Lifetime chance: Umpire Matthew Gestier is being fast-tracked into the AFL big time.
Lifetime chance: Umpire Matthew Gestier is being fast-tracked into the AFL big time. Submitted

Gestier's chance to umpire AFL

SYDNEY local Matthew Gestier will have the chance of a lifetime to become an AFL field umpire following his nomination to officiate in next year’s NAB Cup and NAB Challenge series.

Gestier and 11 other umpires throughout Australia will be vying for one AFL field umpire contract and six rookie contracts when the AFL pre-season commences next season.

This is the second time in three years Gestier will get a shot at the big time with the promising umpire trialling for a place on an AFL list in 2009.

The 25-year-old said he will draw upon his experience last time to get him over the line next year.

“It’s going to be good to have another crack – I think I’ll be doing things differently this time around,” he said.

“I know what to expect now and having chatted with the AFL umpires coach this morning he said the process isn’t any different to how it was last time.

“I used a bit too much energy in thinking about it, preparing for it and getting ready for the trial last time but I will definitely be taking a much more relaxed approach this time as I know what to expect.”

It has been a remarkable year for Gestier with the fireman taking out his second Golden Whistle for the State’s best umpire.

He was also part of the Australian Sports Commission’s AFL High Performance Umpiring Academy, officiated his fifth AFL Sydney Grand Final and was voted by the coaches as the best umpire in the league.

With over four months without the opportunity to umpire at the top level during the off-season, Gestier said he will be reviewing his past matches on DVD to prepare him for the upcoming trial.

“Watching tapes is the biggest part of it. The first few games of the season you are always a bit rusty but by getting over that you’ve just got to watch tapes and that way you can start to think about the decision making process.

“If you watch the vision on holding the ball, push in the back and then you see it happen on the field it just triggers your memory and you go from there.”

While Gestier is hopeful of being offered a contract next year, he said he won’t be too despondent if he doesn’t put pen to paper this time around.

“My goal this year was to get a trial and now I’ll set another goal and work to that.

“It will be motivator if I don’t make it. It’s not as if I’ve past my time, I’ve got a heap of time on my side and it’s all about experience.

“There will be a lot of opportunities coming up next year so it will be a continual learning process and just more motivation to fulfil my ultimate goal of making it on the AFL list.”

It has been a breakthrough year for umpiring in NSW and the ACT with a record 1048 people officiating as a field, goal or boundary umpire. On top of this, Canberra-born Ray Chamberlain recently umpired the two 2010 Toyota AFL Grand Finals.

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