Ryan to call shots on big stage

FORMER Rockhampton umpire Ben Ryan will soon be calling the shots on the big stage. Ryan was last week appointed to the AFL umpires panel and is expected to get his first appointment within a month, having sat on the bench as the emergency umpire for last weekend's Lions-Dockers game at the Gabba.

As is the case with players, Ryan is living proof that the pathway to senior AFL ranks is there for anyone, anywhere in the vast state of Queensland.

“I started umpiring up in Rockhampton, which is non-AFL heartland, and moved down here in 2000 to start umpiring senior footy,” Ryan said.

“I've been working hard since all that began and fortunately got a spot on the AFL list.”

Ryan has been trialling for a spot on the senior list for the last three years, and has umpired the QAFL grand final in each of those.

He has also controlled State football and NAB Cup matches, and is keeping sharp umpiring in the new North East Football League northern conference in Brisbane.

Ryan believes he will be more excited rather than nervous when he finally gets his first premiership match.

“I feel like I'm ready. Having trialled with the AFL for the last three years and done NAB Cup games every year, I've been less and less nervous every year going into those games,” he said.

“Part of me feels when I do get my first game I will be less nervous because in the NAB Cup, getting on the list was dependent on those games.

“Hopefully I'll umpire really well.”

Former Rockhampton AFL referees manager and coach John Round said there was plenty of talented referees coming through the ranks in Central Queensland.

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