Pre-Finals Dinner/Awards Night

We’re now well and truly into the second half of the season, and our signature event is not far away!

The 2019 Pre-Finals Dinner will be held on the 15th of August (Thursday Evening) in the Medallion Club, Marvel Stadium, commencing at 7pm.

We will be enjoying a sit-down 3 course banquet, with beer, wine and soft drink included all evening. Bruce Eva returns as our Master of Ceremonies to celebrate our award winners and life member inductee(s), and the evening will conclude with music and dancing.

The night is suitable for umpires of all ages, and we highly encourage partners, family & guests to join us for our night of nights, helping us to celebrate our year in style.

Dress code is cocktail/formal – dress to impress!


As per previous seasons, all member umpires are assumed to attend and will have the ticket price processed through the early August pay run.

Guest tickets can be purchased through pay deduction, or by cash/card/bank transfer.

Tickets, which include a 3 course banquet and drinks all night, are $120 for Adults and $90 for Under 18’s.

Guests, Dietary Requirements & Table Requests

Guests are more than welcome, and we encourage all members to bring along partners, family or friends to help celebrate the year! Guest tickets can be obtained by contacting Lionel Katz – [email protected]

Dietary requirements and table preferences should also be sent to Lionel.


Our Pre-Finals dinner is our night of nights, and attendance by all running umpires is both expected and assumed. Apologies for absence must be received by Lionel Katz ([email protected]) by 1 August, and include reason for absence.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Andrew Heffernan AFL Debut!

Congratulations to former VAFA umpire Andrew Heffernan who makes his AFL debut in the Melbourne v Carlton clash at the MCG on Sunday!

Andrew began his umpiring career as a boundary umpire in the Yarra Junior Football League when in Year Seven at Xavier College. The following year he switched to field umpiring and he steadily made his way up through the ranks, umpiring a number of junior Grand Finals.

In 2010, Andrew made his way to the VAFA where he successfully made the transition to umpiring in a senior competition, officiating the Under 19 North Grand Final.

In 2011, Andrew became one of a select few to debut in senior football in A grade, umpiring at Carey with Sacha Koffman. Throughout the season, Andrew, who is an extremely organised young man, successfully completed his VCE while serving as one of the Vice-Captains at Xavier College. On the football field, he had an outstanding first year in senior football, culminating in him being appointed to the Premier C Grand Final with Merv Monty and Tom Windlow. Andrew also was awarded the Golden Whistle this year.

Andrew worked hard on improving his umpiring and 2012 proved to be a stellar year, resulting in him being appointed to the Premier Grand Final with Luke Holmes and Matt Pryor.

In 2013 Andrew made his way to the VFL where he has umpired 100 senior matches, including a number of finals. In 2015 he was Emergency Umpire for the Senior Grand Final and in 2016 was appointed to the VFL Development League Grand Final.

At the beginning of 2019 Andrew began the year on a high, umpiring the AFLW Grand Final and found out soon afterwards that he would be one of the contracted AFL field umpires.

Congratulations Andrew on what you’ve achieved so far. All at the VAFA and the VAFAUA are looking forward to seeing you in AFL Shirt #29 for many years to come.

Credit: Tony Hales

Life Membership Nominations

Nominations for Life Membership of the VAFAUA are now open.

Applications must be in writing, and be nominated & seconded by current members of the association. Nominations should address the eligibility criteria, and explain why the person should be considered for Life Membership. Nominations must be received by the Secretary ([email protected]) by midnight on 10 July.

Eligibility criteria:

The following persons are eligible for election as a Life Member:

(i) A member who has met two of the three following criteria: 

A – completed at least 10 years of service as an umpire with VAFA;

B – been a Committee Member of the Association for 3 years or more; 

C – in the opinion of the Committee, in its absolute discretion, has upheld the purposes of the Association and rendered conspicuous service.


(ii) completed 20 years service umpiring with the VAFA, and in the opinion of the Committee, in its absolute discretion, has upheld the purposes of the Association

Andrew Heffernan joins the AFL!!!

The VAFAUA sends a huge congratulations to Andrew Heffernan, who has joined the AFL Field Umpire list for 2019!

Andrew started umpiring on the Boundary as a 12 year old at the Yarra Junior FL, before switching to the Field. He came to the VAFA as a Field Umpire in 2010, going on to officiate our Premier Grand Final in 2012. He joined the VFL Development list in 2013, and has gone from strength to strength, including umpiring the VFL Development League Grand Final in 2016.

Andrew was ‘Rookie Listed’ with the AFL in 2017, and has acted as Emergency umpire for many AFL games over the last 2 seasons. He had a very successful AFL Womens season this year, and will officiate the AFLW Grand Final this coming Sunday.

Andrew is a great example of the YJFL/SMJFL – VAFA – VFL – AFL pathway, and has previously acknowledged the significant influence of our Premier Squad coach Tony Hales, along with our own Brian Goodman and Geoff Deveson from the YJFL, on his umpiring career.

Andrew joins a number of former VAFA Umpires at the AFL, including Nick Brown, Chris Donlon, Cameron Dore, Leigh Fisher, Andre Gianfagna, Simon Meredith, Rob O’Gorman and Brent Wallace.

Congratulations Heff, and we look forward to seeing you out on the big stage!

Andrew Heffernan in VFL Orange

VAFA Umpires in the VFL & AFL

It has been another very successful off-season for our VAFA alumni, with a number of additions and promotions within the VFL system!

Jackson Gillespie, Hamish McCartney, Luke Myatt and Joe Dorrat Thorpe have all successfully joined their development squads.

Jackson Gillespie, Leigh Fisher and Hamish McCartney in 2017.

This year we also have three promotions to the VFL Senior lists – Josh Ball (Field), Adrian Pretorius (Boundary) and Jack Stammers (Goal).

Josh Ball, (4th from right), Adrian Pretorius (3rd from right) and Jack Stammers (far right) during the VFLW Grand Final 2018. All three have been promoted to their Senior lists for 2019!

Josh and Jack join their respective Senior lists in just their second year at the VFL, and Adrian in his Third – absolutely outstanding achievements!

VFL Senior
Peter Bailes (F)
Josh Ball (F)
Christopher Doyle (G)
Patrick Dwyer (G)
Andrew Heffernan (F)
Adrian Pretorius (B)
Jack Stammers (G)

VFL Senior Development
Sam Beer (B)
Jacob Rockwell (F)
Raushaan Seychell (B)

VFL Development
Tope Adepoyibi (G)
Joe Dorrat Thorpe (G)
Jackson Gillespie (F)
Hamish McCartney (F)
Jake Marnie (G)
Luke Myatt (B)
Jack Punshon (B)

We also have a number of umpires officiating in the AFL this year:

AFL Field
Nick Brown
Chris Donlon
Cameron Dore
Leigh Fisher*
Andre Gianfagna*
Andrew Heffernan
Simon Meredith
Robert O’Gorman
Brent Wallace*

* With VAFA through the AFL Player to Umpire Program

AFL Boundary
Damien Cusack
Matthew Jenkinson
Michael Saunders
James Scully

AFL Goal
Matthew Dervan
Steven Piperno

With such an extensive VAFA alumni throughout the VFL and AFL system, the VAFA truly is the place to umpire!