Anthony Oliver has walked away with the Ian Coates Award at the Goulburn Valley Football Umpires Association night of nights.
Oliver, 21, was recognised for his contribution on and off the field in front of 200 people at Shepparton Showgrounds late last month, an accolade that has been 10 years in the making.
‘‘I first started when I was 11-years-old, I just love umpiring, I don’t know why, but I just do,’’ Oliver said with a laugh.
‘‘Even when I was younger, I wouldn’t play the game I just liked to umpire it.’’
GVFUA president Darren Meek lauded Oliver’s contribution to the association during the past few years, labelling him as ‘‘terrific’’.
‘‘He has put in a lot of time and effort, he is very respectful towards all the other umpires and I think at the end of the day he is a deserved winner,’’ Meek said.
‘‘The award is voted on by all our coaches and committee, you have to finish high up in the rankings and also umpire a major grand final and he did that.’’
After a decade of goal umpiring the rising star has had a box seat to a number of footballing classics across the region.
‘‘It has been great fun, I just did my third senior GVL grand final, I have done Murray, KDFL and also a PDFL south-east grand final too,’’ Oliver said.
‘‘I am in the best seat in the house, I love it.’’
Oliver was just one of several people recognised for their achievements by the GVFUA, with Mick Donovan, Zac Groombridge, Hugh Conway, Meek, Drew Pettifer and a number of other umpires praised for their efforts.
‘‘It is our night of nights, we have so many people turn out and it is just great to see so many people continually getting recognised for the work they do — whether it be on the field or behind the scenes,’’ Meek said.
‘‘We feel that we are a big family and the environment with everyone together was exceptional — now we start pre season soon.’’
Best First Year Umpire: Bryce Barker
Most Improved Field Umpire: Mick Donovan
Most Improved Boundary Umpire: Zac Groombridge
Most Improved Goal Umpire: Mitchell White
Most Promising Boundary Umpire: Lachlan Wright
Dedication to Field Umpiring: Ben Munro
Dedication to Goal Umpiring: Ross Henderson
Selectors’ Most Available: Will Hemming
The Howard Phillips Best Club Person: Sam Wood
Coaches Award: Tony Caia
Leonard J Hort 300 games club: Garry Hosie, Gerard Montgomery, Andrew Moore, Bruce Rendell and Chris Shannon
Phillip Moran Rising Star Award: Sam Green
The Greg Sidebottom Golden Whistle Award: Hugh Conway
Life Membership: David Owen, Tony Hajro and Darren Meek
The Ron Pell ‘Blood In The Boots’ Award: Drew Pettifer
The Ian Coates Award: Anthony Oliver