We are delighted to announce the Top 20 finalists of the Club Legend award 2017.
Now you can have your say, by reviewing each finalist and casting a vote for the unsung hero who has demonstrated commitment, selflessness and/or an ability to inspire others.
The finalist with the most votes will win the prestigious People’s Choice award and receive $2,000 for themselves and their club.
Voting closes October 4.
From sports trainer to coach, President to Technical Director even grill cook, you name it, Josip has done it.
When he came to the club our juniors were at 70 players, with his leadership that rose to 150 in one year and now sits at over 300.
He also lobbied government for to help support a facilities upgrade at the club and managed to successfully bring vital funding for new change rooms to accommodate the player growth.
Josip has introduced the club to new migrant communities in recent years to provide a sporting pathway to community integration for new Australians in the region, to which the club provides sports scholarships.
Josip helps other clubs with their trials and is part of the region’s Leadership Board implementing a vision and strategy for football and it’s communities, along the way creating invaluable relationships that benefit all those that football touches.
Tamika joined Bell Post Hill as a junior netball player in 2007 and that year Bell Post Hill won a premiership over a previously unbeaten Corio.
Since this time Tamika has also won senior premiership flags with Bell Post Hill while taking out several clubs best and fairest awards.
In 2008, Tamika started coaching the under 13 junior netball team and has continued to coach at junior and senior levels.
Tamika has served on the committee as a general member, treasurer and more recently as the Netball Club Vice President.
This year Tamika started the Bell Post Hill netball academy teaching over 80 juniors the skills they need to play, mentor, coach and umpire.
Tamika is also the coach of the Bell Post Hill all abilities team. She has guided this group to great success and helped them gain valuable physical, coordination, communication and social skills. Tamika is a selfless individual who willingly gives her time to develop both the juniors and those with a disadvantage.
Our gorgeous 70-year-old Lyn Toll has been at our club for many years. She helps with everything from running the kitchen to cleaning the club rooms, she has also been a committee member for some time. Lyn will often drive some of the refugee members who do not have access to transport to and from training and their games.
Lyn is the heart and soul of Geelong Rangers, always there to open up the club rooms and is still there at the end to turn off lights and lock up.
Lyn is at every senior match to cheer on the team and goes to as many junior games as she can. She is welcoming and would help anyone in need, finding boots for kids when they haven’t got a pair and has even been known to put her own hand in her pocket to help when needed.
You would struggle to find someone as dedicated, caring and loving as our Lyn Toll.
Dave has been a member of Ocean Grove Surf Life Saving Club (OGSLC) for over 50 years. In that time, he has been a regular competitor at Surf Life Saving Carnivals and particularly proficient on the single and double surf ski’s where he has obtained numerous gold medals at the State Masters Championships.
Dave has been a patrolling member of OGSLC for 51 years. He has never missed a rostered patrol. It is estimated that over his time patrolling, he would have patrolled the Ocean Grove beach for over 3000 hours.
Dave has mentored generations of Surf Life Savers and is one of the original group of developers of the IRB, the rubber duck that is used for the majority of surf rescues in Australia. Dave is also an active member of the disabled surf rider’s association and provides invaluable support for people with disabilities to enjoy surfing in a safe supportive environment. Dave Renton is a true local hero!
John is an amazing role model and has almost single handedly resurrected the Geelong Gaels GAA team.
Former President, he is currently the club Secretary.
He is also goalkeeper, free taker, key organiser for training and matches and motivator on the pitch.
He is a natural leader, who above all else he is passionate and determined. Without him the club would have folded.
He is always looking forward to the club’s future and organises family days and annual fundraising events.
Somehow he has created an integrated team of young Irish Emigrants and some local footy players to become a solid band of brothers. He successfully merged our fledgling club with a local AFL team the Geelong West Giants to finally give us a place to call home.
He has reinvigorated the love for the game in older players who would otherwise have retired. He’s also managed to spread the gospel and we have the biggest Australian contingent of any team.
Overall a great man.
Bill Polwarth (OAM) is our property steward and has been at our club for over 27 years. Bill is a massive part of our club family and looks after all players whenever they need anything. He has hit 83 years of age and although deteriorating health has impacted him in recent times he continues to work tirelessly and loves being around the club and its people. Bill in his time at the club has maintained the ground (including ground marking and watering), carted equipment between grounds and provided everything necessary for training and games. He has been the heart and soul of the club and has provided so much to so many within our community without complaint. I continually speak to others, especially our younger players, and encourage them to highlight the work and time that Bill has contributed and to ensure this work is acknowledged and respected by all. He is an inspiration to me and the many past and present players and supporters of our club.
Mary is a significant contributor to both Little Athletics and Seniors Athletics at Geelong. She has been the President and Registrar at Athletics Chilwell (Seniors) for the last 21 years along with assisting as an Athletics Coach for last 12 years.
She has also been the Assistant Co-Ordinator for Cross Country, Twilight Trot (runs) Assistant Co-ordinator, Geelong Athletics Board member, Chilwell Little Athletics – Team Manager, Registrar & Treasurer and Chilwell Little Athletics – Club Coach.
Mary has also been heavily involved with Netball across Newtown and Geelong West including umpiring, coaching, playing and being a committee member and vice president.
Mary has received five Life Memberships as recognition of her amazing volunteering contribution to sport over the last 30 years. Mary is an amazing advocate for athletics in Geelong and her warmth, generosity of spirit along with her unwavering time commitment makes her a true club legend!!
Sadat works in the disability area with Encompass and brings those professional carers skills to our club. He is our Juniors Manager and Coach, and also looks after the majority of our multi class competitors including those with special needs including Down Syndrome, Intellectual Impairment and Deafness.
Sadat has helped our club facilitate the Down Syndrome Swimming Association National Meet this year in September and has been assigned as a Carer for the Down Syndrome International Swimming Team.
Sadat is a former President of our club and held that voluntary position for six. He has been associated with us since his son started swimming some 10 years ago. Sadat lives the Values of respect and inclusiveness and he has enriched the lives of so many young people through his club involvement whether it be from committee level, coaching or parent.
Sadat is a true legend of the Geelong Swimming Club.
Rebecca joined our Club in 2003 as a player and has played a total of 187 games. In 2005, she starting her coaching career and to date has coached over 45 teams. Rebecca is an integral member of our club with her multiple roles as coach, player, mentor, junior co-ordinator, recruiter and other duties in and out of season.
Rebecca is a wonderful role model and mentor to our young netballers, who have the highest respect and admiration for her. Her natural ability to build rapport with the players and their parents is a credit to her and an asset to our club. The club awards the best and fairest U17 medal in her name as a tribute to her dedication to her netballers.
Rebecca also developed a ‘try netball’ clinic. This is a free clinic and she kindly gives up her time to run the program to encourage young people to play netball that may not be able to afford the costs of a NetSetGo program.
Dolphins Basketball Club was founded in and is based in the Northern suburbs of Geelong. Fiona Gray is a founding member of the club and remains currently active as the Treasurer.
Over our 20 years Fiona has been a committed member of the club and held club positions such as committee member, treasurer, secretary and president. Even as her adult children have reduced their participation in the club, Fiona has continued as our treasurer managing our financial relationships and is proactive in identifying and assisting our members in reducing the cost barriers to participating. Fiona has demonstrated ongoing commitment to the club, has been a positive influence in our community and a contributing factor in facilitating participation rates of children from lower socio economic regions in basketball.
Fiona has always been a pillar of strength in our club. She helps at all of our fundraising events, organises trophies for presentation days and keeps a tight grip on our finances.
Vic Fuller epitomises a Club Legend to every Geelong Football Club coach and player.
He has devoted 41 years to the Club, and AFL Victoria has formally saluted his extraordinary volunteer services, presenting him with the prestigious Alec Gillon award to acknowledge auspicious service to the game of AFL.
Vic, 74, started four decades ago nurturing the Cats little league under-11s. He then moved on to manage the under-17 scholarship squad and has managed the reserves and VFL teams for 32 years.
He’s the Cats AFL match day doorman, been interchange steward and team board man, still spends about 40 hours a week at the club, and every bit of it has been as a volunteer.
Most importantly, he’s the source of countless laughs and happy days at work which not only players but staff in all departments are so grateful for.
He is also a justice of the peace and has devoted time to countless community organisations including the former United Way, Jaycees, Geelong Australia Day committee and Guild Cricket Club.
Craig does an absolute power of work on training nights, game days, in fact any day of the week where something needs doing. He is always the first bloke there and the last one to leave.
Craig is always doing things behind the scenes that people don’t realise need doing. These things vary from emptying bins to replacing light globes to following up new leads on a new player he may have heard about being interested in playing. On game day he is the third base coach of both our A Grade and A Reserve teams. Training nights he will always do things to make a player better, from hitting them extra ground balls or fly balls, to throwing them extra batting practice. He also makes both teams the best batch of cordial known to man. Craig is the absolute backbone of our club. He never asks for a helping hand. He gets in and gets the job done. If every club had a Craig Durston, the sporting world would be a much better place!
Jill Delahunty is a member of Special Olympics Australia, an organisation for people aged 8 and over with an intellectual disability to train and participate in sport. Jill is a pocket-sized dynamo, who makes a huge contribution to our community.
She has been a valuable member of the local Special Olympics Barwon committee for 15 years, becoming Vice Chair in 2010 and Chairperson since 2012. She attends local meetings, supports fundraising, travels to Melbourne for State meetings and has contributed to Special Olympics Australia working parties.
Jill has been a constant support for athletes. She started as an assistant swim coach, then became the tennis coach, attending competitions locally and interstate. In 2008, she became the Aquatics Team Manager and coach.
Jill also chairs the Special Olympics Victoria Athlete Leadership Program (ALP), mentoring athletes to become ambassadors to support fellow athletes and help promote Special Olympics. The program is recognised as the best within Special Olympics Australia.
Mandi Cole is a deserving Legend of the Geelong Guild Athletic Club. She is an elite athlete, an accomplished coach, an advocate for disability athletes, a committed mentor, a dedicated committee member, promotor of athletics and of the club.
Mandi has walked the walk in athletics, holding state records in pentathlon and 400m hurdles.
A highly accredited coach, Mandi supports novice to international standard athletes and over the last 25 years has coached over 100 able bodied athletes to State, National and International level.
She is an exponent for disability athlete and has coached six athletes with a disability to international competitions including the Paralympics and World Championships in wheelchair, cerebral palsy and intellectual disability divisions.
Serving on the Geelong Guild Athletic Club committee for over 20 years she is front and centre for every BBQ fundraiser, Trivia night, social function and committee meeting.
Carmel was one of a small group of founding members of the Geelong Canoe Club. For 36 years she has been a volunteer for the Club and championed the fundraising efforts to convert what was an old soap factory to a thriving hub for paddle sports.
Carmel has been the driving force behind the organisation’s development, growing the club from a few adventurous paddlers getting changed at the Balyang Sanctuary carpark, to the 200+ member strong club.
Carmel has been one of a few highly successful female paddlers in what is traditionally a male dominated sport and provides a role model/advocate for gender equity. She was the founder of the club’s Women on Water program, her influence has assisted the club achieve female membership of over 50%.
Carmel also manages the club’s beginner and school paddling programs, sharing her knowledge a with young paddlers and introducing newcomers to our sport. No-one else can do what Carmel can do, no one else is that driven or that focussed.
Kevin is the president of Surfside Waves Soccer Club here in Ocean Grove. Not only president but also grounds line-painter and illuminator, player, Board Member, Committee Member, coach of four teams, soccer-players’ dad, semi-coordinator of MiniRoos, canteen-stockist and barista, advisor, club- and training-rooms unlocker, defender, reporter, substitute ref, sounding-board, linesman… Kev is ever-present, always positive and a fierce ambassador for Surfside Waves to be a Club which welcomes and embraces everyone… He dedicates his time to the Club to promote community of spirit in respectful, proud and compassionate people, sharing and belonging together with the game of football as a common passion. And finally, he always has time to chat with the kids who play soccer, a role model showing that sport is a positive and fantastic way of enjoying community.
Susan has been an oracle for the last 19 years, in particular as the Senior Secretary and Mid-Week Secretary for our Association. She liaises with other clubs, and is really seen as the face of Tennis in Geelong. She is very approachable, patient and level-headed, and is one of the main reasons that inter-club competition Tennis in Geelong is still doing well. She is always happy to help with other Executive Committee members helping them settle in, and providing them any assistance they have needed.
Susan has taken the initiative to upgrade our computer recording system, as our current system is old and time consuming. This will ensure our sport is current and more user friendly for our future volunteers.
As a player, Susan is a great example of how people should conduct themselves on the court. She is very familiar with the rules, is respectful of her opposition and clearly enjoys the game and loves to see it thrive.
For over four decades Claire has held executive committee positions or convenor roles, often concurrently holding multiple administrative and coaching positions at Newtown City Hockey Club (NCHC) and in the Geelong Hockey Association.
Claire’s contribution has ensured the long term success of the Club which is now the largest regional hockey club in Victoria with 313 members.
Claire’s greatest contribution is in the area of recruitment and junior development. She has established strong links with local schools and works with beginners to guide them in their development. She delivers community beginner hockey programs, has developed a hockey program for U6 participants and the first non-competitive social hockey program for beginners and participants of all levels in Geelong.
Claire exhibits strong leadership within the Club and the Association. She conducts herself in a professional manner and treats all players, coaches, and officials with respect. She is admired by all in the Geelong hockey community.
Roger has been a role model at the North Geelong Cricket Club for over 50 years. In this time he would have volunteered thousands of hours, and has been a player, coach, captain, mentor, fundraiser, president and treasurer, groundsman and club advocate.
Roger has recruited and supported many disadvantaged kids from the northern suburbs to play cricket with the club and has instilled new confidence and life skills in many who may not have a father figure. He has mentored several young players to become adult committee members and administrators who have then been able to take that experience to their professional lives.
Roger initiated and delivered at least 80 free cricket clinics for kids which also played an integral part in the success of the club at a junior level. This is significant as there are no feeder schools close by. He quietly organises uniforms, transport, discounted fees for disadvantaged kids and makes sure no one misses out because of financial strains.
He is a humble, giving man and quiet achiever who has developed a family and inclusive culture at our club. Our Best Clubman trophy now bears his name after he refused to accept it again, choosing to reward the efforts of others instead.
On any given day you will see Roger preparing wickets, fixing fences, cleaning out sheds, meeting with local council, working the bar, promoting the club or welcoming new players and their families. Affectionately known as Mr North Geelong. He is our club legend.
Having been at the club for over 45 years, 81 year old Len has made an incredible impact on the Newtown & Chilwell Football Netball Club. On top of his junior coaching roles, he marks up the ground, washes jumpers, cleans the rooms and often gets out on the ground in a trainer capacity.
Len has won 14 consecutive Best Clubman awards, an award he dominated so much, that it has now been named in his honour. Despite some health problems, Len rarely misses a training session and is the first person at the ground on game day. Len is both respected and revered by many generations of our members and continues to be the ultimate example of selfless volunteering.