Whistle blowing legend gears up for 9th AFL Grand Final
Brett Rosebury isn’t drawing any attention towards his own triumphs despite currently being the most experienced AFL umpire in the game. Rosebury has whistled over 400 games in his 21 years as an umpire at the highest level.
The 41-year-old WA native is proud of the spirit his umpiring cohort has displayed throughout another season of border-related challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This year has been much tougher than last year, we’ve been really fortunate to still be able to umpire and for football games to still go ahead,” said Rosebury.
“I’ve been really proud of the whole umpiring group, we’ve jumped borders – at one point I was in three states inside one day just because things change very quickly.”
Rosebury will umpire his ninth AFL Grand Final on Saturday and still fondly remembers his first-ever officiating experience at the highest level at Subiaco Oval back in 2000.
“Definitely remember my first game, Fremantle – St Kilda, Round 13, 2000 at Subi...don’t ask me what my second game was.”
Like many fans of the AFL who are having to endure lockdowns on the eastern seaboard, Rosebury is just hoping this Saturday’s historic AFL showpiece event at Optus Stadium will live up to the hype.
“Hopefully we see a great result on Saturday with a close game, an amazing contest, two teams that are absolutely ready to go on Grand Final day and myself, Matt Stevic and Jacob Mollison; we’ll just be playing our small little role hopefully in the background letting the players decide the result.”
When asked if he had any advice for umpire Jacob Mollison ahead of the big game, Rosebury kept it simple.
"I told him to turn his phone off on Thursday," quipped Brett with a rye grin.
"Grand Final week you usually get calls from people you haven't heard from for 20 years wishing you well. It's nice, but it can be taxing the longer the week goes."
Brett's love of the game and his profession has him committed to continuous improvement. University studies have shown that despite only blowing the whistle 40 to 50 times per match, umpires make as many as 1000 separate decisions in an AFL game.
"Fans can be assured we take our jobs very seriously. We review every decision in every match. The Ark provides footage from different several angles which help with our reviews. It couldn't be more thorough."
Rosebury loves his job and is committed to seeing more umpires make their way to the highest level. He also wants to see more umpires at the grassroots level which will help secure future stocks of quality umpires continue to break through at the highest level.
"With the expansion of the AFL to 18 teams, and the evolution of AFLW, the game has never needed more umpires at the highest level," said Brett.
"There is no doubt at the local level more is being asked of a dwindling supply of umpires. We need more people to put their hands up, grab a whistle and make their mark".