Launceston boundary umpire Ollie Bennett’s 16th birthday was made all the sweeter by a surprise call-up to Saturday’s TSL grand final.
Having only joined the Northern Tasmanian Football Umpires Association last season, Bennett’s progression through the ranks has been just as quick as his post-goal run-throughs.
The former East Launceston footballer stepped up from development league at the end of 2017 and has impressed enough to spend much of this year umpiring senior football.
He was announced as one of a four-strong boundary umpire team to officiate the UTAS Stadium decider at training on Monday night – two days before his birthday on Wednesday.
“They started with (announcing) the women’s and the D-league, and once my name wasn’t called out for the D-league I realised I’ve either not got a game or I’ve got a game, and I was really excited to hear I had the TSL senior final,” Bennett said.
“I always had my eyes on the D-league grand final at the start of the year - I didn’t want to get my hopes up too high but to hear I had the senior final was just icing on the cake.
“Going from having only two senior games under my belt at the end of my first season to the senior final was pretty big for me.”
The Scotch Oakburn student’s appointment was met with much fanfare from his colleagues.
“Everyone got around me because they know I’m quite young and I’m the youngest one in the group.
“Saturday morning I don’t reckon it’ll quite hit me until I walk out on to the field, but I’ll definitely have shaky legs and shaky hands.”
The TSL grand final between North Launceston and Lauderdale will start at 3pm, and will be preceded by the TSLW and development league deciders.
TSL GRAND FINAL CREW
- Field: Matt Clarke, Nick Butler, Joel Harris, Sam Bridges (emg)
- Boundary: Rhys Goodyer, Lucas Chamberlain, Ollie Bennett, Lochlan Bromfield
- Goal: Bryce Guy, Brayden White, Jayden Carey
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