TOP OPPORTUNITY: Ipswich's international umpire Steve Rogers is preparing for a major tournament in Malaysia later this month.
TOP OPPORTUNITY: Ipswich's international umpire Steve Rogers is preparing for a major tournament in Malaysia later this month. David Nielsen

Ipswich umpire in Commonwealth Games bid

AS Australia's only umpire heading to Malaysia, Steve Rogers knows it's a massive opportunity in his international career.

With the Commonwealth Games less than a year away at the Gold Coast, Rogers is fully focused on being fit and available for that major competition.

Being selected to represent Australia at the latest hockey tournament gives Ipswich's leading whistleblower a timely chance to continue his rise.

"It's one of the best events,'' he said of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.

Tivoli-based Rogers should know.

It will be his third series in Malaysia, being staged in Ipoh.

He knows what to expect, especially dealing with Malaysia's humidity and choosing what foods to eat and avoid.

"It's one of the places I've been to the most,'' Rogers said. "I'm like a local.''

Among challenges umpires and players have to deal with include the heat, rain and food.

Rogers said the hottest games were often at night when the humidity kicks in.

He's particularly careful about what curry to eat.

"That's the good thing. I know where all the good stuff is,'' the respected umpire said.

His major goal later this month is impressing Australian hockey officials with the Commonwealth Games within sight.

"I'm the only Australian umpire. I'm pretty happy,'' he said, having officiated at national league level for more than 13 years.

"I just want to get good marks over there and keep progressing forward and who knows what could happen at Com Games.

"Hopefully at the Com Games they might send two so that might give us a bit more of a chance to get there.''

Joining the Australian Kookaburras in Malaysia will be teams from India, Japan, New Zealand, Great Britain and the home country.

Ipoh has Malaysia's main hockey stadium outside its capital city Kuala Lumpur.

Rogers umpired a final of the Azlan Shah Cup four years ago when an Aussie team wasn't involved. He was ineligible for finals the past two years with the Australian team involved.

Since umpiring the final at the previous Australian Hockey League championships, Rogers has been officiating in Brisbane competition matches and maintaining his regular running and CrossFit program.

He leaves soon for the tournament from April 27 to May 6.