Glouftsis impresses in AFL debut

AFL umpiring director Wayne Campbell admits his daughter’s race earlier on Sunday did not make him as nervous as the start of the Carlton-Essendon match.

Eleni Glouftsis, the league’s first female field umpire, had asked if she could take the first bounce.

While the bounce did not go perfectly straight, it was good enough not to need a recall and Glouftsis was on her way.

“My daughter was in a race this morning at Nippers and I was a little bit nervous for that,” Campbell said.

“I was very nervous for Eleni.

“But she’s a really competent bounce.

“We get a bit nervous when all of them are bouncing, really – but obviously the first female to do a game at this level, first bounce, (a crowd) of 18,000.

“There’s probably a little bit more riding on it.”

In the last week Glouftsis has been that sporting rarity – a positive story about umpiring.

She has spoken impressively and earned wide praise for her trailblazing achievement.

The 23-year-old was applauded before and after the pre-season game at Ikon Park and had a solid match.

Asked to rate herself, Glouftsis said her game was a six or seven out of 10.

Campbell simply said she was “wonderful”.

“I really wanted to take the first bounce and get it out of the way,” Glouftsis said.

“I wasn’t 100 per cent happy with it, but I think the rest of the day I bounced well.

“There are a lot of things to work on.

“It was just really good to see that intensity and see the pace of the game, know what I have to strive for.”

Glouftsis is one of 12 rookies in the AFL umpiring system.

This season she will be on the bench at AFL matches, as well as continuing to umpire VFL games.

The next step would be graduating to the AFL senior list.

Whatever the future, Campbell likes her attitude.

“The fact she took the first bounce shows enormous courage,” he said.

“It shows she’s not going to shy away from any hard calls.

“She looked comfortable, paid the frees that needed to be paid … it was a good result.”

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