Dedication pays off for James Matthews

NETBALL AUSTRALIA: 20 & Under Netball Development Tournament - AIS Basketball & Netball Centre, ACT Australia. Photo: Narelle Spangher, Netball Australia

Congratulations to netball’s latest AA umpire recipient, James Matthews, receiving his badge following the recent 20/U International Tournament held in Canberra.

An Australian Netball League umpire, and junior high performance umpire, Matthews began his netball journey as a player at 14-years of age. Progressing through the ranks to eventually represent Australia in men’s netball, Matthews received some great opportunities to immerse himself in the world of high performance netball, training at the AIS and playing against the Diamonds in practice matches.

Matthews began umpiring at 21 in a more social setting, before progressing through the system, initially as a Netball Victoria umpire at the Underage Championships, before moving into the Developing Umpire Program and most recently, spending two years in the Emerging Talent Umpire Program.

Matthews got his first taste for the top as a reserve umpire in 2016’s ANZ Championship, and looks forward to the opportunity to umpire the new national netball league games.

For Matthews’ umpiring was an opportunity to “contribute back to the sport.”

“I was looking to continue to be involved in netball in some capacity, but I didn’t have the patience to coach,” said Matthews.

“Umpiring is challenging but incredibly rewarding. Receiving my badge is a testament to the pathway opportunities Netball Australia give their umpires.

“It is the immersion with high performance coaches and players and working with umpires who have achieved so much,” said Matthews.

The AA badge reflects excellence in umpiring, where professionalism, accuracy of decisions, reaction time between infringements and decisions, levels of communication and umpiring techniques are all given the closest possible scrutiny.

Congratulations to James, and we look forward to seeing you on the court in the new national netball league.

There are many opportunities to become involved as an umpire in Netball, with clear pathways and support structures available for those aspiring to officiate at the highest level.

To start your umpiring journey today, contact your state or territory member organisation. Or check out the umpiring resources and courses available on our website.

Photo: Narelle Spangher,