Courtney has always been heavily involved in footy - it runs in the family. She trains with the QAFL/NEAFL group at Coorparoo and is the fastest girl on the track.
What made you first want to become an umpire?
What first got me interested in becoming an umpire was my father, Randall Gibson. He was always umpiring and started a camp at school where some of the AFLQ representatives came out and showed us a bit of what was involved. I joined with a couple of school friends and it was always fun as well as making some extra pocket money on the side.
What do you do outside of umpiring?
I am full time student at the Endeavour College of Natural Health studying to become a Naturopath. It’s practical and I love helping people with a focus on being natural. I also work at a local Italian restaurant a few nights a week.
Has football always been a part of your life before umpiring?
Football has always been a part of my life purely from having a Victorian family and Randall umpiring professionally before I was born then continuing throughout my childhood.
What has been your most memorable moment as an umpire?
Grand finals and exhibition matches have been my most memorable moments so far. However I got the chance to umpire a QAFL Seniors match last season, which was a goal since the beginning. I also did the QFA North Seniors Grand Final last year on the boundary and the Australia vs the World exhibition match during last season’s U16s competition.
Are there any particular coaches or umpires who have had an impact on you in your time as an Umpire?
Everyone! The training and match day group is so helpful and resourceful that I’m sure everyone has helped me in some way during my time as an umpire. People such as James Waldorff, Lenny Davis, Grant Kent, Jason Baldwin, Brett Bradford, Gareth Hughes, Nick Lipparota, Nick Wade, Brett Kronk, Trevor Donoghue, the academy and all of the girls and many others have made a major impact on my journey so far. I should probably mention Randall as well as he has been my main motivation and inspiration for umpiring throughout the years.
What do you do to keep you fit and prepared for the demands of umpiring?
Two big things that I personally focus on are physical and mental preparation. As I need to train from Monday to Friday including the QAFL training at Coorparoo, it is important that I continually stretch and make use of the resources provided at training such as the physiotherapist, chiropractor and nutritionist just to name a few.
You started off as a boundary umpire and this year you’ve decided to tackle field umpiring. What made you decide on the change?
For the last couple of seasons I’ve felt that I was starting to notice the rules more and learning about the field umpiring role, so for me I knew that I would always try field umpiring however the only hold back was the success and my improvement rate on the boundary. So after last season I was a bit hesitant however this season I just decided to follow my heart with the decision of changing to the field as I feel it’s a new chapter with new challenges ahead.
How have you found the change to field umpiring? Are there different things you have to focus on in your training and preparation now, and has it been difficult?
The field umpiring group and coaching staff at training have been very welcoming and helpful with any questions that I’ve had and any match situations that I need to learn. I feel it has been a smooth transition having so many resources around me and that I am learning the game processes more and more each week. In terms of training nothing has changed for me, I am still training with the same load and as mentioned above there is more of a focus for me in mental preparation for field umpiring.
What advice do you have for anyone thinking of becoming an umpire?
My advice would be for a person wanting to start umpiring, is to just have a go and stick with it, because you have nothing to lose and so much to gain. The training group could not be better for welcoming new people especially females and everyone is willing to help you – you just need to ask be willing to take on feedback for improvement.
Umpires Of the AFLQUA
The AFLQUA represents umpires all over Queensland who officiate in everything from the local community league on a Saturday afternoon, to the AFL.