John Stackpoole is a Queensland football legend.
He played more than 250 games with the Sandgate Hawks and won four QAFL Premierships along the way.
He won two national championships as a member of the Queensland state side he represented twenty-five times - seven as captain.
He is a member of the AFL Queensland Hall of Fame, the AFL Queensland Team of the Century and was twice named All-Australian.
He has coached, played Superules until he was nearly 50 and can almost single-handedly be attributed with introducing Australian Football to Nudgee College.
With a football resume that reads like that, no one would have questioned Stackpoole if he had quietly hung up his boots.
Instead, at 66 years of age, Stackpoole has crossed off another football first, umpiring a Grand Final.
John began umpiring in 1998 at the age of 52 to help combat an umpire shortage in Brisbane’s junior competition.
“The next year, community umpire organiser Gary Shultz asked me to umpire in the seniors and I’ve been doing it ever since.” Stackpoole said.
After deeming himself too old to play, Stackpoole saw umpiring as a good way to stay involved with the game that he loves.
“Former players make great umpires as they have good understanding of the many situations that occur during a game, especially the pressures on players when the ball is in contest,” Stackpoole said.
Despite knowing exactly what the players were feeling as they lined-up for the SEQAFL Division 4 Central Grand Final, the football player turned field umpire said he wasn’t nervous.
“After so many years in the sport, I didn’t feel any extra pressure, I was just going to enjoy the experience,” he said.
Much like his playing career, Stackpoole says he will umpire for as long as his body will let him.
“I’ll keep umpiring until age dictates otherwise,” he said.
“After that there will always be some area of this great game in which I can be involved.”