Join us (the Office for Women in Sport and Recreation) to celebrate International Women's Day 2019.
Chelsea Roffey is the first and only woman to have officiated in an Australian Football League Grand Final.
Born in South Australia, raised in Queensland and cultured in Melbourne, she was lured to the intrepid world of goal umpiring as a 17-year-old footy fanatic.
She was attracted to the game at a time when middle-aged men in overcoats were as much a fixture of Australian football as meat pies and yelling "Ball!" for holding decisions.
No moustache? No problem! Undeterred, she jumped head-first into waving the flags for gender equality, reaching the heights of elite officiating eight years later, when she was selected to umpire the 2012 AFL Grand Final.
But she regards her true breakthrough as becoming the first umpire in the history of the game (perhaps even the history of sport!) to be cheered by the crowd ahead of that epic battle between Sydney and Hawthorn.
Other highlights include being enveloped by the post-anthem roar on Anzac Day, goosebumps at Adelaide Oval during the Port Adelaide cheer squad’s rendition of INXS’s ‘Never Tear Us Apart’ and having her face connect with the end of a trademark Drew Petrie spoil in Tasmania.
Chelsea holds bachelor degrees in music and journalism, and is a speaker, author, researcher and Winston Churchill Fellow who has travelled the globe examining diversity, gender equality and storytelling.
Coupling her unique narrative with world's best practice, she facilitates courses and education programs to promote gender equity, diversity and high performance.
Chelsea has umpired more than 230 AFL games, 16 finals and sat the bench as the emergency umpire at five AFL Grand Finals. She has been named Sports Official of the Year in Victoria and Queensland, and listed among The Age newspaper's top 100 most influential people.