TATHRA’S Lachlan Gordon is umpiring on AFL grand final day.
Lachlan, 14, will have a chance to show off his officiating skills in front of an estimated crowd of 100,000 supporters.
The Bega High School student has been chosen to umpire an Auskick game at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).
Awarded through the NAB Auskick program, the opportunity also offers perks including two tickets to the AFL grand final and possibly being selected to present a medal to a member of the winning team.
The MCG will be divided into sections for a number of Auskick matches to be played at 1.20pm.
Afterwards, Lachlan and his dad Ross will sit down to watch the AFL decider between the Hawthorn Hawks and Fremantle Dockers.
Yesterday, Lachlan told the BDN he was looking forward to umpiring in front of a huge crowd.
“I’m pretty excited,” he said.
“It’s good, but I’m pretty nervous – it’s a good opportunity.”
Lachlan joined the Sapphire Coast AFL umpiring ranks last year because “there was a lack of numbers so I thought I’d try out”.
He started out as a boundary umpire, before moving to the pivotal central umpiring role in 2013.
Lachlan said young umpires, or “learners”, from around Australia went into the draw to officiate on AFL grand final day.
The Tathra teenager was fortunate enough to have his name pulled out.
Ross Gordon said he was looking forward to seeing his son umpire on the game’s biggest day.
Ross said he expected Lachlan to make an impression tomorrow.
“He looks like a 16 or 17-year-old when he’s out there umpiring – he’s in control.
“He will try to stay calm, but he’ll be alright.
“I think I’m more excited than him,” he said with a laugh.
The Gordons’ AFL journey will begin today when they are flown to Melbourne.
Lachlan will take part in the AFL grand final’s official parade at noon, where he will walk alongside other umpires.
Lachlan said he believed he will be walking near 2013 Brownlow Medal winner Garry Ablett Junior or NAB Rising Star medallist Jaeger O’Meara.
The dream weekend for Lachlan could almost have been even better.
A mad Geelong Cats supporter, Lachlan’s team was pipped by just five points in last week’s preliminary final against Hawthorn.
Lachlan’s sister is a Fremantle supporter, so the siblings’ relationship may have been tested.
“It would have been perfect,” Lachlan said.
Ross said the AFL had paid for the whole trip, except for meals and taxi rides.
“It’s pretty swanky,” he said.
Lachlan admitted that while umpiring has plenty of benefits, it also has its downfalls.
“You get paid which is a good thing,” he said.
“The bad thing is that you get abused by players and spectators.
“[But] you try to block it out and back yourself because you’ve got the whistle.”
Lachlan has also made an impression on the field for the Tathra Sea Eagles this season.
He stepped up to play for Tathra’s reserve grade side during its recent SCAFL grand final victory over Bega.
Reserves team manager Kevin May said he was surprised Lachlan and Ross were able to keep their trip to Melbourne so quiet.
“They kept it pretty hush hush, we didn’t actually find out through the family but an email from the AFL to the club,” May said.
Tathra Public School teacher Kerry Parbery said it was a “phenomenal effort” for Lachlan as he had only been umpiring for two years.
Parbery said after picking up the whistle, Lachlan had “never looked back”.
“He’s actually umpired some of the first grade games and is very composed on the field,” she said.