ACHIEVING GOALS: Ipswich hockey umpire Aaron Gotting is preparing for his first international assignment starting this weekend.
ACHIEVING GOALS: Ipswich hockey umpire Aaron Gotting is preparing for his first international assignment starting this weekend. Cordell Richardson

Why Ipswich umpire keen to earn respect in Malaysia

WHEN he heads to Malaysia on Wednesday, Aaron Gotting will carry the attributes that have him earmarked as an Ipswich umpire with international promise.

He has a simple but effective approach every time he takes to the hockey field with a whistle in hand.

"I always try and keep pretty calm before a game and do a good warm-up before I go out,'' Gotting said.

He also likes to treat players with respect, keen to have that reciprocated when he umpires matches.

Having been an A-Grade player in the Ipswich competition, Gotting understands what players experience on the field and the intricacies of the game he loves.

However, the Raceview-based sportsman knows the play will be so much faster when he officiates at the Sultan of Johor Cup under-21 series from October 6-13.

"It's my first international and hopefully if I do well there, I can get my international badge from this,'' Gotting, 25, said. "Once you get an international badge, it opens up all the opportunities for all your international games that come through.''

Named Hockey Queensland's most promising umpire last year, Gotting dreams of one day officiating on the biggest hockey stages.

"At the moment, it's just taking each tournament I get,'' he said, happy to build his junior international umpiring career first.

"But at the end of the day, my big goal is to try and get to either Comm Games or the Olympic Games.

"I do know it's a fair way down the track.''

For the next month, Gotting's main focus is in Malaysia before his second Australian Hockey League series.

Among the teams playing in the Sultan of Johor Cup are Australia, India, Great Britain, New Zealand, Japan and the home country.

Having been appointed by FIH (International Hockey Federation), Gotting will receive valuable umpiring experience controlling games featuring future stars in world hockey.

The former St Augustines Springfield and St Edmund's College student's previous highest level tournament was last year's AHL in Perth, where he umpired five matches.

He gets his second year of AHL experience in Brisbane after returning from Malaysia.

That will be during the third round of this year's national series on October 20.


Ipswich hockey umpire Aaron Gotting preparing for national duty.
Ipswich hockey umpire Aaron Gotting Cordell Richardson

Since first umpiring aged 14, Gotting has developed skills at eight national tournaments, from under-13 to AHL level.

Gotting said his first under-21 nationals tournament was among the most satisfying. He was chosen to umpire the final between Victoria and NSW in Sydney.

Last year's Hockey Queensland award recognised his consistent performances and potential to go further.

Gotting appreciates the help along the way from his mother Bernadette, as well as Ipswich's current international umpire Steve Rogers and respected Queensland duo Adam Kearns and Ben De Young.

Bernadette continues to play an important role as tournament director at major state competitions having achieved her national level umpiring badge and been invited to work as a hockey volunteer at the Sydney 2000 Olympics.

Rogers regularly gives Aaron advice, along with Kearns and De Young.

"I've always wanted to go through and get my international badge ever since I was young,'' Ipswich born and bred Gotting said.

"I just like watching hockey, umpiring. And then eventually I started speaking to Steve Rogers a fair bit.''

Gotting has taken on some sound advice in his important role.

"I always like to think if I was a player, what would I like from an umpire,'' Gotting said.

"And I always go out and try and have fun.''

Although he enjoys playing, the former Hancock Brothers and dual Wests premiership-winning Reserve Grade player quickly realised he has higher prospects in umpiring.

He rates achieving mutual respect between players and umpires during an intense game as one of the most satisfying aspects of his officiating.

The toughest part, he said, was trying to keep fit all year, especially leading into tournaments.

However, that's a challenge the 194cm tall umpire is working on as he uses his height to advantage.

"Being tall, it helps with vision. It's a lot easier being taller,'' he said.