Warrnambool and District Football Umpires Association's Daryl Pedler, Damon Harrison and James Rea notch milestones

NUMBERS UP: Warrnambool and District umpires Damon Harrison and Daryl Pedler will celebrate milestones on Saturday. Picture: Morgan Hancock

NUMBERS UP: Warrnambool and District umpires Damon Harrison and Daryl Pedler will celebrate milestones on Saturday. Picture: Morgan Hancock

DARYL Pedler says goal umpiring keeps him on his toes.

The Warrnambool and District Football Umpires Association member has experienced the odd contentious moment throughout his soon-to-be 300-game career in the south-west.

Pedler, who will join central umpire Damon Harrison (200 games) and boundary umpire James Rea (150) on the milestone trail on Saturday, said goal umpiring was an interesting caper.

“You always get controversy because you have to make a spur of the moment decision,” he said.

“A trick of the game is to try and get under the flight of the ball at every opportunity, to try and make a clear and accurate decision.”

Pedler, who started umpiring in his mid-40s, said he had endured both funny and tense times behind the goals.

“I remember my first game, a forward was screaming ‘it was a great goal’ and it had actually missed by a metre,” he said.

“Another one I remember was a match where all the players were down the other end and one player came down my end and the ball went over the defender’s head.

“I said it was a goal and the defending team’s captain came racing up and disagreed with me and his defender said ‘sorry, I actually missed touching it’.

“We all had a laugh and carried on.”

Pedler, whose career also includes 47 matches umpiring in Gippsland, will officiate with his son Nigel on Saturday.

They’ve been allocated the Warrnambool versus North Warrnambool Eagles senior match at Reid Oval.

Pedler said he was humbled to reach the 300-game milestone.

“In one sense, it’s nice you’ve reached a certain number of games,” he said.

“You realise you have reasonable longevity in the game and have managed to umpire at a reasonable standard for a number of years.

“I certainly didn’t have talent as a footballer but I enjoy the game – I’ve supported it, followed it and watched it ever since I was a little kid.

“It’s nice to be involved and continue to be involved in a meaningful way.”

Harrison, 19, started umpiring eight years ago.

“As a junior, I started off boundary umpiring two games a weekend – under 14s and under 17s, so that helped (get to the milestone quickly),” he said.

“I hope I can keep going and be a bit like Locky Eccles and get to 1000.”

The Brauer College graduate, who is working part-time during his gap year, ran the boundary for six seasons before switching to central umpiring duties.

“Seeing all the older blokes running around the field, I thought I’d give it a crack,” he said. “It’s something different. I love it.”

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