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AFL Umpires Boost EDFL Footy

By Chelsea Roffey

AFL umpires Mat Nicholls, Eleni Glouftsis and Chelsea Roffey will lend their support to EDFL umpires alongside an influx of women to its ranks.

On Monday, Glouftsis (pictured) led one of five dedicated training sessions at Windy Hill, as part of an academy launched last month to introduce girls and women to the skills of umpiring.

Females in the EDFL have grown from 56 in 2017 to 85 this year and represent around one fifth of total umpires. The academy, supported by Victoria University and the State Government, has opened the door to greater participation in 2020.

Head of umpiring, former AFL umpires’ coach Rowan Sawers, hopes the targeted sessions will encourage more girls and women to try their hand at officiating.

Appointed as AFL Community Umpiring Ambassadors, Nicholls and Roffey will deliver coaching and personal development to EDFL umpires through the season.

The program is expected to benefit participants beyond the field, helping them to build life skills through mentoring in a fun environment.

Nicholls said the connection with local umpires was an exciting opportunity to support coaches.

“I look forward to contributing to umpire recruitment initiatives and passing on advice based on my experiences of umpiring AFL, state league and community football,” he said.

The program, which will help to foster future AFL talent, is also designed to support the game locally.

“By having exposure to Mat, Eleni and Chelsea, there is a direct link between community umpires and elite AFL umpires, which sends a real buzz through the group,” said Sawers.

“These opportunities service the game as local umpires grow their skills and confidence. It’s great for community footy.”

For more information, visit and click on the umpiring link, or contact EDFL Umpires Administrator Patrick Moloney on 0438 572 144 or

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