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You've got to give it to Lloyd Browne


Lloyd Browne has been Fitzroys official umpire for over 23 years. Not bad for someone who reckons he was dragooned into umpiring after he finished playing because no one else wanted to do it.

That reluctance meant that in my first season, I was only doing home games,says Lloyd. Since then, I've been pretty consistent and umpired nearly every week.

I reckon I've racked up about 400 games./p>

From 1994 to 2009, Lloyd umpired only Fitzroy Reserves games. Since the club's elevation to Premier C and subsequently B, hes been included in an umpiring pool, officiating everything from C Thirds to A Reserves.

And even the occasional seniors match,says Lloyd, when the league is desperately short of proper umpires./p>

As an umpire Lloyd aims to be as invisible as possible and, he says, to bring order from chaos, stop the little blokes from getting injured, and apply the rules without annoying too many players

Having been with the club for so long, Lloyd is a good person to judge whats good about it, what his fellow umpires think about it, and how its changed over the years.

My fondest memories are turning up at Brunswick Street on a beautiful Melbourne autumn day to participate in the greatest game on earth,he says, and then spending four quarters being sledged by Sam Buckley!

What I really like is being told by fellow umpires how much they like officiating at Brunswick Street because the Fitzroy team manager looks after them so well./p>

In the early 90s, the club struggled to field a reserves team, and volunteers were those who'd already played four quarters and were given the flags to wave in the seniors,says Lloyd.

That's no longer the case. And it's a good thing./p>

Caption: Without Lloyd Browns willingness to act as Fitzroys official umpire, something hes done for over 23 years, we wouldnt be able to field a team. Picture supplied

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