Rowan Sawers

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Rowan Sawers (born 19 October 1954) is a former Australian rules football umpire and current Australian Football League Umpires' Coach. Sawers umpired 410 VFL/AFL senior games, including four grand finals, in his career.

Sawers was recruited from the Southern Umpires' Association, which is based in Seaford, Victoria. He began umpiring in the Victorian Football Association in 1975,[1] and began his Victorian Football League career in 1977. His first VFL match was in May 1977 at Moorabbin Oval “My first bounce in League football didn’t bounce – the ball got stuck in the mud. Paul Callery, the St Kilda rover, plucked the Sherrin out of the bog and played on.”[1]

In 1997, Sawers became the VFL/AFL games record holder for a field umpire. He finished his career with 410 premiership matches, which was the record until passed by Hayden Kennedy in September 2007.

Career summary:

  • VFL/AFL Umpiring career: 1977-1997; Games: 410, Finals: 31
  • VFL/AFL Grand Finals: 4 (1982, 1984, 1987, 1990)

Sawers also umpired eight State of Origin games, two International rules football tours to Ireland, and at least one VFA grand final.[1]

He is currently a member of the AFL's Laws of the Game Committee and head coach of umpiring in the Essendon District Football League Umpires Association.[2] He was the head umpire coach for AFL umpires for many years.

In 2002 he was named in the AFL Umpires Association Umpires' Team of the Century, and in 2004 the Australian Football League inducted into Sawers to the Australian Football Hall of Fame joining a select group of 11 umpires so honoured to date.