Travis leads the way … but needs more to join

TWO-time AFL North West Golden Whistle winner Travis Brown looks back on his playing career mainly in South-West Sydney with great fondness. But umpiring has made him realise one important thing.

“If it wasn’t for umpires I wouldn’t have been able to play for 30 years,” Brown said.

It was only after Brown broke his leg while playing for the Tamworth Swans in 2011 that umpiring became an option for him.

Blowing a whistle in the middle of the oval was a thought that had crossed Brown’s mind though before that fateful day that ended his time as a player.

“When I was playing at the Tamworth Swans, Gerry Griffiths said to me you should come out and do it (umpiring) when you retire,” Brown recalled.

“I made a promise to him that I would and the reason I started umpiring was because I wanted to make sure I kept that promise to Gerry.”

Having taken some time to recover from his injury, the first game in a green shirt came as a whirlwind.

“The umpiring group was struggling for numbers and Craig Abbott rang me and said we need an umpire,” he said.

“I went down to the ground, he threw a shirt on me and I’ve been umpiring ever since.”

Brown is renowned as being the fittest umpire in the AFL North West but he said that was a title he needed to work toward.

“I’ve trained harder for umpiring than I ever did for senior footy,” he said.

With nearly a decade of umpiring behind him the railways worker said there’s a lot more football in front of him.

“I’ll probably go for another 10 years provided I can stay fit enough,” he said.

“I just love footy. I love getting my hands on the ball and having a kick.

“I can’t play anymore so umpiring is the closest thing I can get to playing.”

Anybody thinking of umpiring at any level in the AFL North West in 2022 can register their interest by sending an email to Introductory training will be offered as part of the AFL North West Education Roadshow on Sunday 13 March (10:30am to 2:00pm), RSVP to attend either through your club or via Emily Brown.