THEY have been in the middle of the action all year, yet have hardly been noticed.
But this season’s efforts of Sunraysia Football Umpires Association were officially recognised at its annual dinner at the Mildura Working Man’s Club on Tuesday night.
About 120 umpires gathered to celebrate and reflect on the crew’s collective achievements in the league.
The Gary Green Field Umpire of the Year Award went to Michael Breewel, the Bob Capp Boundary Umpire of the Year Award went to Adam Henschke and the Barry Fechner Goal Umpire of the Year Award went to Colin Robson.
Green himself was inducted into the hall of fame and also won the John Maas award for the Most Valuable Umpire, commended for his positive attitude, leadership and continual encouragement of others.
President Tony Finn lauded the night as “a chance to sit back and celebrate what we have achieved together”.
“People who have taken the challenge have really enjoyed it fitness-wise and socially,” Finn said.
“This year we have seen a growth in junior umpires and even ex-footballers and fathers joining.
“We’ve got football clubs and leagues represented here.”
The Wal Robson Best First Year Umpire Award went to Darryl Wadem, the Golden Whistle Award for all-round season efforts went to Josh Dannatt and Paul Moore won the Senior Coaches Award for his attitude and commitment to training.
Bruce Rymer proved popular, winning the Baldy Flemming Award for Best Clubman and association’s major award JV Groves Shield, both voted for by SFUA members.
For more of this story, purchase your copy of Friday's Sunraysia Daily 14-9-2012.