100 games in charge for two Australian umpires

Two of Australia’s current crop of netball umpires have recently surpassed their 100th domestic game with the whistle, a remarkable achievement that shines light on their incredible careers to date.

Helen George from New South Wales and Joshua Bowring from Tasmania are both highly experienced at officiating at the top level of netball, having both spent multiple years umpiring at both domestic and international level.

Both were picked to officiate in this year’s Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, before returning to domestic officiating at the start of the Suncorp Super Netball campaign a few months ago.

We’ve previously chatted with the pairing to get a flavour of their personalities and lives on and off the court.


Helen George



What do you do outside of umpiring?

I am mother of three, Max who is 8 and Zoe who is 3, and Mackenzie is 17 weeks, I also own and run a Motel with my husband Rob on the south coast of New South Wales.

How and when did you get involved in netball?

After doing ballet for 7 years I decided it was time for a change, so I started playing netball when I was 11.

How did you get involved with umpiring?

I wanted to coach however my mum wouldn’t let me until I had learnt the rules. I loved it from the start. Thanks Mum.

What is your favourite Netball memory/highlight?

Umpiring my first ANZ Championship game, Suncorp Super Netball games and my first international appointment. Along with every badge I have achieved, all great memories.

What is the best part of umpiring?

Being able to let the players display their skills within the rules of the game. They can do some amazing things out there and I’m regularly in awe of what they can do. I love being a part of that in some small way. Meeting so many terrific people and some lifelong friends every step of the way.


Josh Bowring



What do you do outside of umpiring?

I’m a personal trainer

How did you get involved with netball?

Growing up, my family were very involved in AFL and netball. My mum would often take me to the many netball competitions she was playing in – this included around three weeknights and Saturdays. After so many years on the sideline watching and appreciating the sport, I had a relatively good understanding of the dynamics and rules of the game – and one cold night, was able to put this knowledge to the test.

As a result of an umpire not showing up to one of mum’s games, I put my hand up to take the whistle and had so much fun with it, that I never looked back. I started umpiring at 15 years old and umpired my way through many different competitions – eventually leading to progression of accreditation levels, and high/more competitive standards of game.

I am grateful and lucky for the great mentors and coaches I’ve had along the way, that have contributed to my success and enjoyment of being an umpire.

How did you get involved with umpiring?

It’s all due to my Mum who pretty much took me to all her netball games (and there were many!) as a kid. Watching it for so long, when an umpire didn’t show to one of her games, I gave it a go … and well it all took of from there.

What is your favourite Netball memory/highlight?

Lots of great memories and highlights, some of which include: Umpiring my first state league game in 2004, being awarded my AA Badge in 2009, umpiring at the World Youth Championship in the Cook Islands in 2009, being involved in the ANZ Championships, umpiring at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014, umpiring at the World Netball Championship in Sydney and 2015 and making many new friends along the exciting journey.

What is the best part of umpiring?

Being able to contribute to such a skilful, exciting and fast paced sport. Also, being out there to work with the incredible athletes our sport has, in the aim that my techniques and judgements as an umpire will provide them with an avenue to showcase the best of their skills and abilities.


If you would like to become a netball umpire – please find more information here.