Our Story

In this article we discuss the beginning of our organisation, dating back to it’s beginning in 1968. The success of our organisation snowballed from the foundations laid by Rod Baguley and Keith cook in 1982.

Our Beginning

The Umpires association was formed in 1983 under the title of Riddell District Football League Umpires Association (RDFLUA). Prior to 1983 the RDFL was serviced by Field Umpires supplied by the VFL (AFL) “country grade”. Goal and Boundary Umpires were supplied locally from 1968 and 1971 respectively. From 1975 they were managed by Keith Cook. There was also an unofficial group of Field Umpires who umpired junior games that were not supplied umpires by the VFL. This was managed by Rod Baguley.

Rod and Keith got together in 1982 and decided that the Riddell District Football League needed a consolidated umpiring body. They agreed to convene a combined meeting of all current umpires from both groups with a view to forming an umpires association that serviced the entire RDFL. At the meeting it was agreed that the group would set up a steering committee. They also held a public meeting looking for support of a new association, also looking for new umpires. The steering committee comprised Rod Baguley, Ian Grieve, Bob Manton and David Potter.

At this meeting, the RDFL Umpires Association was formed and a committee elected. Ian Grieve served as the inaugural President and was aided by Vice President Rod Baguley, Secretary D. Potter and Treasurer David Wilson. The committee's first job was to develop a proposal to put to the RDFL. In November, 1982 the Committee met with the RDFL and put forward their submission which boasted 25 Field Umpires with Keith Ogston, an ex-VFL umpire as the 1st Senior Advisor. As the RDFL had concerns about the long term future of having the field umpires supplied by the VFL, they accepted the proposal immediately. So in 1983, the new RDFL Umpires Association provided Field, Boundary and Goal umpires to the RDFL Seniors and Field Umpires to the Reserves, U/18s and the junior competition.

The existence of our association has been important in the local sporting community, and in the RDFL. We have provided oppurtunites in umpiring as a sport for over 850 people.

Following the demise of the 1st division of the RDFL after the 1996 season, the RDFLUA started to supply umpires to the Ballarat Football League so that umpires still had access to division 1 football. This relationship started in 1997 and remained in place until 2007. In 2010, at the request of the BFL, the RDFLUA re-instated their association with the BFL and this remains in place today. In 2002, the RDFLUA also developed an association with the VAFA. The RDFLUA had very strong numbers while the VAFA was struggling for umpires, especially in the north-west region. This association lasted until 2009 allowing our umpiring group to have access to a higher grade of football.

At the start of the 2008, the RDFLUA changed its name to the Riddell Umpires. Along with the name change, came a new modern logo to represent our association and its move into the future. In 2012, the Riddell Umpires, celebrated their 30th anniversary as an association.

In 2013, the Riddell Umpires were one of the 1st associations to implement the 4 boundary umpires system and our Senior Coach Michael O’Keeffe was the 1st winner of the AFL Victoria Metropolitan Umpiring Coach Of The Year Award.


Other Areas of Our Past

The association has had numerous uniforms since 1983. There have been several traditional white uniforms. From 2006 to 2014 the Riddell Umpires wore their 1st coloured uniform which was orange and blue. In 2015, the Riddell Umpires teamed with BLK sports and the AFL National Uniform Supply Program which meant a change in uniform. The Riddell Umpires now where green and grey uniforms that are exactly the same as our AFL

The RDFLUA found their 1st almost permanent home and training venue when they moved to Salesian College, Rupertswood in Sunbury in 1991. Unfortunately due to the expansion of the Rupertswood Football Club, the RDFLUA had to find a new home at the end of 2006 season. In 2007 our training base moved to MacPherson Park in Melton. Maccy Park has remained our home since. The Riddell Umpires honour boards are currently housed at RDFL House.

  • During the 1990’s the RDFLUA was the 1st umpiring group in country Victoria to introduce send off cards, introduce set penalties and to implement three Field Umpires in Finals and Grand Finals.

  • In 2015, 16 Umpires traveled to the USA to participate in the USAFL National Championships. Riddell were the first umpiring association in Australia to attend the tournament as a large group and assisted with the training of USA Umpires. 

Want to Join Us?

Join Riddell Umpires today to begin your journey with AFL Umpiring. Umpiring AFL Football is an activity which can lead to many opportunities to either earn some quick pocket money or turn your skills into big money. We encourage you (even if you are not sure) to reach out to us and discuss what umping could mean for you.