Vale – Jeff Milne

The Sydney umpiring community lost one it’s much loved and respected members last week,  with the passing of former goal umpire Jeff Milne, at the age of 65.

Jeff joined the AFL Sydney Umpiring Group in 2006 and retired at the end of the 2009 season. During his period umpiring, he umpired four grand finals, and reached the 50 game milestone in Premier Division football. Jeff was not only known for his on-field capabilities – he was a terrific mentor to those goal umpires learning their craft, and took great pride in watching younger members achieve their goals – an attribute that he then took to the top level when he served as the AFL’s Goal Umpire Coach in NSW.

His contribution to football in Sydney was not limited to on-field – Jeff was an active member of the New South Wales Australian Football Umpires Assocation (NSWAFUA), stepping onto the committee to fill a casual vacancy in 2008, before becoming Vice President the year after. He then served as President for seasons 2010 and 2011, before handing over the reins to Emma Polette in 2012, and moving back to the Vice-President’s position in order to ensure a smooth transition.

During his presidency, Jeff guided the NSWAFUA and it’s members through one of the biggest changes to Sydney umpiring in over 100 years – the introduction of the North East Australian Football League (NEAFL).

Jeff had a true heart for community – every decision and action he took in his positions with the NSWAFUA was always in the interest of the running members He spent countless hours volunteering his time to develop the soul of Sydney umpiring – from coordinating social events, to cooking the Thursday after training meal, to negotiating the umpires pay and welfare conditions– Jeff’s passion for people was hard to match.

Jeff will be forever known for the enormous contribution he made to umpiring in Sydney, but most of all he will be always remembered for his kind-heartedness, positive, cheerful and thoughtful nature.

Vale Anthony William (Tony) St. Clair

One of our much-loved past umpires and Life Member of the NSWAFUA, Tony St. Clair recently passed away at the age of 66.

Tony umpired in the Sydney AFL competition from 1984 to 1989 and he influenced many umpires in a relatively short period of time. Life Membership was awarded to Tony by the NSWAFU Association in 1988. He took on the Vice President role in 1985, President role in 1986 and the Umpires’ Advisor Role in 1987 and 1988.

Tony umpired 78 games in Sydney that included 47 Premier Division games. He played a pivotal role in umpiring during the Swans transition into the Sydney market and the development of umpiring in a voluntary capacity until the AFL employed David Levens in 1989 as the NSW State Director of Umpiring.

In honour of Tony’s contributions, the NSWAFUA established the A. W. St Clair Award for the Best All Rounder in 1989.

Recently retired NSWAFUA Life Member Frank Kalayzich, who did his first senior grand final under Tony’s guidance, described him as “a bigger than life character who fostered and encouraged many junior umpires into the senior ranks.“

In the first Round of the 2016 AFL Sydney competition, in all grades, umpires will wear black armbands out of respect for A.W. St Clair.

2014 AGM Minutes

The Minutes for the 2014 NSWAFUA AGM can be found by clicking the link below:

NSWAFUA AGM 2014 minutes

Following the subsequent committee meeting held on 16 June, Rob Taylor and Liam Rowe were elected to the casual vacancies of President and Vice President respectively.


The NSWAFUA Committee for 2015 is therefore as follows:

President: Rob Taylor

Vic President: Liam Rowe

Secreatary: Angus McKenzie-Wills

Treasurer: Gordon MacArthur

Ordinary Members: Lachlan MacDonald, Glen Callaghan, Rob Cooksley


Congratulations to the new Association Committee!


Annual General Meeting 2014

Please be advised that the Annual General Meeting of the NSWAFUA will be held on Tuesday 26th May at 7:45pm at North Sydney Oval.

We would welcome any nominations for people seeking to become involved in the NSWAFUA Committee for 2015. As it stands we will be seeking expressions of interest for the roles of:

  • President
  • Vice President
  • Secretary
  • Treasurer

If you would like to form part of the NSWAFUA committee for 2015, could you please email the Secretary at by C.O.B on 1st May 2015.

Nominations are also open for Life Membership of the NSWAFUA. A candidate for Life Membership must have rendered outstanding service to the Association or any equivalent Umpiring State or National Association as an active member of not fewer than ten (10) years standing. If you would like to nominate an umpire for Life Membership, could you please outline in writing how your candidate meets the above criteria and email the Secretary by C.O.B on 1st May 2015.

The proposed Agenda of the AGM is available by clicking the link below:

NSWAFUA AGM 2015 Agenda

The 2014 Annual Report can be found here

Ken Ray Umpires 500th Premier Division Match

During the finals series, Sydney AFL Goal Umpire and NSWAFUA Life Member Ken Ray has officiated behind the goals in his 500th Premier Division game.

Ken’s passion for AFL began when he played junior football for Western Suburbs. He turned to coaching juniors in his adult life for many years, but in 1988 he found himself needing a new challenge. Late into the football season he decided to turn up to an umpires training night and soon found himself goal umpiring the last two matches of the season. He returned for his first full year ‘behind the sticks’ in 1989.

Ken quickly took to the mental demands of the discipline and in 1993 was appointed as Sydney AFL Goal Umpires Coach. For 17 years, Ken prepared and conducted training sessions each Thursday evening – educating, guiding and mentoring Goal Umpires as they came through the ranks.

In 1990 Ken was appointed to the AFL panel, goal umpiring 62 games in both the Under 19s and Reserves before making his AFL debut in 1999. Ken recalls the experience as if it was only yesterday. Sydney played North Melbourne at the SCG, and the Swans found themselves behind all day until “Paul Kelly delivered the goal that turned the game around – it went straight over my head and I remember saying to myself ‘how good is this’!”

After officiating in nine AFL games over a two year period – and with limited matches being available for the Sydney based AFL umpires at the time – Ken took up the role of AFL Goal Umpires Coach and Observer for AFL matches in NSW/ACT at the beginning of season 2001, a role he continued to perform until 2011.

The Sydney AFL Goal Umpiring panel is especially grateful for the work Ken has put in during his years as coach. He has accelerated the development of many goal umpires to come through the AFL Sydney ranks. For over a decade he has helped countless young (and older) men and women gain a greater understanding of goal umpiring, and Australian Football itself.

On behalf of both the NSWAFUA and the Sydney AFL community we congratulate Ken on his outstanding achievement – and hope to see him waving the flags for many more seasons to come.

Ken Ray’s Sydney AFL Achievements
Member of the NSWAFUA since 1989
Elected as a Life Member of the NSWAFUA in 2005
Elevated to NSWAFUA Hall of Fame in 2013

Total games umpired – 751
Premier Division Senior Grade games umpired – 500

Premier Division Senior Grade Grand Finals – 1994, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2003, 2005, 2013
The Michael Heinrichs Award (Best Goal Umpire) – 1990, 1996, 2003

Ken was the official AFL Goal Umpires Observer for numerous years.