Col waves his way to 800 games

After starting his Umpiring career in the Essendon Districts of Melbourne back in 1983, AFL Canberra Goal Umpire, Colin Larter, will bring up his 800th game at The Nest this weekend.

Across his 799-game career as an umpire and coach, Colin has represented several different prestigious competitions including AFL Canberra, NEAFL, VFL, the AFL reserves competition in the 90s and, the big cheese, the AFL.

Colin has been a part of the AFL Canberra umpiring community since 2000. Since joining the Canberra team, Colin has been involved in 173 First grade games. During this time, Colin has also coached aspiring goal umpires achieve their goals of umpiring at the AFL level.

When asked about the biggest game during his time as an AFL/VFL umpire Colin said: “I did a game between Adelaide and Essendon at the MCG in 1995, I believe there was a crowd of about 75,000 people. That is probably the biggest game in terms of attendance that I was a part of.”

Colin’s time as an AFL umpire ending in 1999 and he brought his passion for umpiring with him to Canberra in 2000. In his first four seasons in the ACT, Colin umpired four consecutive AFL Canberra seniors grand finals.

It was during this time that Colin was approached by then Umpiring Association Manager Robert Stacey to take up coaching goal umpires across the ACT and NSW. When asked on whether he would have coached if someone other than Robert Stacey, Colin said: “The short answer is no. I probably wouldn’t have gone into coaching if not for his input support and for that I am really thankful.”

Throughout his time as a coach, Colin observed and instructed the AFL contingent of Goal umpires in NSW, while also coaching goal umpires in the NEAFL for five years.

Colin’s proudest achievement as coach was building a core of dedicated ACT umpires: “The biggest thing I am proud of as a coach, is that we were able to build a group of umpires here in Canberra that were able to progress to the AFL Level. At one stage we had seven AFL listed umpires here in Canberra.”

With his increased responsibilities in coaching and observing umpires across the 2010’s Colin made an effort to consistently umpire a minimum of 10 matches across the any form of Senior competition in Canberra each year to support local competitions.

COVID-19 shortened last year’s competition, so Colin returned to senior competition full time as an umpire. He was able to bring up his 400th in AFL Canberra Senior competitions in May this year and has no plans on stopping just yet.

“I’ll be 60 in April next year, so hopefully I’ll be able to away with a few more seasons yet. Two hundred first grade matches is the milestone I would like to tick off here in Canberra. We have a 200 club, anyone who is involved in 200 games whether that be player or official is invited to that club.”

Colin has used the same set of flags for more than 20 years. There’s even a story behind the flags! “They were made by my mother-in-law, I’ve used the same set of sticks which are collapsible for all of my career, I’ve got about 15 sets of sticks, and 3 sets of flags which I have used all my careers and I will continue to use them.”

Colin Larter will bring umpire his 800th game milestone game this weekend at Adero Law Nest this weekend, as The Belconnen Magpies take on the Eastlake Demons.

Thanks for all your time, effort and energy umpiring, Colin.