EDDIE WILLIAMS says in these challenging times, Australia is looking for a national hero and who better than Canberra’s most significant sporting figure of the 21st century...

IN a time of crisis, Australia needs a hero to look up to. An idol who can rally the troops through these dark times.

Eddie Williams

And who better than Canberra’s most significant sporting figure of the 21st century?

No, I’m not talking about the reformed Nick Kyrgios. Not Mark Webber, either. Nor Lauren Jackson, Nathan Lyon or Kelsey-Lee Barber. Jarrod Croker? David Pocock? Tom Rogic? No, no, no!

I’m talking about someone who’s been on the field for more than 300 AFL games since 2004, including 27 finals and three grand finals. Someone with experience on the international stage. Someone with humble beginnings south of Lake Burley Griffin.

That’s right, I’m talking about "Razor" Ray Chamberlain – the highest-profile umpire in the land – and he was born and bred right here in Canberra.

Why is Ray the right person to lead us through the pandemic? Well, as his LinkedIn profile explains: “Ray’s areas of expertise include managing stress in high-pressure environments, adapting to change, effective communication and goal setting.” Sounds perfect!

Unlike others in leadership positions, Ray always explains his decisions. If you watch any of his games, you’ll see he’s a pretty clear communicator – although perhaps he could be more concise. He’s accustomed to dealing with opposition and scrutiny. And he has a zero-tolerance approach when it comes to enforcing the rules. 

If you get within 1.5 metres of another person, watch out! You’ll cop a 50-metre penalty – or maybe even a 100-metre penalty if you don’t hurry up and get out of the way. And don’t even think about having too many players on the field or too many patrons in the pub – it could be game over.

"Razor" Ray Chamberlain… Canberra’s most significant sporting figure of the 21st century?

On a serious note, he’s also a founding member of the Chamberlain Foundation, which focuses on suicide prevention and mental health awareness.

For some reason, we don’t seem to claim Ray Chamberlain in the way we lay claim to “Canberra’s Nick Kyrgios” or “Canberra’s Caroline Buchanan”. But he’s definitely one of ours, attending Lake Tuggeranong College before studying a Bachelor of Education at the University of Canberra, while beginning his umpiring career in the old ACTAFL. 

He’s also a mortgage broker and, gee whiz, Australia could use some help paying off the mortgage right now.

So instead of putting rule-breaking sportspeople on posters and pedestals, let’s celebrate one of the rule-enforcers for once.

It’s time to blow the whistle on the coronavirus. And no one blows the whistle better than Canberra’s own "Razor Ray".

Eddie Williams is an award winning radio producer at 2CC.

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Thank you,

Ian Meikle, editor