188. Scott Jeffery

AFL 2014 Rd 08 - St Kilda v CarltonLEGEND

Field Umpire, TFLUA/VFLUA/AFLUA, 1993-2007

Officiated 324 AFL matches, 2001-2017
Officiated 13 AFL finals matches, 2005-16
Officiated 45 TFL matches, 1995-97
Officiated 78 VFL matches, 1998-2001
Officiated 14 TAC Cup matches, 1995-96
AFL Grand Final umpire – 2016 (Western Bulldogs vs Sydney)
TFL Grand Final umpire – 1997
VFL Grand Final umpire – 1999, 2000
AFL pre-season Grand Final umpire – 2007, 2008, 2009, 2013
Umpired AFL exhibition matches in London (2006) and Shanghai (2009)
VFL Umpire of the Year Award, 2001
AFL Umpires Association president, 2011-12
AFL Umpires Leadership Group, 2012-17
Tasmanian ‘Team of the Century’ (Umpire)

Scott Jeffery is without question the most prolific Tasmanian umpire of the AFL era. A highly-respected official, he has built a reputation for consistency over a fine
career which has spanned more than 25 years.
Born in 1977, Jeffery started his football journey as a junior player with Howrah and Clarence High School, but constant injuries to his small build hindered his ability
to play the game. Still keen to maintain an involvement in the sport he loved, Jeffery subsequently took up umpiring, and in 1991 he commenced umpiring matches in
the Southern Tasmanian Junior Football League (STJFL). It soon became apparent that the young man had a talent with the whistle, and in 1995 he was fast-tracked into
the TAC Cup Umpires program. In this role, Jeffery was charged with officiating a number of home matches for the Tassie Mariners in the TAC Cup. He also took charge
of his first TFL senior match in this season, and by mid-1996 he was regularly umpiring senior TFL matches. Late in the season, he was chosen to umpire a TAC Cup
final at the MCG, which served as a curtain-raiser to an AFL finals match. He would later point to this moment as the first time he really believed he could make a
serious career as an umpire.
Jeffery spent the 1997 season officiating solely in the TFL, and his fine performances were rewarded when – aged just 20 – he was selected to umpire the 1997 TFL
Grand Final between Clarence and Burnie. After 45 TFL matches, Jeffery decided to move to Victoria to pursue umpiring more seriously, and was appointed to the VFL
Umpires senior panel in 1998. Jeffery’s rapid rise up the ranks continued in the VFL, and in 1999 he was selected as an umpire for the 1999 VFL Grand Final. Early the
following year, Jeffery trialled for an AFL position when he umpired two Ansett Cup pre-season matches, however he failed to win a place on the AFL list and returned to
the VFL, ultimately selected to officiate his second consecutive Grand Final. Jeffery again trialled for an AFL berth in the 2001 Ansett Cup, and this time was successful,
earning the distinction as the first Tasmanian to win a place on the AFL Elite Umpires Panel.
Jeffery made his official AFL senior debut in the Round 6, 2001 match between Essendon and West Coast at Colonial Stadium. It was one of 13 senior appearances for
the season, and within 12 months he was umpiring AFL matches most weeks. In 2004, he brought up his 50th senior game, and six weeks later he would be caught in
the middle of one of the most spiteful AFL matches this century: the infamous ‘Line in the Sand’ match between Essendon and Hawthorn at the MCG. The match was an
enormous learning curve for Jeffery, teaching him the importance in reasserting and maintaining control of tense situations. Armed with this new-found experience,
Jeffery continued to grow and develop, and in 2005 he was selected to umpire his first finals match, the Elimination Final between the Kangaroos and Port Adelaide at
Telstra Dome.

Over the following eight seasons, Jeffery would be chosen to umpire finals matches in six of them, but never more than one per year. Despite this
apparent lack of recognition as one of the game’s top echelon in umpiring, Jeffery continued to ply his trade with consistency and diligence. The respect he was afforded
by his peers was confirmed when he was elected President of the AFL Umpires Association in 2011, and from 2012 he was a member of the AFL Umpires’ Leadership
Group for six years. Jeffery’s efforts were finally rewarded in 2016 when, the year after umpiring two finals in a season for the first time, he became the first Tasmanian
umpire to officiate in an AFL Grand Final – the epic match between the Western Bulldogs and Sydney. During the year he had also reached the 300-game milestone,
becoming only the 20th AFL field umpire to achieve the feat.
Throughout his career, Jeffery has remained admirably free of controversy, no mean feat in an era when the interpretation of the laws of the game is so fluid and open to
debate. His success has opened the door for other aspiring Tasmanian umpires, with many such as Nick Foot having subsequently joined Jeffery in the umpiring ranks.
However, arguably Jeffery’s greatest achievement came more than a decade ago: in 2004, after less than three years at AFL level, Jeffery was named as the official
umpire in the Tasmanian Team of the Century, ahead of such legendary figures of Tasmanian umpiring such as Jack McMurray Jnr and Les Manson. No-one could
argue that over the last decade Jeffery hasn’t more than justified his selection.