In charge: Steve McBurney, the best ''explainer'' of decisions the game has seen. Photo: Getty Images
If you bumped into Steve McBurney on the street, you might not realise that he is one of the greatest sporting officials this country has produced. Steve (Jack to his mates) has worn this ''every man'' disguise well over the years, allowing him to mostly hover in the background on some of the AFL's biggest stages.
But the man who looks like an accountant has completed 19 AFL seasons and on Saturday notches up his 400th match at AFL level.
This places Jack in illustrious company as only the fifth person to achieve the milestone - the others being fellow field umpires Hayden Kennedy (495) and Rowan Sawers (410), plus players Michael Tuck (426) and Kevin Bartlett (403).
To put this achievement into context, he would have covered over 5200 kilometres in games alone (field umpires average 12-13 kilometres a game) as well as clocking up over 30,000 kilometres in training. He is the AFL's own Cliffy Young.
Jack's commitment was never more evident than his now infamous Forrest Gump training regime - 76 days straight running - throughout this pre-season. Jack says this was to ensure he was fit enough to complete the arduous five-kilometre fitness testing benchmarks required of all AFL umpires. I suggest that it is more likely his knowledge that, at 45 years old, if he stopped running for one day he might not start again.
If I had judged Jack's athletic abilities on my first experience of him at training, it would not have been flattering. In the early 2000s the fitness team decided swimming would be a great way to help freshen up the troops and relieve the monotony of running laps. Clearly this was one of the few decisions Jack wasn't consulted on.
My first AFL training session featured a one-kilometre swim in a pool. Having not swum that distance in my life before, this thought was terrifying. Drowning in my first AFL training session was a real possibility.
Luckily, Jack came to the rescue. As the captain of the less talented swimming group he introduced me to using pool buoys to keep my leaden hips afloat and judging when it was OK to walk into a turn - usually when the bloke in front of you had stopped five metres out. In a 25-metre pool, that made a big difference. As has been pointed out more than once of late, Jack makes Eric "the Eel" Moussambani of Sydney Olympics fame look like Ian Thorpe.
My other favourite memory of Jack is when, in 2009, we were both sent to a figurative ''fat camp'' to encourage us to drop a couple of unwanted kilograms. Having battled a Coca-Cola addiction for almost as long as me, we made a mutual pledge to give up the cola elixir from the gods to help us reach our weight and skinfold targets. Counting down our progress on the monthly weigh-ins was one of those shared experiences that made the hard work bearable. I still cannot look at a can of Coke without thinking of him.
No story about Jack would be complete without reference to one the most noticeable legacies he'll leave on the group - his prodigious knowledge for obscure sporting events across the globe. Jack's Rain Man-esque ability to judge the first-set scores in tennis matches and head-to-head golf match-ups have kept the group entertained and rewarded for years.
This will be his last season and his many legacies will live longer after he leaves - if you're not sure, just keep an ear out on Saturday for the best ''explainer'' of decisions the game has seen.
Stefan Grun umpired 107 AFL matches over nine seasons (2004-12) and is president of the AFL Umpires Association.