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Sports News

Inaugural annual Local Champion Awards winners announced




Inaugural annual Local Champion Awards winners announced

Northern NSW Football was delighted to announce the inaugural annual winners of its Local Champion Awards on Friday night.

The NNSWF Local Champion Awards are a monthly recognition of individuals and teams who make a difference across the football family as we thank them for their commitment to their club, team, community and football.

The annual award winners were chosen from recipients of the monthly awards across each of the six categories, with winners recognised in front of more than 400 people at NNSWF’s Jennings Medal awards night at Newcastle Exhibition and Convention Centre.

Team of the Year Hallidays Point Sports Club All Age Women

Every successful club needs a team like Hallidays Point FC’s All Age Women’s side, who were the Team of the Month for June.

The club’s women’s team are a shining example of what community club football should be all about.

The All Age Women’s team have worked hard to create a positive culture to support their female players as well as foster a positive relationship with their young up and coming players.

This outlook has ensured everyone involved in the squad feels safe, respected and heard every time they show up to training or a game.

The team have also led the way off the field. The All Age Women’s team raised more than $1000 after participating in Ks for RUOK? last July.

The team have a strong belief in the importance of starting conversations about mental health to ensure their players are doing well off the pitch and feel comfortable making it known when they are not coping with life or anything happening in their world.

It was a conscious decision to build a certain type of culture within the team when it was born three years ago. Team captain Jess Evans said it was the best team to be part of and her teammates deserved all the recognition they could get.

Referee of the Year Matthew Hall NNSWF – Northern Inland

Northern Inland referee Matt Hall is committed to refereeing and improving his game. He is a regular first grade referee in Tamworth, a noteworthy effort given he has achieved the level in only a few seasons.

Matt, the Referee of the Month for September, undertook a Level 3 referee course to improve his knowledge.

Tamworth grew its referee numbers this year with around 20 13 to 15-year-olds and Matt, without being asked, took it on himself to start a weekly fitness and theory training session open to these young referees to help them in their first season as a match official.

Matt has introduced his three sons to refereeing and hopes to share the field with them when he can be fourth official with his sons on field.

Volunteer of the Year Tim Shackell – Pottsville Beach FC

Tim is an energetic volunteer at Pottsville Beach FC where he has roles including junior vice-president, coach, parent and player.

The Volunteer of the Month for August, Tim negotiated with Tweed Shire Council to organise a temporary home for the club when Pottsville Beach FC’s playing fields at Koala Beach were rendered unplayable following the flood that hit the Northern Rivers and Tweed regions in February and March.

Tim was instrumental in organising a semi-trailer and rallying others to move goals and other equipment to the Black Rocks facility where games were able to proceed.

Pottsville Beach FC also worked to enable dozens of fixtures to be played at Black Rocks when half of the fields across the region were unplayable.

Tim has been a quiet achiever for many years but his commitment, logistical skills and generous nature has highlighted what a champion he has been in 2022, with his efforts inspiring the broader community.

Coach of the Year Zandalea Foster – Toronto Awaba Junior FC

Zandalea is a great coach and role model for all women and girls in football. Zandalea, the Coach of the Month for July, wears her heart on her sleeve and lives and breathes football.

As well as being a coach to her under-12s team Zandalea is also a friend and protector and is always there when her players need someone to talk to.

She puts so much time and effort into each training session and goes the extra mile to get players to training and games and find alternate venues.

Winning comes second behind enjoyment, with Zandalea looking to make her players as passionate about football as she is.

Player of the Year Keeley Gardner – Coffs City United FC

Keeley was recently selected as the young member of the NNSWF Indigenous Women’s squad, playing at the Women’s State Cup at the Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility in July.

The Player of the Month for August, Keeley was one of her Coffs City United under-16s division two team’s co- captains and was nominated as the best and fairest for her team last season.

Club of the Year Southern Lakes United

Southern Lakes United FC have persevered to overcome the difficulties 2022 has presented to all football clubs.

This was exacerbated by the disappointment caused by their new facility at Cooranbong not being ready for this season.

The Club of the Month for September, Southern Lakes United has grown from 98 members in 2019 to 358 this season with room for further future growth. The club’s growth can also be somewhat measured by competition teams enjoying success in the final series.

Southern Lakes United are well managed and offer great opportunities for all players, referees and coaches.

Northern NSW Football Community Football Manager Ross Hicks congratulated the recipients and thanked them for their contribution to football in northern NSW.

“Without people like Keeley, Matt, Zandalea and Tim as well as clubs like Hallidays Point SC and Southern Lakes United we wouldn’t have a game. They make football what it is in our region,” Hicks said.

“It is their commitment to their clubs, teams and football community that make the game and improves the experience of playing football for the people around them.

“We thank them for their contribution and congratulate them on being named the inaugural NNSWF Local Champion Awards annual winners for 2022. We wish them all the very best for the 2023 season and beyond.”

Further information or to arrange interviews contact:
Andrew Parkinson
Communications Manager
Northern NSW Football
T | 02 4941 7218 M | 0421 473 009
E |

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Local News

Flying high – Redmen selected in Corella’s Squad





Flying high – Redmen selected in Corella’s Squad


By Gary Nichols

TWO Grafton Redmen players have bolted into the NSW Country Corella’s team after impressive debuts for Mid North Coast at the NSW Country Championships in Tamworth over the June long weekend.

Natalie Blackadder and Yuri Fuller have been instrumental in Grafton’s run to a tilt at this year’s Mid North Coast Women’s 10s premiership.

Both players had no idea if they did enough to gain selection in the Country squad, however a phone call from the Corellas’ coach on Friday confirmed what they hoped to hear.

“The coach called me about 10am while I was at work. He asked me how I was going and said he was just giving me a call to inform me I had been selected in the Country squad,” a jubilant Blackadder said.

“He also gave me a few tips on what I have to work on to improve my game which was great.”

It wasn’t so smooth sailing for Fuller who had to endure a nervous ten-hour wait for the call she thought would never eventuate.

“I didn’t get an early phone call because I put down the wrong number on the registration sheet,” Fuller laughed.

“They had to go searching for me and I got the phone call about eight-thirty that night.

“During the day I just excepted my fate and believed I missed out.”

Blackadder admitted she was a bundle of nerves before Mid North Coast’s opening game in Tamworth but added as soon as she ran out on the field the nerves quickly vanished.

“I thought I was going to die when we were warming up,” Blackadder said.

“But once I got out there, I cleared my head, made my first tackle and I was all good.

“It was such a different experience playing fifteen-a-side rugby. You have your role, and you have to stick with it as there is less room than ten-a-side.”

For the rangy Redmen back-rower, it was by chance she even tried out for the representative side.

“I only tried out for Mid North Coast because Tamar (McHugh, Redmen captain) and Yuri did it. I thought to myself, why not give it a go and see where it takes me,” she said.

Fuller, a prolific try-scorer, who can slot into most positions in the backline, said her selection had a lot to do with the improvement of the Grafton Redmen Women’s side and the quality of women’s rugby throughout the Mid North Coast.

“Our team has improved dramatically over the past two years and obviously the growth of Women’s Mid North Coast rugby has produced a higher standard with quality players throughout the Zone,” Fuller said.


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GIANTS AFLW return to Canberra for first Community Camp





GIANTS AFLW return to Canberra for first Community Camp


The GIANTS’ AFLW list is heading to Canberra on 4-5 July to meet the footy community and inspire the next generation of footy superstars, as part of the first-ever, league wide AFLW Community Camp program.

Around two months out from its NAB AFLW Round 1 clash at Manuka Oval on Saturday, 31 August, the GIANTS players will spend some time with their fans at their home away from home.

Headlining the camp is the Canberra Girls Footy Festival which welcomes girls aged 5-14 to get involved in a jam-packed night of fun and footy alongside GIANTS AFLW players.

To be held at EPC Solar Park in Phillip on Thursday, 4 July, the Girls Footy Festival is open to local footballers and NAB AFL Auskick participants, as well as anyone wanting to come and try Australian rules football in a fun and friendly environment. In addition to the GIANTS players, there will be activities and games, large inflatables, giveaways and, of course, a barbecue.

As part of the AFLW Community Camp, the GIANTS will also hold a Coach Your Way session featuring GIANTS coaching staff and its star defender and accredited Level 3 coach, Katherine Smith.

On Friday, 5 July the GIANTS players will connect with hundreds of Canberra school children when they visit to schools around the nation’s capital.

AFL NSW/ACT’s Participation and Programs Manager, Dylan Potter, said of the GIANTS’ 2024 AFLW Community Camp: “This is another great opportunity for footy fans in Canberra to meet elite players face to face.

“Auskick and junior girls will be particularly excited with the Canberra Girls Footy Festival kicking off on Thursday. This will be the first time we’ve brought women and girls from across the ACT to meet and learn from the GIANTS’ AFLW team and I can’t wait to see everyone loving the game together.

“Thank you in advance to the community for their support and the GIANTS AFLW program for visiting Canberra in a year when the ACT is celebrating 100 years of footy.”

Canberra Girls Footy Festival details
Date: Thursday, July 4
Time: 4:30pm-7pm
Location: EPC Solar Park, Phillip
Age: 5-14 years

Coach Your Way program
The Coach Your Way Program is exclusively available for women and girls looking to develop their skills in coaching.
Date: Thursday, July 4
Time: 5:30pm-7pm
Location: EPC Solar Park, Phillip
Register: Scan the QR Code

NAB AFL Auskick Burst in Canberra
Participants inspired by the GIANTS will have an opportunity to join the fun weekly, with NAB AFL Auskick opening in Canberra from 21 July, offering participants half a season of the Auskick experience and the beloved Auskick pack.

We call it Auskick Burst, with participants bursting on the footy scene and having a great time.

Auskick Burst will be offered at a greatly reduced price, which will be revealed before 4 July’s Girls Footy Festival.

NAB AFLW Season 9 coming to Canberra
GIANTS fans will get a chance to see the team in action in Round 1 of the NAB AFLW season and again in Round 3.
Round 1
1:05pm Saturday, 31 August
GIANTS v Western Bulldogs
Round 3
5:05pm Sunday, 15 September
GIANTS v Gold Coast Suns

Tickets for these matches will be available closer to the date.


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Riding the Wave: Emma Perrier needs to overcome a funding barrier to compete at the 2024 World Surf League Longboard Tour




Vice-president of Evans Head Malibu Club Emma Perrier

Riding the Wave: Emma Perrier needs to overcome a funding barrier to compete at the 2024 World Surf League Longboard Tour


By Sarah Waters

When Emma Perrier was eight years old, she convinced her dad to enter her into her first surfing competition, the Annual Evans Head Malibu Classic.

Fifteen years later, she has been selected as one of the top 24 women surfers, from across the world, to compete in the 2024 World Surf League (WSL) Longboard Tour.

Emma, 23, is still coming to terms with the news after only finding out a few weeks ago that she had made the tour, which starts at Bells Beach, in Victoria, in less than a month on July 13.

“I had just arrived at work and was making myself a coffee, checking my emails as you normally do and I didn’t really believe it, but an email notification (from the WSL) came up saying I had been selected,” she said.

“It was a very surreal moment.”

Emma has been active in the local longboarding community since she was a young surfer.

She grew up in Brisbane but spent her weekends among the waves on her longboard at Evans Head, where her parents had a beach house.

Her surfing style was shaped by the ‘veterans of longboarding’ at Evans Head Malibu Club, who helped her to fine tune her ‘drop knee.’

Over the years she has become a familiar name at local surfing competitions along the coast, but she had never competed at a professional level – until four months ago.

In February, Emma decided to enter the 2024 Gold Coast Open WSL Longboard Qualifying Series event (for the Asia Pacific region) at Burleigh Heads.

She was ranked as the last seed out of nine competitors but managed to finish in second place.

It wasn’t enough to gain her automatic entry into the WSL Longboard Tour, however.

The winner from each of the seven regional WSL qualifying events typically makes the tour.

Emma Perrier being lifted up at the beach

Tweed Heads resident Emma Perrier, 23, has been selected for this year’s World Surf League (WSL) Longboard Tour but needs help funding her travel costs

But the woman who bet Emma in the qualifier (Tully White) had been pre-selected for this year’s tour as she was one of the top 10 competitors from last year’s event.

Emma said it was ‘very exciting’ when she finally found out, via email, that she had made the WSL tour.

But it has only given her six weeks to prepare and scramble together the necessary funds to take part in the competition, which she estimates will cost about $30,000.

The tour will feature four international events, running from July – October.

It will start at Bells Beach, in Australia, followed by an event at the ‘birthplace of longboarding’ Huntington Beach in California.

The location of the third event is still to be announced, but the championship will take place at famed surf spot El Salvador.

Emma said as exciting as it has been to make the tour, it has also been daunting when looking at the travel costs.

“You have to pay your way to every stop on the tour, there is no funding provided by the WSL or Surfing Australia.

“I work full time (as a data analyst) and my work has been super supportive, but it would take me years to save up what I need for the tour, and I don’t have much time.

“I don’t have any sponsors yet – even at the qualifier event I was the only competitor who didn’t have any sponsor stickers on their board.”

Emma has started an online fundraising page in the hope it will allow her to participate in the opportunity of a lifetime.

“It’s all very new to me the self-promotion, but I’ve got to try, and that’s my goal for the next month to try and find some funds.

“This tour gives you the opportunity to surf waves that you might not ever be able to – and particularly by yourself.

“My goal is to win a world title and I’d love to make the Olympics, if they do decide to have longboarding in Los Angeles in 2028, but just been on a world tour is such an amazing learning curve.”

As an added confidence boost before the tour, Emma won the Open Women’s Final at the NSW Longboard State Titles at Port Stephens, two weeks ago.

She is the vice-president of the Evans Head Malibu Club and they have got right behind her to try and support her as much as possible.

In the past, Emma has helped to raise a huge amount of money for breast cancer research.

She started a popular surfing event known as ‘The Breast Comp Ever,’ a women-only longboarding competition in Evans Head.

The competition has helped to raise more than $155,000 since it started in 2021.

To help Emma participate in the 2024 WSL Longboard Tour please google: EMMA PERRIER – WSL LONGBOARD TOUR FUNDRAISER and donate to her fundraising page.


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