WARRNAMBOOL umpire Gavin Sell has slowly ticked off a series of goals he set himself during the summer.
“As of Saturday, I’ve completed the whole lot of them,” he said with a sense of achievement.”
Sell, 32, is one of three whistle blowers who will take charge of the Warrnambool and District league senior football grand final at Reid Oval on Saturday.
His Warrnambool and District Football Umpires Association colleagues Nigel Pedler and Casey O’Keefe will also control the play as Dennington and Merrivale square off.
“There have been minor and major (goals),” he said.
“The first one was to do Hampden league round one. Then to do 10 Hampden league senior games and a Hampden league senior final.
“The major goal was a senior grand final. It didn’t both me which league. Being my first, I feel you do your apprenticeship of district league then you go up.”
Sell conceded his was vastly inexperienced when it came to the grand final stage compared with Pedler and O’Keefe. But being the rookie also has its benefits – as a rite of passage, he will throw the ball up to start the match.
“Being that it’s my first, that’s an unwritten rule that the newbie always starts.”
He put his selection for the match down to an improved fitness base and demeanour with whistle in hand.
“I’ve tried to be a lot calmer when I umpire, not get involved unless I have to, try and be a bit more relaxed and let the game flow,” he said.
Sell started umpiring in his early teens after accepting he was “no good” at football.
He followed a mate to the WDFUA and has risen through the ranks in the 19 years since. He initially ran the boundary but took on field duties 12 years ago.
He said the association operated along similar lines to a club, with an emphasis on having a family vibe.
“It’s something if I was to give it away, I’d miss it. That’s the same with footballers, when they finish there’s that hole, what do I do on Saturday. We’re no different.”
Among other appointments, Jonathan Abraham, Lachlan Mahony and Warren Beatty will run the boundary.
David Wallace and Tony Malone are the goal umpires, Jono Ryan is the interchange stewart and Jamie Lake is the emergency umpire.
WDFUA director of umpiring Jason Hughes said those in charge had earned their selections.
“The performances throughout the finals series of all the officiating umpires has been first class,” he said.
“The umpires selected to take charge in the grand finals are well deserving of their appointments.”