The Community Umpiring Week initiative introduced by the AFL took place last weekend, with a 2020 AFL Grand Final umpire in attendance to mark the occasion.
Craig Fleer officiated the Belgrave vs Healesville match at Belgrave Recreation Reserve on Sunday with junior umpire Sam Gebert, which proved invaluable for his development.
Stepping back into community umpiring for the first time since entering the discipline at grassroots level, Fleer was noted for having really enjoyed the experience and loved the sense of community spirit that was seen at the Belgrave precinct.
Reflecting on the match and Community Umpiring Week, Operations Coordinator Sebastian Mueller-Schmuki, who oversees the umpiring group, was pleased with Fleer’s involvement with the AFL Outer East umpiring group saying his contribution across the week was beneficial for the football umpiring group.
“It was fantastic to have an AFL umpire of the calibre of Craig Fleer come along and run a junior match with one of our young umpires over the weekend,” he said.
“Further to this, it was a great opportunity for Sam to run with someone of Craig’s experience and I think he learnt a lot from it.
“Throughout the match, Craig really demonstrated the key elements needed to be a good umpire such as match management, clear signals and a loud whistle and I am really glad that Sam was able to benefit from this.”
In addition to umpiring with Gebert on Sunday, Fleer also made an appearance at umpire training in the lead up to the weekend, introducing himself to all umpires in the room and getting to know them.
During the session, Fleer passed on all of his knowledge and advice to the Outer East umpires, which they were appreciative of and benefitted greatly from.
“Fleers presence at training last week was really good for our umpires as they mingled with him and asked about his experiences at all levels of umpiring, while also sharing their own experiences they’ve endured through their umpiring journey,” he mentioned.
“Overall, I am really pleased with the success of Community Umpiring Week as it was really beneficial for the umpiring group in the AFL Outer East.”