MICK Soulsby says umpiring gives him the opportunity to stay involved with football.
The Warrnambool man played until he was 47. He took up umpiring the following year.
Now 60, Soulsby is preparing to umpire his 300th game.
The Warrnambool District Football Umpires Association central umpire will notch the milestone on Saturday when he officiates the North Warrnambool Eagles versus Cobden contest.
Soulsby said he’d been involved in football for most of his life, starting in Hamilton as a junior and including a stint with Collingwood’s reserves in the 1970s.
“I started playing football at age 11,” he said. “It’s been 50 years in the sport. I was 46 when I retired as a player and took up umpiring ay 47.”
Soulsby said reaching 300 games as an umpire was “a good achievement” but that he “didn’t set out to do it”.
“You get to stay in touch with the game and stay fit. I can fit into my jumper from back in the 1970s,” he said.
Robert ‘Locky’ Eccles will become the first to reach 1000 games with the WDFUA. He reached 1000 games – notched across different associations – in 2017.