Gabby takes love of umpiring to the classroom

Gabby Simmonds says her training as an AFL umpire is helping her future career as a teacher.

7 April 2017

Effective communication and decision-making skills acquired during training as an AFL umpire are giving Notre Dame student, Gabby Simmonds a ‘free kick’ in her future career as a teacher.

Gabby has been perfecting her craft as a field umpire in the junior leagues as well as at Colts level in the WAFL, while balancing her university studies in Health & Physical Education at Notre Dame’s Fremantle Campus.

Due to her outstanding on-field officiating and knowledge of the game, Gabby received a call-up to umpire in the first AFL Women’s League (AFLW) match held in Western Australia between the Fremantle Dockers and the Brisbane Lions, and featured prominently throughout the rest of the AFLW season.

“Umpiring has really helped my professional development. Delivering clear and concise instructions is important in the competitive environment of a football game and is a skill that is easily translated for the teaching and learning process in the classroom,” Gabby said.

Gabby completed one of her practicum placements at St Joseph’s Primary School in Kununurra and got involved with the community by umpiring in the local football competition. One of her lecturers from the School of Health Sciences, Ben Piggott, was in Kununurra for a football game and happened to watch Gabby in action on the field.

“I have no doubt that her field umpiring will help with her career as a teacher. Health and physical education teaching and umpiring complement each other well,” Mr Piggott said.

“I witnessed first-hand the excellent rapport that Gabby had with many of the students she taught during her practical training as they had seen her umpire in football. This helped to build healthy and respectful relationships between herself and the students in her class.”

Inspired by her love of Australian Rules Football, Gabby went to her first umpiring training session at the age of 12 and began officiating in the Under 8s competition shortly after. Progressing through the ranks to the junior leagues and the WAFL, Gabby hopes to take her career to the AFL to fulfil a lifelong dream.

“The AFLW is significant for women’s sport in Australia and to be part of the competition in some way is awesome. I feel privileged to see many women, both playing and umpiring, live out their dreams of competing and officiating at the highest level,” Gabby said.


Leigh Dawson: Tel (08) 9433 0569; Mob 0405 441 093;