Hugh Worrall says as long as he is physically able to and still has the passion for the game he will be running around football grounds in the region blowing the whistle.
The former Fitzroy VFL defender and three-time Maskell Medal winner at Cobden will umpire his 600th match on Saturday - the Warrnambool and District league clash between Allansford and South Rovers.
The 73-year-old told The Standard he was honoured to reach the milestone after decades of dedication with the Colac District Umpires Association and Warrnambool District Football Umpires Association in the latter stages of his career.
"It's taken a lot of time to come to that point especially with COVID over the last two years," he said. "I'm really excited to get there at my age to achieve that milestone."
The Port Fairy resident says a pure love for the game kept him energised to run out every weekend.
"The main thing is just my passion for football, I love it and what it projects," he said. "I enjoy being in that environment - I enjoyed 35 years of actually playing football and now nearly 30 years of umpiring.
"It's been a big commitment and I've loved every minute of it. A lot of people have provided a lot of support along the way."
He added he wouldn't be hanging up the boots any time soon and planned to stay in the game for as long as he could.
"When I was aiming for 600 I thought it'd be an achievement at my age, but I'm still enjoying it and still able to run around and umpire seniors," he said.
"While I can, I'll continue on - when it's time to retire, I'd like to be involved in some way. I look forward to continuing on in some form."
Worrall has seen the game evolve - for better or worse - over the years but continues to keep up with the fast pace.
"It's got faster and faster that's for sure," he said. "When I first started there was only one umpire and then there was two and predominately it's two now but the game has definitely got quicker."
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