Peel Football and Netball League umpire Zak Schurko had his stellar season officiating the game recognised when he was named the field umpire of the year at the Peel Football Umpires Association awards night on Saturday night.
Schurko’s year was brought into the spotlight after being ranked the best performing official by the association, and said it was an honour to have his name called for the award.
“It’s definitely special to get the award – I don’t think it’s really sunk in,” he said.
“The year felt like it went so quickly. To take out the award was definitely a bit of a surprise.”
Notching the PFUA’s highest individual accolade follows an outstanding 2017 for Schurko, which saw him umpiring in the PFNL league grand final, the Landmark Country Football Championships A-grade grand final and the state country game played between WA and South Australia.
“The state country game was so much different to anything I’d ever done in the past,” he said.
“The skills were better, the game was quicker and it was probably a bigger challenge than anything I’ve ever umpired before but I was just stoked to get the opportunity.
“Those were definitely the three highlights but it was just a good year all round.”
Schurko returned to the Peel Football and Netball League this season after spending a year officiating the game in the South West, saying he felt more at home back in the Peel region.
“I really enjoyed my time in the South West – their umpiring crew is really good to work with and it’s a good league,” he said.
“But being back in Peel made me feel back at home, which I think definitely played a part in me maturing as an umpire.
“I did all of my juniors here so I’m really happy to be back.”
Schurko wasn’t the only umpire honoured for their contributions to the PFUA on the night, with the association handing out life membership to goal umpire Graeme Tingey, who has scored more than 150 league games in the PFNL.
PFUA president Jerry Gibb heaped praise on Tingey for his contribution to football in the region.
“He’s always on deck to give a hand and is extremely deserving of his life membership,” Gibb said.
“Graeme’s done a lot for our organisation.”
The association also handed out a number of boundary and goal umpire awards.
The PFUA now enters their off-season break before hitting the training track for pre-season in February.
To learn more about the Peel Football Umpires Association or to join the ranks, call Jerry Gibb on 0402 410 900.