The 2019 NEAFL Grand Final Umpiring Panel has been decided with Sydney-based umpire Matthew Baigent set to make his debut on the big stage.
Baigent will umpire his first Grand Final at second-tier level after first joining the NEAFL list in 2012, progressing from AFL Sydney after running the 2011 Premier Division Grand Final between the East Coast Eagles and Balmain.
Baigent went on to umpire the 2012 and 2015 AFL Sydney Premier Division Grand Finals, before making his NEAFL Finals debut in 2018, where he was appointed as the emergency for the 2018 NEAFL Grand Final between Southport and the Sydney Swans.
In the same year, he also became one of the NSW-based AFL rookie field umpires, regularly sitting the bench at Swans and GIANTS matches.
His resume strengthened once again this season by running his 100th NEAFL game in Round 6 and after terrific performances in both the Elimination and Preliminary Finals, he stated his claim for this year’s decider.
Baigent will be joined by Canberra umpire Nic McGinness, who has officiated three NEAFL Grand Finals in 2016, 2017 and 2018, as well as the 2019 AFLW Grand Final.
Rounding out the field umpiring group is Andrew Adair from Queensland, who was named the QLD/NT Umpire of the Year at the 2019 NEAFL MVP Awards alongside McGinness (NSW/ACT) and will be unmpiring his third NEAFL Grand Final.
The boundary will be officiated by Ty Duncan, Ben Fely, Joseph Spiteri and David Wood, with Jesse Baird and Dale Puren selected as goal umpires.
Duncan, Wood, Baird and Puren were all named 2019 NEAFL Umpires of the Year in their respective fields.
State Umpiring Manager for QLD, James Waldorff, said it was great reward for effort for all umpires, in particular those involved in the Queensland pathway.
"It's outstanding reward for effort to see both Andrew Adair and Nic Mc Ginness officiate in their third and fourth NEAFL Grand Final in a row respectively," he said.
"Andrew, along with James Strybos (Emergency Field Umpire), have had strong seasons on field as well as off field as members of Queensland High-Performance training group.
"The Queensland umpires selected across all disciplines have lead by example throughout the season which has in turn raised the standards of the high-performance training group.
"We have every confidence that the panel selected will officiate to a high standard."
State Umpiring Manager for NSW/ACT, Pierce Field, echoed Warldorff's sentiments and congratulated the panel on their achievements.
“We are very proud of what our panel has achieved across Queensland, NT and NSW/ACT over the course of the season,” he said.
“There were some very strong cases for the Grand Final, and whilst a difficult decision to make, we are very confident that the panel selected for Sunday will do a terrific job.”
The 2019 NEAFL Grand Final will be held at Fankhauser Reserve on Sunday between Brisbane Lions and Southport Sharks.
2019 NEAFL Grand Final Umpiring Panel
Field: Andrew Adair (1), Matthew Baigent (2), Nic
Boundary: Ty Duncan, Ben Fely, Joseph Spiteri, David Wood
Goal: Jesse Baird, Dale Puren
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