The umpiring panel for the 2023 Smithy's VFL Grand Final has been announced.
There is a third team that always strives to get to Smithy’s VFL Grand Final Day, and the VFL Umpires Association has named a strong line-up of quality officials to take charge of Sunday’s decider between the Gold Coast Suns and Werribee at IKON Park.
Let’s find out a bit more about them, including VFL Goal Umpire of the Year John Varker, who will wave the flags on his 100th VFL match in the Grand Final.
8. Nick Scott
VFL Matches: 64
Scott has been ultra-consistent in his umpiring this season, adjudicating 20 home and away games and four finals. After umpiring the 2016 and 2017 Division 1 Grand Finals in the Northern League, Scott debuted in the VFL seniors in 2019. This season was his first in a finals campaign and at 24, he is the youngest of the Grand Final panel.
18. Jack Howard
VFL Matches: 54
In similar fashion to Scott, Howard has had a very consistent year, umpiring 20 home and away games and four finals. He started umpiring in the Essendon District League under the coaching of five-time AFL Grand Final umpire Rowan Sawers. Howard has improved immensely this season and has earned the right to be selected for his first VFL Grand Final. He has also been an AFLW-listed umpire for the past two seasons.
27. Nicholas Jankovskis
VFL Matches: 66
This is Jankovskis’ second finals campaign in the VFL. He was recruited from the Eastern League and is on an AFL advancement program, participating in several activities including AFL umpire coaching and attending AFL games with other senior-listed umpires and coaches. Jankovskis umpired 19 home and away games and four finals. He has umpired in the AFLW for four seasons and took charge of the Season 7 AFLW Grand Final.
Emergency Umpire: 34. Joel Clamp
After coming close for a number of seasons, Anderson has now cracked into his first VFL Grand Final. He also umpired two AFL games this season and has had an ultra-consistent VFL season. Anderson has run 82 VFL and 51 AFLW games including last year’s Grand Final.
Laughton has had a fantastic season. After a preliminary final appearance in 2022, he applied himself and addressed the areas of development required to achieve selection in this year’s Grand Final. Laughton has run 77 VFL and 22 AFLW matches.
Menara has had an outstanding year. Having missed finals selection in 2022, he has been the rising star of this year’s series, running in all four weeks so far. Menara has run 45 VFL and 22 AFLW matches.
Morris has had an outstanding year after a breakout performance in 2022. He officiated three AFL games this season and performed well at that level, while his form in the VFL was so impressive he was named the VFL Boundary Umpire of the Year on Monday night. Morris has also run 23 AFLW games, including the 2022 AFLW Grand Final.
Monea started his career with the Essendon District League and has umpired 20 VFL matches this year. He has done 102 VFL matches, including eight finals, and returns to the big stage after officiating in last year’s Grand Final. Monea has shown great consistency in his umpiring for the past two seasons to earn those selections.
Varker started with the Bendigo Umpires and has umpired 18 VFL matches this year. The Grand Final will be 100th VFL match, which includes eight finals. Varker was named the VFL Goal Umpire of the Year, demonstrating his consistency throughout the home and away season. He also umpired the 2022 NAB League Grand Final.
Emergency Goal Umpire: James Rizio
Pictured: L-R James Rizio, John Varker, Anthony Laughton, Jack Howard, Nick Scott, Nick Jankovskis, Lachlan Menara, Luke Monea, Joel Clamp. (Absent Will Morris, Blake Anderson).