South-west export Shaun Ryan credited the Warrnambool and District Football Umpires Association after officiating his eighth AFL grand final on Saturday at the MCG.
The field umpire teamed up with Matt Stevic and "Razor" Ray Chamberlain for the decider which saw Richmond win 17.12 (114) to 3.7 (25) against Greater Western Sydney.
"I owe a lot to the Warrnambool umpires and the way that they developed me as a young umpire and the quality of coaches they had," Ryan told The Standard after the grand final.
"So I owe a lot to them for eight grand finals."
A special moment for the south-west product was when he was called to the podium to collect the grand final umpire medallions on behalf of his team.
Ryan said it was tricky match to umpire in the opening term.
''The first quarter was a real arm-wrestle so it was a really challenging first quarter and both teams really brought the intensity," he said.
"And then obviously after that Richmond just got the upper hand.
"It was pretty clear that the best team for the season won the premiership."
Ryan, in his 329th game, said a 100,000-strong crowd is both enjoyable and challenging for an umpire.
"You've really got to back your own judgement and not get influenced by the crowd," he said.
"You've really got to make sure that you use your experience and all the coaching you've received.
"And pay what you know is a free-kick as opposed to what the crowd is telling you."
He said the fans helped make his eighth grand final another special one.
"They're all special in their own way," he said.
"On the scoreboard this isn't up there with the others.
"But in terms of what the Tiger army bring to the game - the noise and atmosphere - it's always a special grand final when they're in it."
"It was really special for GWS.
"This was my third final this year I did with them.
"And I've got a lot of admiration for the way they go about it."
Ryan said the big margin between the teams meant the pressure wasn't as intense as last year's nail-biting grand final between West Coast Eagles and Collingwood.
He said it took a bit of pressure off his umpiring team.
"It certainly does," he said.
"You can enjoy it a little bit.
"The last 10 or 15 minutes because you know that the game is over from that perspective.
"We still need to get everything right as much as we can but certainly the levels of anxiety are less than opposed to last year when it went right down to the last second."
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