There have only been a handful of South Australian Field Umpires ever to reach the 100 AFL game milestone. On Easter Monday, Sam Hay will enter the record books as he takes charge of the Hawthorn and Geelong clash at the MCG to reach this magnificent feat.
Milestones don’t typically take 218 days to accomplish but that’s exactly how long Sam has had to wait. After ending the 2014 season on 99 games, Sam has had plenty of time to prepare for the moment.
(I’m) very pleased to reach the 100 game milestone. There have been a few ups and downs over that time so it’s satisfying to get there. I’m obviously very excited to be doing a big game such as Hawthorn and Geelong on the Easter Monday.
Sam first arrived at the SANFL in 2001 and rapidly rose through the ranks to umpire his first League match in 2003. Showing consistency at the top level Sam went on to officiate in the 2005, 2007 and 2008 SANFL Grand Finals. Sam was also awarded the prestigious Golden Whistle in 2008, which recognised him as the best League Field Umpire for that season.
Following this success Sam was successful in earning a spot on the AFL list in 2009. He debuted the same year officiating the St Kilda v Fremantle clash in Round 4.
“Mondays game will be a big highlight”, reflected Sam. Other achievements that have ranked highly in Sam’s career include officiating in the Port v Crows Showdowns:
They’ve all been hard fought intense games with plenty of build up. Also (officiating in) a couple of close Friday night matches under the roof at Etihad have been truly memorable.
Monday’s Match will also be a fitting and special occasion for Sam who will be able share it with great mate and newly listed AFL Field Umpire Curtis Deboy, who sits as emergency.
(I’m) very happy to have Curtis on the bench and a part of the game. Having seen all of his progress from when he first came out to the SANFL and to now reach the AFL, it’ll be great to have him there ,said Sam.
Likewise, Curtis is thrilled.
I’m very happy to be involved with such a special milestone for Sam.
If you ask anyone that has got to know Sam over the years they will say what a great person he is to have around the umpiring group.
This milestone is an extraordinary achievement and is truly well deserved. It is a testament to his character and the dedication he has shown throughout his umpiring career.
We wish Sam every success for Monday’s Game.
Congratulations on your 100th. Go well Big Red!
Author: Hugh Merrett