This teen AFL player is taking on umpiring challenge
With her sights firmly set on a professional sporting career, a talented teenage AFL athlete is looking to expand her skills with umpiring the game she loves.
Growing up playing Australian rules, Lismore Swans player Eliza O'Toole, 17, has now heeded the call from AFL North Coast who are looking for more umpires.
Ms O'Toole said umpiring will add another dimension to her footy skills set.
"I started six or seven years ago playing with the boys and am now a member of the Swans Women's team," she said.
"I've umpired AFL games for school and my main goal is to play professional women's football with the Brisbane Lions."
The Year 12 Lismore High School student who plays in the centre or on the back line said she's excited about taking on a new challenge in the game she lives, breathes and dreams.
"Coming from a background playing with boys, there was no women's AFL and played my first grad finals with the boys in U15," she said.
"This means I'm not going to intimated."
AFL North Coast Community Football Manager, Paul Taylor said the 2021 AFL North Coast season will see more clubs and teams playing more matches each weekend, which means that more umpires are needed for all age groups and grades.
"The inclusion of the Lismore Swans and Casino Lions into the senior competition means that umpires are also needed in this part of the region," he said.
"There's a particular need for umpires over the age of 18 to officiate in matches in the Under 15 and Youth Girls age groups as well as all grades in the Senior Competition."
Taylor said umpiring is a tax free, paid role that provides individuals with the scope to earn several hundred dollars per weekend depending on the number of matches officiated.
"If you love footy, you'll love being an umpire," he said.
"You get the best view of the action, you also get paid for the privilege, keep fit, be part of a team, and learn leadership skills for both on and off the field."
To umpire in the AFL North Coast Competition you must be a minimum of 12 years of age.