AN UMPIRE WITH A SENSE OF HUMOUR?
Hi Phil, my name is Noel McDonald (ex VFA field umpire during the
80's, my career lasting approx 100 senior games plus a couple of
years in the VFL). I recall umpiring your good self and Coburg when
you were coaching.
You probably don't recall myself being the unobtrusive lot umpies
were, however I certainly remember the free advice you occasionally
gave me !!
I just caught up with your web site and found it very enjoyable.
Being a McDonald my routes also lie back in Ireland or Scotland.
A couple stories that might be of interest. I read your story on
the day Harold entered the umpires room after the match for some
'debriefing'. I was one of the field umpires that day and I recall
having a beer with you after the match. From memory it was a muddy
Box Hill Oval that day and Coburg got home so you were happy.
The Box Hill (& Camberwell) grounds were in shocking condition
that year, like Irish stew's. I thought we umpired fairly good that
day given the congestive muddy conditions, we might have decided
to look after the man in front given the conditions, maybe Harold
forgot the golden rule on muddy days back in those days ... get
Any way at the tribunal, Harold claimed the emergency umpire gave
him the "bird" through the little reinforced window (while
he was banging his fists against the "wire reinforced"
window and offering feedback about our performance). He claimed
this provocation lead him to enter the rooms ( not our fantastic
I stood between Harold and the emergency umpire, knees trembling
shiteing myself while the poor Box Hill trainer was bear hugging
The other story is I umpired the then VFA highest score match between
Williamstown (playing coach Terry Wheeler) and Camberwell (coach
Sam kekovich) at the small Camberwell ground with Frank Vergona.
I'm not sure if the record has been broken since, however I think
Willy kicked about 60+ goals to about 1. My bouncing back was never
the same. Willy had a great side that day. They were so hot, at
half time they sat underneath a big tree on the hill near the scoreboard.
I also umpired "Jacko" at Brunswick on his first (and
only) VFA match, I think he lasted about 10 minutes before being
reported. It was a top day and I remember Jacko living the ground
for the mandatory 10 or 15 minute rest waving his jumper in the
air as he was walking off.
I also remember a match at Coburg vs Willy and Coburg (you were
non playing coach) had a solid first half against the more fancied
Terry Wheeler lead Williamstown. At half time, we could hear Terry
"berating" his team from 30 metre away. Plenty of Fish
and Chips type words. They came out and eventually beat Coburg fairly