Annand ready to make BUA history

Bendigo Advertiser, Friday 25 August

THE opportunity to officiate in her first Bendigo Football-Netball League senior match as a central umpire is an opportunity Bronte Annand can’t pass up.

So instead of being with the rest of her family in Brisbane on Saturday, she will be running around Bendigo’s Queen Elizabeth Oval in charge of the round 18 senior clash between Sandhurst and Gisborne.

Annand’s appointment marks a significant milestone for the Bendigo Umpires Association.

When she takes to the field the 20-year-old will become the first female to have come through the BUA ranks to be appointed a central umpire in a BFNL senior match.

“I’m obviously really excited with the opportunity this weekend,” Annand said on Thursday.

“I did some Bendigo league senior grand finals as a boundary umpire (2014 and 2015) and once I swapped to central umpiring I was really keen to get back to that level as quick as I could and continue onwards.”

Annand is in her second season of central umpiring after initially starting as a boundary umpire in 2010 when she was 13.

The BUA previously had Jacqueline Johnston central umpire in eight BFNL games in 2009, including two senior matches.

However, Johnston was from Geelong.

Annand learned of her senior appointment on Tuesday night, but it immediately presented a quandary, with Saturday’s game clashing with her cousin’s wedding in Brisbane.

“I had to make a fairly big and quick decision in a small amount of time and I decided that this is a big step for me and I’d like to do this game,” Annand said.

Annand’s BFNL senior debut comes less than two months after she central umpired her first senior game in the Loddon Valley league – the July 1 clash between Marong and Mitiamo that was abandoned early in the third quarter following an injury to the Panthers’ Cam Muir.

“Bronte has worked particularly hard at achieving her desire to become a senior central umpire,” BUA chairman Craig Findlay said.

“The move from boundary umpiring to central umpiring was a big step, but one in which she has excelled.”

As for how Annand will approach Saturday’s game: “It’s still the same rules and two teams of footballers that I have to adjudicate.”


Story by Luke West, Photo by Darren Howe