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Annie Mirabile is on her way to AFL umpiring career as more women pick up the whistle

Peter Rolfe, May 31, 2017 6:00PM Herald Sun

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Reading level: orange

MEET the next woman in line to take centre stage in the female footy revolution*.

Melbourne university student Annie Mirabile is the only female field umpire in the VFL and has been picked on a pathway to AFL as women continue to make their mark on the game.

She is one of a growing band of girls and women picking up the whistle with new AFL Victoria figures showing unprecedented* female involvement in Aussie rules.

And, having seen Eleni Glouftsis become the AFL’s first female Victorian field umpire last month, the Bentleigh physio student is determined to follow her lead.

“It’s definitely my goal for the future,’’ she said.

“Eleni has shown that girls can umpire at the highest level and I’m sure it will encourage more and more girls to take it up.’’

Annie Mirabile in her element. Picture: Alex Coppel. media_cameraAnnie Mirabile in her element. Picture: Alex Coppel.

New figures show more girls and women than ever are becoming footy umpires, continuing a wave of female participation spurred* on by the first year success of AFLW.

Statewide female umpire numbers have risen from 571 in 2012 to 743 at the end of last season. In 2014 just two female umpires were deemed good enough to take control of state-level competition. This year there are 13 field, goal and boundary umpires patrolling VFL, state league and TAC Cup matches.

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AFL Victoria umpiring head coach Cameron Nash said the “significant growth’’ in female umpiring at elite level was greater than expected.

And the trend was greater still among grassroots and community grades.

“More girls are umpiring at local level and they are being identified earlier as potential elite umpires,’’ he said.

“We’re really happy with how Annie is progressing and she has come through the system and earned her stripes.’’

Eleni Glouftsis at the start of the historic match. Picture:Wayne Ludbey media_cameraEleni Glouftsis at the start of the historic match. Picture:Wayne Ludbey

Mirabile, 23, started umpiring at high school aged 13 and spent three years in the Southern Football League before progressing to TAC Cup, VFL reserves and last month graduating to VFL senior’s.

“I love footy but I never had the real talent to play,’’ she said.

“I’ve never come across any barriers in umpiring for the 10 years I’ve been doing it and I’m sure more and more girls will take it up.’’


revolution: lots of changes

unprecedented : never before seen

spurred: encouraged



Activity 1. Comprehension

Read the article carefully then answer these questions.

Who is Annie Mirabile?

Write down all the things you know about Ms Mirabile after reading the article.

Who is Eleni Glouftsis?

What did she achieve last week?

How do we know that AFLW has made an impact on girls and women?

What do the following terms mean in the context of this article?

– centre stage

– picking up the whistle

– continuing a wave of

– grassroots and community grades

– earned her stripes


Annie Mirabile is keen to follow in the footsteps of Eleni Glouftsis.

Both of these women are role models for many young girls who want to pursue a career in football, especially as females playing and umpiring AFL is relatively new.

Do you have a role model? Someone you aspire to “follow in the footsteps” of?

If so, who is it?

Why do you aspire to be like them or achieve similar things to them?

If not, what goals would you like to achieve in your lifetime?

Time: allow 40 minutes to complete this activity

Curriculum links: English, Personal and Social Capabilities

Activity 2. What makes a good umpire?

Umpires are an essential part of competitive sport. Without them the games we love to play and watch would not run smoothly. A good umpire helps keep the game on track and makes sure that the game is played in a safe and fair manner.

Make a list of the personal qualities, skills and knowledge needed by an AFL field umpire so that the game is played safely and fairly. A table with three columns would be a good way to present this information.

When you have finished choose another sport and make a list of the personal qualities, skills and knowledge needed by umpires of this sport..
Are your lists the same for each sport?
Why/Why not?

Extension: Umpires wanted!

Write an advertisement for a job umpiring your favourite sport.
Make sure you include the personal qualities you expect as well as the skills and knowledge needed for this job.

Time: allow 40 minutes to complete this activity

Curriculum links: English, Health and Physical Education, Personal and Social Capabilities


(Vocabulary, Connectives, Openers, Punctuation)

Activity: Bounce Openers!

In the first quarter of a footy game, Annie Mirabile bounced the ball in the centre square 10 times. Before the game, her coach said that for every bounce she performed she would need to think of an Opener. (One of her writing goals is to work on her openers) The only problem is that she’s exhausted from the game and needs your help.

Can you think of ten Openers?

Extension: Use them in sentences about the game!

Time: allow approximately 15 minutes

Curriculum links: English, Big Write, VCOP

Activity provided by Andrell Education







Extra Reading in sport