Rawlings Makes History
Victoria Rawlings made history when she walked on to Henson Park over the weekend, becoming only the second woman to take charge of an AFL Sydney Premier Division game.
The experienced umpire officiated the match-up between the UNSW-ES Bulldogs and the Manly-Warringah Wolves on Saturday Afternoon.
Victoria is a member of the NEAFL Umpire Development Squad and leads the Female Development Program. After three seasons without the whistle recovering from injury, and travelling overseas, she returned to action earlier this year training with the NEAFL. She capped this off by being appointed to the ALFW game between the GWS GIANTS and Western Bulldogs in March this year.
Rawlings said the moment was made special by being able to officiate the match in her home town.
“It was a great experience running in the game at Henson. Something that was really special was debuting in the inner west – only five minutes from home,” said Rawlings.
“I was lucky enough to have friends and family come and watch the game from the hill, which made the occasion feel even more special.”
In 114 years of AFL Sydney Premier Division, Victoria becomes only the second woman to umpire a First Grade match. She follows in the footsteps of Sharon Algar who took charge of a match between East Sydney and Western Suburbs at Trumper Park in 1992. Algar was a part of the first ever all-female umpiring panel anywhere across Australia.
Pierce Field, Umpiring Development Coordinator of AFL Sydney, says that Rawlings’ commitment to her umpiring is a shining example for all of our up-and-coming female umpires.
“This is the first of many more female field umpires being elevated to Premier Division football in the next few years,” says Field. The women’s game is making remarkable leaps in Sydney, and this is just another example of how popular the sport is becoming in the Harbour City.
Humble in reaching her milestone, Rawlings was quick to make sure that females in the umpiring space -not the individual – are the subject in the spotlight.
“Umpiring is an awesome challenge both physically and mentally, and anyone who loves football should think about giving it a go.”
The Bulldogs proved too strong in the Round 2 clash, withstanding a third quarter comeback by the Wolves to win 17.14.116 to 10.6.66. Harry Annear was a standout for the Bulldogs, with Marc Dragicevic kicking six goals to go with his five from Round 1.
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