AFL-NSW ACT will launch a new MIA umpire training base this week.
One of the key findings from the Burgess Review was to enhance the recruitment and retention of umpires through the creation of a regional training base in MIA.
So the training base will come to life at Leeton Showground on Wednesday night. The one-hour session will be the first of fortnightly training opportunities that will continue throughout the year.
AFL NSW-ACT umpire coordinator for ACT and regional NSW, Troy Mavroudis, will oversee the sessions and believes it is an exciting time for the sport in the MIA.
"Hopefully it will provide a bit more education to those umpires out there and ideally we'll try to tap into some of the school stuff as well and maybe once we run those school programs, try and integrate them into the training side of things as well," Mavroudis said.
"If we can get a couple from the school programs and give them something to go to.
"I think in the past there has been attempts at trying to do something like this but they've never taken off. Because there is now official investment with the review, we've got some resources to put toward it, so we can actually go at it pretty hard and get some momentum out that way.
"If not for anything else, it will just provide that additional education so if they want to go out and umpire they can be better at what they do."
The base is designed for club umpires, who officiate in reserves and under 17s at senior competition level, and across the entire of South West juniors.
The fortnightly sessions will alternate between face to face and online.
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"t's just another alternative to support that region with growth and education and get them on the same page," Mavroudis said.
"There's a lot of people over there doing their own thing and we just don't get oversight on them. It will be about bringing those guys in on a more regular basis and give them an outlet to come to to give them some education and socialise a bit and get to meet other club umpires."
Wednesday night's first session will run from 7pm to 8pm.
Mavroudis hopes umpires get behind the concept.
"We just want it to be supported now. We've got a two-year strategy to get this up and running so we'll see that through and see how it goes," he said.
AFL Southern NSW community football and competition manager Tom Walker believes the new training base is a great opportunity for umpires.
"There are strong population bases in Leeton, Griffith and Narrandera and to provide those areas with an opportunity to improve their umpiring is important," Walker said.
"One of the key findings out of the review was to ensure that region is looked after in terms of umpire development so we can not only appoint league appointed umpires but those club umpires as well for juniors and seniors, it should be a massive opportunity for those umpires."
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