WAFL field umpire Nathan Williamson from Mandurah has been added to the AFL Umpire Panel following an outstanding 2016 season.
Williamson (22) won the WA National Football League Umpire Association’s Montgomery Medal as the best WAFL field umpire in 2016 and officiated in his first league grand final last month.
He has spent that past two years as an AFL Rookie and umpired 78 WAFL League games after progressing from the Peel Football League, where he started umpiring juniors at age 12.
He said that receiving a phone call last week from AFL national development manager of umpiring Adam Davis informing him that he had been added to the AFL’s Umpire Panel was a dream comes true.
“I couldn’t talk at first, I was really emotional,” Williamson said.
“Umpiring AFL has been a dream of mine ever since I was young so it was very surreal to get that phone call.
“I will be moving to Melbourne by the end of the year which is such a good opportunity.
“I’m really excited and I can’t wait to get over there and start being involved in that elite environment.”
Williamson said being an AFL Rookie for the past two years had also been an invaluable learning experience and thanked his mentor, AFL Grand Final and All-Australian Umpire Matt Stevic, for his guidance and leadership.
“Matt has helped me so much,” he said.
“So have my WAFL coaches Darryl Sinclair, Gareth Parker and Craig O’Donoghue, all of the match day coaches and everyone at the WANFLUA and Peel Football League Umpires Association.
“They are all great people that have been fantastic to be around and helped me get to this point,” he said.
He also thanked his mum and dad, Tracey and Doug.
“They have always been there for me and my brother and sister to provide us with so many opportunities to be independent and mature people,” he said.
“This is quite literally a dream come true and I think it’s going to take a while to sink in.”