IT will be a sense of deja vu when Lachi Rooke steps onto Reid Oval today to umpire the senior Warrnambool and district league grand final between Nirranda and Old Collegians.
It will be the second time Rooke has officiated in a district league grand final.
His first appearance was in 2016 when, ironically, the competing teams were Nirranda and Old Collegians.
Rooke, 23, will have familiar faces by his side, with the experienced pairing of Jamie Lake and Steve Walker rounding out the grand final central umpiring trio.
“When I started as a boundary umpire back in 2009, Jamie and Steve were already among the best field umpires going around,” Rooke said.
“They have been great mentors to me so it’s always fantastic to umpire with them.”
Rooke is a mentor in his own right, with his younger brother Harry following in his footsteps. The pair umpired the Hampden league 18.5 grand final last year and in the final round this season, officiated together for the first time in a Hampden league senior game.
“It certainly has been a highlight umpiring with Harry,” Rooke said.
“He is doing a terrific job for an 18-year-old, I am getting great feedback about how well he is going.”
Rooke said nerves did build for umpires before big games. He said like many players, those nerves eased once the ball was bounced.
“Once the game starts, it is all about doing the best job you can,” he said.
Warrnambool and district league grand final appointments, in brackets is how many senior grand finals they have umpired:
Central: Lachi Rooke (1), Jamie Lake (5), Steve Walker (5).
Boundary: Arci Perris (1), Alana Bellman (debut), Tim Fagan (debut), Jacob Gome (debut).
Goals: Paul Fimmel (debut), Pat Nolan (7).
Central: Nathan Hoy, Michael Atkinson, Andrew Lougheed.
Boundary: Zoe Wilkinson, Dom Bourke, Ryan Bellman, Matt Gome.
Goals: Darren Wilkinson, Bernie Bourke.
Central: Jim Rylance, Jim Carroll, Brian Dennis.
Boundary: Kyle Patterson, Ailsa Gome, Roxy Mahoney-Gilchrist, Caitlin Kavanagh.
Goals: Karen Cook, Gerard Auld.
Central: Bob McLaren, Phil Meade, Michael Fish.
Boundary: Jorgia Lowther, Tristan Godfrey, Luke Blackburn, Finn Radley.
Goals: Brian Thomas, Wayne Bellman.