Junior footballers’ night of nights

AFTER being held out of town for a few years, it was great to have the New Norfolk Junior Football Club awards night back in the valley utilising the facilities and catering of our local sponsors. The event was held at The Valley Sports Bar with catering by Banjo’s New Norfolk and Pauly’s Pizza, with thanks to those three sponsors.

The organising committee did a fantastic job, with the function room at The Valley Sports Bar transformed into a wonderful space for the awards to take place and plenty of decorations in the club colours of red, white and black. The night got under way on time at 6pm with club secretary Sarah Saunders giving a rundown of the year that was at the NNJFC.

During the first break, NNJFC treasurer and life member Ann Burns thanked all the volunteers right across the club while treats from Banjo’s Bakery Cafe were enjoyed. Next, Justin Benson presented milestone trophies to those who had played their 50th NNJFC club games or 25th games. These trophies right across the club were sponsored by New Norfolk and Derwent Valley News, which also provided space in each edition throughout the season for photos, results and stories to highlight our club.

The club also acknowledged the senior players who gave up their time on a Sunday to present these players with their milestone certificates – some of the juniors will remember those presentations for a very long time. The evening ended with entertainment by a DJ after a feast courtesy of Pauly’s Pizza.

50 club games milestone award recipients, back from left, Caley Quillerat (Under-18 Girls), Chelsy Benson (Under-14 Girls), Skyla Donaghy (Under-14 Girls), Freya Cashion (Under-14 Girls), Maddison Heron (Under-14 Girls) and Kaden Cunningham (Under-16.5 Boys). Front from left, Sam Clark (Under-14 Boys) and Jordan White (Under-14 Boys).
75 club games milestone award recipients, back from left, Noah Evans, Charlie Cooper, Jude Bannister and Toby Marriott. Front: Kobe Strong, Taliesha Keleher and Elsie Chaplin.
100 club games milestone award recipients Nick Ransley (Under-16.5 Boys), left, and Amber Rainbird (Under-18 Girls).
125 club games milestone award recipient Riley Triffett (Under-16.5 Boys).

DURING the night, two new life members were inducted. These were coach Ben Rainbird and registrar Justin Benson. Ben Rainbird was coach of the Under-18 Girls this season and is a strong advocate for female participation in football. Justin Benson is the club registrar and has filled many other roles with the club including coaching, umpiring and committee member.

Newly inducted NNJFC life members Ben Rainbird, left, and Justin Benson.

TO streamline the event, each age group began with a leader board of vote getters after Round 7. The individual rounds were then counted from Round 8 and above.

IN the count for the David Banks Medal, it was clear early on that it would be hard to prevent captain Elsie Chaplin from claiming her consecutive best and fairest awards. With Elsie in front from the word go, the suspense turned to who would be runner up and there were a few backwards and forwards moves as players got their noses in front before being overtaken again. In the end, the top five in the David Banks Best and Fairest Medal were: Elsie Chaplin, 32 votes; Ellah Braslin and Kyeshia Burk, 27 votes; Bronte Jones, 24; and Brilee Chaplin, 19. Coach Bradley Chaplin and assistant coach Bryan Chaplin presented the awards. Most Improved (club award): Brilee Chaplin; Most Improved (sponsored by Bailey Chaplin): Rubee Burdon; Coaches Award (club award): Myler Pelham; Coaches Award (sponsored by Stacey and Nick Benson): Ruby Rainbird; Most Consistent: Bronte Jones; Best in finals (sponsored by The Valley Sports Bar): Bronte Jones.

Under-1 4Girls coach Bradley Chaplin, left, best and fairest winner Elsie Chaplin and assistant coach Bryan Chaplin.
Under-14 Girls trophy winners Myler Pelham (Coaches award), left, Rubee Burdon (most improved) and Brilee Chaplin (most improved).
Under-14 Girls coach Bradley Chaplin, left, best and fairest runners-up Ellah Braslin and Kyeshia Burke and assistant coach Bryan Chaplin.

ONCE again it was clear that one player would be hard to beat in the count for the Peter Birchall Medal. Aydan Bailey was pushed hard in the votes by Bradley Slater but with Bradley playing out of his age group he was ineligible for the award. The round-by-round votes were closely watched to see who would emerge as the runner-up. The top five in the Peter Birchall Best and Fairest Medal were: Aydan Bailey, 52 votes; Bradley Slater (ineligible due to age) 48; Charlie Cooper, 25; Jude Bannister, 24; and Ruben Strong, 17 (ineligible due to age). Coach Ian Slater and assistant coach Ben Cooper presented the awards to their team. Most Improved (club award): Riley Stevens; Coaches Award (club award): Riley Kenyon; Coaches Award (sponsored): Samuel Clark; Most Consistent (club award): Bradley Slater. Leadership Awards (sponsored by Ian Slater): Taij Bennett, Reuben Strong, Kobe Strong and Bradley Slater.

Under-14 Boys assistant coach Ben Cooper, left, with best and fairest winner Aydan Bailey, coach Ian Salter and best and fairest runner-up Charlie Cooper.
Under-14 Boys assistant coach Ben Cooper, with award winners Riley Kenyon (coaches award), Kobe Strong (Leadership award), Bradley Slater (Most consistent and leadership awards), Riley Stevens (most improved), Sam Clark (Coaches award), Ruben Strong (leadership award) and coach Ian Slater.

AFTER a close count right across the rounds in the Geoff and Carol Horne Medal, the ever-consistent quiet achiever Liam Lowe emerged victorious. A few good few games late in the season saw him finish with the highest votes among the eligible players and was crowned the winner. The team’s captain and one of the people responsible for getting his side onto the oval each week, Nick Ransley, was named the runner up. The top five vote getters in the Geoff and Carol Horne Best and Fairest Award were: Liam Lowe, 29 votes; Nick Ransley, 25 votes; William Latham, 22 votes. Ineligible players (due to age) Riley Triffett polled an impressive 34 votes and Tyler Benson received 22 votes from just six games. Coach Nathan Browning and assistant coach and life member Tristan Triffett presented the team’s awards, which were sponsored by The Valley Sports Bar. Most improved: Toby Marriott; Coaches award: Nick Ransley; and Most Consistent: Liam Lowe.

Under-16.5 Boys runner-up best and fairest Nick Ransley, left, with best and fairest winner Liam Lowe.
Under-16.5 Boys coach Nathan Browning, left, with award winners Toby Marriott (most improved), Nick Ransley (coaches award) and Liam Lowe (most consistent), and assistant coach Tristan Triffett.

IN the race for the Cathy Adams Medal, the eventual winner appeared very early in the count when Brandi Sokolski took a huge 21-vote lead. As was the case in the other age groups, the runners-up count was a much more closely contested position. Kyah Abel had a few good games late in the season to overtake Olivia Lane who had been in the box seat for a fair few rounds. The top five in the Cathy Adams Best and Fairest Medal were: Brandi Sokolski, 42 votes; Kyah Abel, 21; Olivia Lane, 19; Kodi Stevenson, 17; Sophie McNeill, 16. Coaches Ben Rainbird and Jim Horne presented the following team awards, which were all sponsored by The Valley Sports Bar. Most Improved: Naomi Machin; Coaches Award: Maddison Krause; Most Consistent: Kodi Stevenson; and Best in Finals: Kodi Stevenson. The Coaches award (sponsored by Ben and Shannon Rainbird) went to Ashley Harwood.

Under-18 Girls best and fairest winner Brandi Sokolski, left, with runner-up best and fairest Kyah Abel.
Under-18 Girls coach Ben Rainbird with best and fairest winner Brandi Sokolski, assistant coach Jim Horne and runner-up best and fairest Kyah Abel.
Under-18 Girls coaches award winner Maddison Krause.
Naomi Machin won the most-improved award in the Under-18 Girls.
Kodi Stevenson won the awards for most consistent and best in finals.

AT the end of the best and fairest counting, attention turned to the Banjo’s New Norfolk Rising Star Award.
The nominees from each team were: Elsie Chaplin (Under-14 Girls), Aydan Bailey (Under-14 Boys), Tyler Benson (Under-16.5 Boys) and Brandi Sokolski (Under-18 Girls). All coaches spoke passionately and proudly of their players and their whole teams. In the end, the 2023 NNJFC Rising Star award was presented to young gun Elsie Chaplin by Kaitlin Booth, assistant manager of Banjo’s Bakery Cafe in New Norfolk. Elsie is a now a two-time best and fairest winner who has played more than 80 club games. She has been selected in development squads, polled well in the STJFL best and fairest count and most importantly is a leader on and off the field, quite often volunteering to assist in many extra tasks around the club including in the canteen and mentoring younger players.

Rising star winner Elsie Chaplin with her trophies.
Banjo’s New Norfolk assistant manager Kaitlin Booth, left, with rising star award winner Elsie Chaplin, Brandi Sokolski, Ayden Bailey and Tyler Benson.

THE NNJFC wishes all the players, families, sponsors and supporters a safe summer and we hope to see you all back again for the 2024 season.


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