Matt’s kicking goals for 300 games behind the big sticks

Decorated SANFL Goal Umpire Matt Cummins will officiate in his 300th game on Saturday. Picture - Manfred Kern


SANFL Goal Umpire Matt Cummins will celebrate his 300th game milestone in this Saturday’s Hostplus SANFL League clash between Glenelg and North at Stratarama Stadium.

Coincidently, Cummins will reach his monumental achievement during this weekend’s Community Umpiring Round, which recognises the contribution umpires make to the game of football whilst encouraging participation at community level.

Now sitting sixth on the all-time Goal Umpiring record, Cummins will be the sixth umpire to reach the 300-game mark – just behind Ray Mules (314).

“When I first took up umpiring, I probably never thought I would reach 300 SANFL League games,” Cummins said.

“To make that milestone is a pretty proud moment for me and something I’ll look back on with a bit of pride, particularly once my career finishes.”

Goal Umpiring runs through Cummins’ family, igniting his passion as a nine-year-old.

“Growing up, my dad was a Goal Umpire in the South Australian Amateur Footy League, and I used to go out and watch him and watch the footy,” Cummins said.

Cummins started umpiring when he was 24 for the SA Amateur Football League in 2004 before joining SANFL in 2006, making his league debut in Round 6 (North v West) at Prospect that same year.

Since then, the decorative Goal Umpire’s career has blossomed, winning the Goal Umpires Award five times, the SANFL Umpiring Association’s Most Dedicated Goal Umpire in 2017 and being inducted as a SANFL Umpire Life Member in 2018.

In 2009, he made his AFL debut, umpiring three games, saying it was a highlight of his career but will not surpass that of the SANFL – especially his eight Grand Final appearances.

“I look back on the SANFL League Grand Finals that I’ve been able to officiate in and I look back with pride on those – they’re a really big highlight of my umpiring career,” he said.

“The 2018 Grand Final was my favourite – it was high scoring, a nice day, and a relatively big crowd.”

SANFL Goal Umpire Matt Cummins doesn’t plan on retiring any time soon. Picture – Manfred Kern

With the best seat in the house, Cummins has witnessed some of the best goals in the League.

“When there is a spectacular goal kicked, it certainly raises the adrenaline – it’s win or lose sort of stuff,” Cummins said.

“If you’ve actually done it there’s a real excitement about it”.

Cummins was the President of the SANFL Umpires Association from 2018 through to January this year.

“If there’s no umpires, there wouldn’t be a game of footy – I say that all the time,” he said.

“It’s exceptionally important for there to be a pathway and I think the SANFL is a great competition for aspiring umpires to get involved in.

“I think it’s definitely the best league outside of the AFL.”

The sky is the limit for Cummins, who doesn’t plan on hanging up his flags anytime soon.

“I’m still really enjoying it and there’s a lot of up-and-coming umpires that I’m enjoying helping come through the ranks.”

''It's exceptionally important for there to be a pathway and I think the SANFL is a great competition for aspiring umpires to get involved in.''

SANFL Goal Umpire Matt Cummins ahead of his 300th game

Matt Cummins' Achievements

100th League game: Round 6, 2011, North v Port @ Thebarton

200th League game: Round 3, 2017, Sturt v Eagles (ANZAC Day) @ Wigan Oval

League Grand Finals: 2007-08, 2011-13, 2016, 2018 and 2021

Goal Umpires Award: 2007-08, 2012, 2016 and 2021

SANFL Umpires Life Member: Inducted in 2018

SANFLUA Most Dedicated Goal Umpire: 2017

SANFLUA President: 2018-Jan 2023

6th all-time Goal Umpiring and 6th to reach 300 games

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