Ty Duncan made a shock, yet deserved AFL debut in Round 2. Just two weeks later, Ty was selected to umpire his first AFLW Grand Final in Adelaide. The prestigious appointments come off the back of a consistently high-quality body of work throughout the AFLW season and last 12-24 months.
Friday, March 25, was the start of a whirlwind 24 hours for Ty, receiving four miss calls from AFL boundary umpire coach Darren Wilson.
“I got hold of Darren and he said there is an opportunity because Nick (Swanson) was unable to umpire. They thought I was capable of it.
“It was a real exciting Friday, maybe better to have a day, rather than a week or a month to think about it (AFL debut).” Ty said.
Ty doesn’t have an AFL contract in season 2022, but his consistent performances gave the coaches, confidence Ty would be up to AFL standard. Ty was appointed to the AFLW final, between Brisbane and Collingwood at the Gabba; his late elevation to the AFL game had a slingshot effect for some fortunate Queensland umpires.
Delson Jones umpired his first AFLW final at the Gabba, while community umpire Luke Spanner umpired a VFL game. It shows with depth in quality, there are always opportunities for Queensland umpires.
Gold Coast Suns were playing Melbourne the following day. To umpire the reigning premiers in his first game, and with some of his umpiring mentors, including good friend Peter Bock was extra special.
“Walking around and you see Max Gawn, the premiers, was pretty cool.
“You see them pretty close when you are at the ground, but to think you are actually doing the game they are playing in was pretty exciting.” Ty said.
Ty grew up on the Sunshine Coast beginning his umpiring journey in 2014, field umpiring an Under 10s match at Maroochydore. Like many of us, Ty began umpiring to stay involved in the game.
“I wasn’t very good at playing, I was about to go into Colts, I was pretty small. I had some mates umpiring, Jonathan Angus was, so I joined him.” Ty recalled.
Ty began boundary umpiring in 2015. It wasn’t long before Ty was identified to join high performance training in Brisbane. Multiple trips down the Bruce Highway each week were the norm.
From reduced pies in the deli section and chocolate milk at Woolies on the drive home in his teenage years to a more nutritious burrito in recent times, Ty attributed an increase in professionalism to his rise to the top echelons of umpiring.
AFL boundary umpire Peter Bock has been integral to Ty’s umpiring journey. Peter took Ty under his wing and has been a source of motivation and constant feedback.
“I started training with Peter who taught me a lot about running. We are always discussing umpiring.
“He helps a lot with how it is perceived on TV, most games are televised, you want to look sharp on TV.” Ty said.
Ty would be at Peter’s front door every morning at 6am to run in the preseason.
“I helped Ty a lot, and spent a lot of time with him, because he wanted to get better. Bit by bit he has improved his 5km time, from 19 minutes to mid 15 minutes in four years.” Peter Bock recalled.
It is Ty’s growth off the field, which gives Peter immense pride.
“Ty is now a mature young man with great character, he lifts those around him.
“The future of Queensland umpiring at the elite level is in a good place with Ty Duncan involved, as he will continue to strive to get the best out of himself and those around him.” Peter said.
Apart from the friendships formed, one of the things Ty loves about being involved in umpiring is the competitive nature it brings out in him.
“I am still involved in the game, each level when you progress, there is extra incentive to get to the next level.
“I want to be the best, to beat the next person, which translates to game day.” Ty said.
It is evident why Ty is continually improving his umpiring. Ty has lofty goals for the coming 12 months. These include setting him up to umpire VFL finals and even a shot at an AFL contract for season 2023, after performing admirably in his unexpected debut AFL game. Ty is keeping it simple to improve his game identifying key areas to excel.
“Consistency with throws, keeping them the same, they are mostly big, just not always perfect, sometimes a little long. Also getting stronger as a runner is always a goal.” Ty explained.
We wish Ty all the best in his umpiring journey and can’t wait for AFL game number two in the future.
-Article by Justin Lillecrapp-
See also: AFLUA Article