These umpires might not be players, but they’ve all just kicked a huge goal on the footy field.
- CAFL has celebrated its first all-women umpire game in history
- There were seven umpires on the field for the game between Senior South Women and Pioneer Football Club
- AFL NT says the NT has the highest female umpire participation rate in the country
They’re the first all-female umpire team in the history of the Central Australian Football League (CAFL).
In fact, there wasn’t a bloke on the field for the game between the Senior South Women and Pioneer Football Club on Friday night.
Jessie Woolford, 17, was one of the seven umpires on the field, and said players and umpires alike were excited for the “women’s week”.
“All the girls were super confident,” she said.
“We umpired our best. It was a different field, a different environment altogether.”
A girl’s game
Woolford has been umpiring for five years, after a PE teacher recommended she try it out.
“One of our PE teachers noticed that I just enjoyed running, so he was like ‘do you want to come down and try umpiring?'”
Since then she says she’s gradually seen more and more girls and women lacing up their boots.
“Which I put down to girls and women bringing their friends in, and they talk to their friends and sisters.
She said the all-women game was a proud moment.
“It wasn’t intentional to have all the women. It was just we had enough women now to be able to do that game.”
AFL NT said the Territory boasted the highest female umpire participation rate in the country — women make up 23 per cent of the umpires.
Umpire coordinator Sam Cunningham said it had been great to see the number of female umpires in the CAFL continue to grow.
“This has come down to the inviting environment and leadership from our female umpires,” he said.
Woolford has also been an umpire coach since 2019.
She encourages anyone who might be interested in becoming an umpire to give it a shot.
“You don’t have to know anything; you get trained, you get good. There’s heaps of support with our group,” she said.
She said umpiring local competitions was a great pathway to bigger and better things as well.
“I want to become an umpire for the actual AFL, so that pathway I’ve had a look at multiple times.
“Or if you want to umpire a higher league … and if you’re happy just umpiring in your community do that.”