Time for Ryan to take control

BEN  Ryan’s time has come to take control.

The former Rockhampton umpire makes his first appearance in control of an AFL fixture in today’s match between the Gold Coast Suns and Western Bulldogs.

Ryan will be keeping a close eye on fellow Rockhampton product Zac Smith and his Gold Coast Suns teammates as they prepare to bounce back from their round two loss at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne today.

Ryan, who will wear the No. 27 shirt, joins fellow Queensland umpire Chris Kamolins, Matt Stevic and the experienced Hayden Kennedy in control of today’s match.

Kamolins and Ryan are the only two Queensland umpires on the senior list. Legendary former Rockhampton umpire John Round said there would be no one better to work with than Kennedy, who is officiating his 482nd AFL fixture after making his debut in 1988.

“He’s in very good company. From my point of view Hayden Kennedy is the preferred running partner for him,” he said.

“He’s a very cool customer who (Ryan) will learn a lot from.”

Round, who retired from umpiring at the end of the 2010 AFL Capricornia season after 49 seasons and over 30 years as umpires manager and coach in the area, said Ryan wouldn’t be out of place at the top level.

“He’s had experience at that level before. The NAB Cup is pretty serious and that’s the pathway for umpires to come through,” he said.

Round said it was a tribute to the work AFL is doing in the region that two Central Queensland products are on show today.

“It’s absolutely fantastic. It’s great for CQ AFL to have to guys on show in the one match,” Round said.



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