Umpires, while very necessary to the game, are some of the forgotten in football. Week after week these unlucky people don their white clobber striding out on the oval always able to only please half the spectators at any given time. But above all it is their love for the game and the challenge to adjudicate correctly which keeps them going. Certainly, it was not monetary reward as umpires were paid $30 per game in 1984 and $40 in the early 90's.

(James Dann and Ron Buckey 1986: after the Grand Final)

Like most country towns, it has always been difficult recruiting umpires and keeping them in Broome. 'Red' wrote about this in 1980.

"Football is the traditional blood sport that seems to appease players violent urges that would surface elsewhere and create havoc in the town. (Apparently punches thrown on the field don't count if you can laugh about them over a beer afterwards; too bad if you don't have any teeth left to laugh with again. Again, umpiring is at a critical stage with all last years umpires grabbing a brain and opting out. Well, who wants to be the most hated man in town; for zero bucks. The solution: Pay good money and you'll get good umpires."

Two years further on 'Red' offered some timely advice on how to help the umpires.:

'And the Bleat goes on'

"Whilst the standard of umpiring is gradually improving, the umpires are still doing it the hard way. It's enough to be maligned and abused by spectators without coping it from the players. Abusive language directed to the umpires is an offence but many of the umpires seem to accept it. Some may handle it but it is noticeable in recent matches that there has been last quarter crack ups by the umpires, often following what amounts to harassment by the players. We have the send off rule and it must be enforced. Give the umpire a mouthful and you should find yourself on the side. But they cry: You have to give a warning first. So, player A drops player B with a good left hook, breaking his jaw in the process. Enter the umpire. "This is your first warning, don't do it again." Codswallop.

But the lack of umpires continued on, so much so that the 1986 season was in jeopardy.

"Whilst on the field they have the protection (flimsy and inadequate as it may be) of the tribunal. Off the field and indeed whilst they are officiating they receive physical and verbal assaults from spectators. Adequate compensation would be in the range of $100 a game, which would make it pay to be the most hated man in Broome and make up for the fact that it's risky to venture into pubs on Sunday nights."

Happily by 1992, the Panel had become quite strong with most umpires achieving Level 1 accreditation standard and were helped with sponsorship from the R & I Bank for their uniforms.

Umpires advisers over the last 20 years include: John Pedley (1970-75), Fr Mac (1976-80), Kevin Cox (1981-82), Kel Ter Haar (1983-86), Evan Hyde (1987-88), Brian Kane (1989-92), David Wearne (1993) Dave Rowe 1994-95, Russell Younger 1996.

The men in white 1993:

While many people believe that umpires are a necessary evil, they are a very important part of our game. The West Kimberley Football Association Umpires panel recognises this fact and have through dedication over a number of years produced a steady stream of good umpires for this association.

The WKFA Umpires Panel has had its most successful season in 1993. Among the achievements this year are:

1. New uniforms with CRA and Ansett Sponsorship
2. Appointment of Umpires Coordinator (Dave Wearne) and a three member Umpires Board (Dave Wearne, Dave Rowe and Brian Kane)
3. Recruiting of umpires through advertising.
4. Introduction to Level Two Accreditation.
5. Training and meetings held every Wednesday.
6. Invitations to all clubs to use umpires at training and Team visits.
7. Two Field and Two Boundary umpires appointed to every Senior game. Colts also covered.
8. Visits by Dave Johnson and Derrick Ernst (WAFL).



Dave Johnson 33 6 225 1980
Phil Matsumoto 0 0 134 1977
Brian Kane 7 1 118 1982
John Litherland 17 2 109 1984
Kevin Cox 0 0 78 1978
Dave Rowe 12 3 71 1991
Fr McMahon 0 0 63 1976
Kel Ter Haar 6 0 60 1983
Owen Torres 0 0 51 1979
John Lane 4 1 50 1992
Evan Hyde 0 0 50 1987
Ron Corpus 3 1 48 1988
Ron Wade 0 0 46 1986
James Dann 1 1 44 1986
Mel Mason 1 0 41 1987
Grant Adams 8 3 34 1991
Alan Thornton 3 1 29 1989
Butch Chesson 0 0 20 1990
David Wearne 1 0 16 1993
Jeff Davis 0 0 5 1992

Grant Adams umpired 15 games in 1997 including 2 semis and in 1998 he umpired 30 games including 3 finals.

In all Grant umpired 6 Grand Finals and he umpired 112 games

James Dann umpires his first Grand Final in 1986.  By the end of the 2004 he had umpired 5 Grand Finals and umpired 150 games.