COLAC district football umpire Travis Weber will join Australia’s top young whistle-blowers at a national carnival later this month.
AFL officials have invited Weber to run the boundary at this year’s NAB Under-18 Championships.
It will be his second year at the junior carnival, having umpired one match last season, and his biggest event since the VCFL Australian Country Football Carnival in Canberra last year.
Weber still harbours a desire to one day umpire in the VFL or AFL, and officiating the championships has him on the right track.
“If you’re looking at moving to higher levels, it’s a good thing to have behind you,” Weber said.
“Apart from the TAC Cup, it’s the highest-level game you can do outside the VFL,” he said.
Weber caught the eye of the championships’ umpire officials through his involvement with the V-Line Umpire Academy, fitness and efforts at previous carnivals.
He said the carnival had been a reality check for him last year, showing the high standard of junior football in Australia.
In the meantime, Weber will continue officiating Hampden League matches as well as earning a diploma of building surveying.
The TAFE course has cut into his umpiring commitments, but Weber hopes his eventual job will take him closer to Geelong or Melbourne where he can have a decent crack at VFL officiating.
“In the VFL, training starts in November, they’re running five times a week and by the end of pre-season they’re running 60 kilometres a week,” he said.
“From Colac it’s two hours down and back three times a week so you need a part-time job to be able to do it.”
Weber will also umpire his first TAC Cup match of the season on Sunday, between Geelong Falcons and Bendigo Pioneers at Skilled Stadium.