AFL Japan GO League – Osaka Dingoes vs R246 Lions: Yoshi’s further experience in footy

We had longed to play footy,  the previous opportunity was when we invited Asian clubs in the inaugural IMPACT Invitational Cup in July last year.


The Dingoes were supposed to travel to Tokyo facing one of GO League clubs in November or December last year, but ground unavailability resulted no game being played in the planned timing.


I had trained and practised hard for any potential game and the R246 Lions showed an interest in travelling to Osaka to play against us.


Unfortunately my passions were interrupted by an off field injury on the 13th December. I was supposed to practise footy after the work that would end at 3 pm. But on the day, I was asked to work in the evening at another premise and agreed.


The incident happened near the second premise falling off the bike. A big cut on my forehead, another cut in the knee and my hand was hit.


A fractured bone was confirmed a week later and I was given options of having surgery inserting pins in the bone, and putting a cast on the finger healing maturely. I was told that I would have pins for four weeks.


Then I have decided to have the operation and went to theatre at night on Christmas Day. Pins were extraordinary presents in my life indeed!


The Dingoes had a training on Saturday, 19 January to get ready to play against the Lions. Matt, Shane and I were only players to attend, but it was good. I even took some marks without using the injured hand.


On the footy field, Matt asked me what I would do in  case  I was unavailable. I told him that I would just turn up at the ground and watch the game and cheer up the Dingoes. Then he suggested me to do a goal umpiring job.


On Wednesday following week, the doctor removed the pins and I was relieved. I asked a nurse about the restricting activities. She didn’t mention  specific ones; however told me that I should not play any sport for a week after making another enquiry.


Like last time, I could wear a cast  and play footy (I was required to fix the injured finger for a week), but Matt suggested me that it would risk a lot if I played footy. So I was happy to be a goal umpire.


I admit I was sad not playing footy that I had really longed for, but tried to keep positive for another footy experience.


Getting up at 3.30 am, having a shower and a breakfast and wearing contact lenses, I left home at 5.30 am and saw snowing in Kyoto.


Arriving at the Canadian Academy in Rokko Island, Kobe, our guest players Angus and Arch were searching for guernseys and shorts that fitted. Matt asked me if it was okay to give Angus my number 44 for the game and I agreed. Gus would play for me and said I could address him with Yoshi.




Angus wearing 44


The game started at 8.50 am in the freezing condition (zero degrees with occasionally snowing ). I was at the mainland side where the Dingoes kicked towards at the first and third quarters.


The Dingoes dominated the footy well at the beginning of the game. Ryan Archer (the guest player of the exchange university student) kicked our first goal and Matt Gale (player coach) followed.


Our good start didn’t last long. The Lions demonstrated good ball use and scored seven consecutive goals in the first quarter. The visitors led by 31 points at the first break.


The Lions dominated the second quarter as well and scored 4.2 to Dingoes 2.5. The margin extended to 40 points.


After the main break, the Dingoes got the notch up. Good ball use and finding open space created goals. The Dingoes scored four goals and three behinds, 1.2 more than the opponent.


Meanwhile it was hard to judge the goals and behinds for me. I was advised to stand at the behind posts so that the ball movement was visible. Also running and chasing ball were required.


I had seen much goal umpiring in AFL matches but I am inexperienced umpire and need to learn and take lessons.


At the last quarter, the Dingoes snarled a lot kicking the first four goals and had a chance to lead back. But we couldn’t keep the Lions quiet. They roared back and made the last quarter  equal scores (6.2 each).


Umpiring teams (Yaz, Alby, me and Bec)


After the game, Matt was awarded with the Person of Distinguished Service by AFL Japan. His services for our club, AFL Japan and AFL Asia are magnificent and what I admire.


Matt presented the award by AFL Japan committee Michito Sakaki


I had a good footy experience in umpiring and now focus on the Dingoes’ next match against the Senshu Powers at night on Saturday, 16 February. I can’t wait to be playing footy.


Dingoes 2.0 4.5 8.8 14.10 (94)
Lions 7.1 11.3 14.4 20.6 (126)


Dingoes: Gale 5, Bailey 4, Kitamura, Matsuoka, Archer
Lions: K Hasegawa 9, Saguchi 3, Hagiwara 3, Y Hasegawa 2, Colman 2, Sakaki


About Yoshihiro Imagawa

Love, passion and pride are seen on the footy that is the biggest part of my life. 1. St Kilda Club member: I am a passionate and crazy Sainter. Just hope we will win the second flag soon, especially after Dogs and Tigers having ended long premiership draughts. 2. The Osaka Dingoes Player and Public Relations Officer: Player number 44 that I chose to honour Stephen Milne with my wish being like a small forward like him. Lenny Hayes' hardworking attitudes are adopted on my trainings and practices. Nick Riewoldt's great plays are in my player audiobook too. 3. Writing: Here on the Almanac and also on the World Footy News. My skills utilise on great footy websites.


  1. Mark Duffett says

    Astute insight, Yoshi – there is indeed more to goal umpiring than meets the eye. It’s still a great way to stay involved in the game when your body doesn’t give you other options, though. Hope yours is match fit soon.

  2. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Great stuff Yoshi.
    Looks like the Dingoes gave the Lions a big fright early in the last quarter. In the old days goal umpires used to signal with their thumbs. It was much more theatrical. Look after your health fella and have a successful 2019 in footy and life ! Cheers.

  3. Yvette Wroby says

    Hi Yoshi,
    You are having such a wide range of experiences with the Dingoes. May that continue.

    Enjoy the season

  4. Love your passion,Yoshi for footy

  5. Hi Yoshi,

    Thanks for this update on the Dingoes and your footy career.

    That sounds like a nasty fall.

    I hope your finger heals strongly and you can run out with confidence. In bush footy in Australia players with problem fingers strap them to the next finger.


  6. G’day and thanks for all your comments!

    Mark – I learnt a lot in doing goal umpiring at the game with making decisions. It was a good experience.

    Phil – Thanks for mentioning me about the thumb signalling. It’s interesting. As my finger is broken, I used flags to signal but later was told to use hands only for goals and behinds.

    Yvette – I need more experiences in many fields of the sport code. And I enjoy the journey.

    Rulebook – Cheers mate. I love footy that creates passions.

    JTH – The fall down was bad. I was unaware of unfamiliar and uneven level differences between the road and the footpath. What if I just went on my own footy drills? The previous fractured bone was occurred during the team training last year, so I understand the bush footy players’ injuries. I will be available for the next Dingoes match against the Senshu Powers on 16 February, and thanks for your warm wishes.



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