HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE

Mike BALL

Year Inducted 2017
Date of Birth 11th November 1955

Umpire 1976-1992

Games: 301 (WAFL 248, VFL/AFL 45, State 6, SANFL 2)

Honours: First non-Victorian to umpire a VFL/AFL final, Second WA field umpire with 300 senior games, 4 WAFL Grand Finals, 13 WAFL Finals, 1 AFL Final, Served as President of WANFLUA, WANFLUA Hall of Fame 1996, WANFLUA Life Member 1990

 

Over a period of 20 years as a field umpire in the WAFL, VFL and AFL systems, Mike Ball established an outstanding reputation for technical proficiency, integrity and respectful control in his management of league games and players. He was also in the vanguard during the greatest period of change in Australian football history as the game became national and his skills were recognised with the first appointment of a non-Victorian to the VFL Umpiring panel in 1987. He and Grant Vernon paved the way for non-Victorian umpires and played key roles in ironing out the challenges and difficulties faced by non-Victorians in the creation of a national umpiring panel.

Mike Ball commenced umpiring aged 16 in 1972 at the Hills Junior Football Council and was given control of the Hills Under 17’s Grand Final and of Little League games at Bassendean Oval that season. The following year he was selected to join the WAFL field umpiring panel and umpired WAFL colts, reserves and country games for three years, officiating in colts and country league Grand Finals.

His first league game as a field umpire came at Bassendean Oval on 8th May 1976 when Mike was 20. It was Bill Walker’s 301st league game, a figure of significance since it was the total number of league games Mike was to officiate in his own senior career. Mike was quickly recognised for his proficiency and outstanding conduct as a league umpire and became a league and state regular over the next 10 years. He umpired the first of his four WAFL Grand Finals in 1983 and later had charge of three state of origin games against Victoria and three WA v SA state games.

He was invited to join the VFL panel in 1987 due to his distinguished WAFL record and reputation and umpired his first VFL game (Hawthorn v Sydney) the following season. In 1990 Mike Ball became the first interstate based umpire to be appointed to an AFL final and he finished his career with 45 VFL/AFL games during a period of great change.

Upon retirement as a league umpire in 1992, Mike Ball had umpired 301 senior games and was only the second WA umpire after Ray Montgomery, to reach the 300-game milestone. He had umpired 235 WAFL regular season games, 25 VFL, 2 SANFL and 19 AFL games and 13 WAFL finals (including four Grand Finals). One AFL final and six state games rounded out a magnificent senior career record. In 2017, Mike Ball remains one of only eight West Australians to have umpired more than 300 senior games. 

In addition to his on-field achievements, Mike Ball has made a significant contribution off the field. He became president of the WANFL Umpires Association in 1989 and 1990 and in 1993 he began a significant contribution to umpire development. He was assistant umpire coach in 1993 and 1994 and later head field umpire coach from 2002. This followed a period as WAAFL umpire coach between 1997 and 2001. From 2002 to 2005 Mike Ball held the position of WAFL Umpire Development Manager and from 2003 to 2007 he was the WAFL Field Umpire Observer. He continues, some 25 years after retirement, to provide leadership and mentoring to talented young WAFL Umpires as they advance their careers into senior football.

Mike Ball was made a Life Member of the WANFL Umpires Association in 1990 and was inducted into the WANFLUA Hall of Fame in 1996.

For his sustained quality and professional involvement in field umpiring in Western Australia over a 45-year period, and for his contribution to the development of umpiring nationally, Mike Ball worthily becomes just the sixth umpiring member of the West Australian Football Hall of Fame.