’ll be good to just have that (foot in the door).”
The 17-year-old has been umpiring since 2012, and said distance running and the social side of umpiring appealed to her.
“I love running around and getting fit,” she said.
“I did the V/Line Academy last year and this year, and then I went up to Gippsland last year to do the V/Line Cup championships up there and I did the VTAC championship games this year.”
WDFUA umpire co-ordinator Dedy Friebe lauded Walker’s contribution both as an umpire and a role model to young females coming up through the program.
“Her leadership and commitment is exemplary towards other females and her encouraging other females into umpiring is great,” he said.
“As her coach, I’ve use her throughout the season to be a role model and to assist with training and to mentor new and emerging young ladies.”