By Nick Creely
The Outer East Football Netball League has announced the appointment of AFL umpire, John Howorth, to the role of Head of Umpiring for 2022.
Howorth, who has umpired 42 AFL games, will be employed in a part-time capacity alongside operations coordinator Sebastian Mueller-Schmuki to help develop and grow umpiring within the region, focusing specifically on coaching and fast tracking the development of all umpires, including fitness and match day techniques.
Howorth said the opportunity to work with the Outer East was exciting.
“I see this as a great opportunity to work with a highly motivated and dedicated group with outstanding group culture and aspire towards having a positive impact on the Yarra Ranges Umpires Association and the Outer East competitions over a number of years,” he said.
“My passion for umpiring the game also extends to the coaching side of things, with a specific focus towards motivating, mentoring and developing young umpires, and I cannot wait to get started.”
Howorth has extensive experience umpiring at a community sport level, with previous experience with the Bendigo Umpires Association and Northern Territory Football League holding him in good stead. He is also one of eight people in the world currently undertaking a degree in Masters in Sports Officiating.After beginning his umpiring career in Bendigo in 2006, where he remained until 2013, Howorth moved to the VFL and umpired the TAC Cup (now NAB League) grand final in 2016, as well as both the VFL and AFLW grand finals in 2018. He then made his AFL debut in a game between St Kilda and Adelaide in round 6 of the 2019 season.
Outer East region general manager Aaron Bailey said the league was thrilled to welcome Howorth, and believes with his extensive experience he will provide a great benefit for football in the region.
“A key focus for us coming out of Covid has been to invest and focus on umpiring, to both grow the number of participants who see umpiring as a pathway in our game, but to continue to improve and develop the match day standards and performance of our group,” he said.
“This is a significant appointment for our league, that will benefit all competitions.”
Peter Dixon, president of the Yarra Ranges Umpires Association, believes this is the most significant appointment for umpires in the region for many years.
“John is an exceptional individual with great passion and experience, and I am personally looking forward to working with him and his coaching panel to help them deliver positive outcomes to umpiring in our region,” Dixon said.
“Our team across all age groups and all disciplines will benefit greatly with John at the helm.”