Ian ‘Buzza’ Burrows started his boundary umpiring journey with the Yarra Valley Mountain District Football League back in the year 2000. Seventeen years later he will umpire in his 250th AFL match on Saturday afternoon at Simmonds Stadium. Alongside the significant milestone match this weekend sits 29 finals, 7 Grand Finals in (08, 10, 10 replay, 12, 14, 15 & 16) and 3 All-Australian jackets in (10, 12 & 15). It’s fair to say that since Ian’s first AFL match between Collingwood and Adelaide in 2006, he has elevated himself to be one of the most consistent and best boundary umpires in AFL history.
Amongst his long list of achievements, Buzz ran in 3 memorable matches to date. The 2010 drawn Grand Final where he stood on the wing at 68 points apiece when the siren sounded. The 2007 drawn final between West Coast and Collingwood at Subiaco which went to extra time, and the deafening roar in the 2013 finals series match between Carlton and Richmond. A match which saw Richmond in the finals for the first time in 10 years.
Buzz’s career hasn’t all been smooth sailing though, he tends to attract an element of quirkiness and uniqueness from time to time. Season 2017 has been hampered by injury, although not your standard injury. Firstly, Buzz was rushed to hospital to have his appendix removed. Secondly, as he was training to make his return post-surgery, he tripped over a dog, broke his toe and prepared for a second surgery to have pins inserted.
Along with these incidents, there is the famous indigenous round leaf which was thrown out by his cleaner, an umpiring bag checklist that was printed in circa 2000 (comic sans font), and the fact that he is one of the only AFL umpires to have officiated in an AFL match on every day of the week. Buzz, we hope there is not too many unique or quirky injuries, but we do hope you continue to provide us with many unique and quirky moments.
In a demanding environment, Buzz has always been a reliable team man who works extremely hard and reads the game very well. He believes his determination to be the best he can be, has helped him succeed. His biggest influences are his Mum and Dad. His Dad for getting him involved, taking him to local matches, rain, hail or shine, and always encouraging him from the sidelines, and, his Mum for being a huge supporter and go to person for all things good and bad. Buzz also credits his brother, sister, close friends, and beautiful partner Sofie, who all partake in sharing his journey with him. This is something very special to Buzz and something he finds very humbling.
At 2.10pm on Saturday afternoon, Buzz will become only the 18th AFL boundary umpire to reach 250 matches. Out of the 10 seasons, Buzz has umpired Grand Finals in 6 of them. This man is not only a sensational guy to have a beer with, but he is an extraordinary boundary umpire. Cheers to number Heritage Number 519!
Written by Chris Gordon, Marketing & Communications Intern/Colleague & Friend.