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In The News

Healthy goals
28th September 2005
By Andrew Thomson
Publication: The Warrnambool Standard
© The Warrnambool Standard. Reproduced by Permission

KOROIT'S Jason Groves found a unique remedy for his clinical depression - football umpiring.

You would think just about the last thing someone suffering from depression would want to do is get abused by a football crowd every weekend but Groves, 27, is thriving after taking up his new hobby.

Such is his passion that the 27-year-old is now compiling material to write a book about country umpires.

The goal umpire joined the Hampden umpires' panel this season and officiated in the junior league under 16s grand final last Sunday between Warrnambool and Terang Mortlake.

Groves said there was more to goal umpiring than he initially thought, but he now has his technique finetuned.

"I had a few problems to start with, made a few minor mistakes but I've ironed them out and things are under control," he said.

"I'd been looking at being an umpire for a while but I've been suffering from depression. When I saw the ad in The Standard earlier this year I decided to get involved."

Groves said exercise and meeting people was what attracted him to umpiring.

"When I told umpire adviser Norm Gibson that I had depression and wanted to become an umpire he thought that was really funny ... he thought it was a great joke," he said.

"But it's been excellent. Everyone has welcomed me," he said.

Gibson said Groves and another new umpire Susan Haas had come on board this year and been excellent additions to the panel.

"They come to training. Jason is there every Wednesday night," he said. "Because we've got senior goal umpires we've used them as interchange stewards and reserves umpires and then Jason got a game in the under 16s grand final.

"Jason is always at training each week and at our social functions. It's all worked out really well," he said.

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