By JESS WEBSTER
Former AFL umpire Brett Ritchie will lead the 2018 NEAFL Grand Final umpiring panel for Sunday’s season decider between Southport and Sydney at Fankhauser Reserve.
Ritchie, who umpired 22 AFL games in 2011-2012, will join Canberra’s Nic McGinness and Andrew Adair as field umpires for the 1pm showdown.
McGinness and Adair were named joint winners of the 2018 NEAFL Field Umpires of the Year at the NEAFL MVP Awards Ceremony last month.
McGinness, 22, made his NEAFL umpiring debut just shy of his 16th birthday back in 2012, and umpired his first NEAFL Grand Final last year.
Adair earned a place on the AFL’s field umpire rookie list this season after making his NEAFL debut back in 2015, and was named emergency for the 2017 NEAFL Grand Final.
Alex Donoghue, Nick Swanson, Ben Fely and David Wood have been appointed boundary umpires, and waving the flags in the goals will be Jesse Baird and Taylor Mattioli.
AFL NSW/ACT State Umpiring Manager, Damian Anderson, congratulated all umpires selected.
“Just as it is for teams and players, a grand final appointment is the culmination of hundreds of hours of hard work over the course of the preseason and season proper,” he said.
“Consistent umpiring performances over the home and away season and final series shows to us they will perform well in the most important match of the year.
“Each one of these umpires is now on the radar for potential AFL selection.”
Southport and Sydney will clash for the 2018 premiership from 1pm on Sunday.
2018 NEAFL Grand Final Umpire Panel
Field: Andrew Adair (1), Nic McGinness (7), Brett Ritchie (10). Emer: Matthew Baigent (2).
Boundary: Alex Donoghue, Nick Swanson, Ben Fely, David Wood
Goal: Jesse Baird, Taylor Mattioli. Emer: Matthew Bridges
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