Posted in Featured News , Front Page News , People of the SMJFL

It is what keeps football growing year on year but it is often the part of the game that goes underappreciated. It is the behind the scenes actions, away from the field of play that are not thought about when a club or league has success. At the SMJFL and AFL Victoria Awards night last Thursday, it was the clubs’, volunteers and coaches turn to be recognised for the devotion to making football enjoyable for everyone involved.

Below you will see all the winners and finalists of the awards that cover; the McDonald’s Volunteer of the Year and Leadership awards, SMJFL league awards and AFL Victoria Auskick and Coaching awards.


McDonald’s Volunteer of the Year Award – In presenting this award the SMJFL hopes to raise the recognition profile of volunteers, including those on match day, in teams, at venue operations. It is acknowledged that an army of volunteers run the SMJFL and this award aims to draw attention to the important contributions of those at club level outside of the Club Administrators and elected Committee.

Finalists – Jason Burt (Ormond JFC) – nominated for his time and effort fulfilling the role of Coach for the Ormond Under 16 squad. He has shown considerable initiative in the role, and always striving to be nurturing and inclusive in his coaching style. Providing feedback to players about on-field behaviours, but also taking time to educate the squad about social behaviours surrounding alcohol, drugs and social media.

Award Winner – Greg Briggs (St Peters FC)– Greg is a longstanding fixture at St Peters Football Club. For 27 years he has assumed a range of game-day roles, as well as holding various positions on the committee. He has demonstrated his enormous passion for the club and the game, going to notable lengths to fulfil his current role as Ground Manager.


McDonald’s Leadership Award – This award aims to reward and nurture those who stand out from the crowd with their enthusiasm, determination and effort in giving back to the junior football community. The McDonald’s SMJFL Leadership Award aims to help participants or umpires develop leadership skills such as organisation, communication and teamwork, as well as helping to build confidence and self-esteem as they take on responsibility of leading their peers and people within the SMJFL community.

Finalist – Ulyssess Urban (Ormond JFC) – nominated for his efforts and time in coaching an Under 10s team, while managing his own football and school commitments. He has a wonderful encouraging approach to the role and the players look up to him as a role model.

Award Winner – Kane O’Toole (St Peters FC) – Kane has demonstrated that he is a clear communicator and is positive in his ability to support his team and his club. He demonstrates his leadership qualities through encouraging positive attitudes and behaviour. He respects the differences in others and the strong culture of female football at the club. An attendee to a club facilitated forum ‘Taking the Tackle’ he soon became a champion of the cause, to end violence against women. By exemplifying the clubs values he was named as an ambassador for the Club’s heritage Round.


SMJFL Club Administrator of the Year – This award honours and recognises an exceptional volunteer who has contributed significant time and effort to the running of their SMJFL Member Club. The winner will be an SMJFL Club Administrator who has demonstrated exceptional contribution and commitment helping at club level towards operational goals, or in running a special event or program. They must fulfill a role on the elected Committee of their Member Club (Presidents, secretaries, and other committee members)

Finalists – Carrie Heath (Mordialloc Braeside JFC), and Kylie Saarinsen (Bentleigh JFC) – two ladies who work tirelessly for their club in committee roles. Both have been servicing for extended periods of time, 3 years and 5 years respectively. Both display a passion and desire to improve loal footy, and the kids who play it. Both home clubs are very proud of the work these women do.

Award Winner – Don Robertson (St Kilda City JFC Inc.) – Don has been an enormous contributor to the St Kilda City Junior Football Club over the past decade. He has carried responsibility for match-day roles, as well as various committee positions away from the field. He worked selflessly at the front and centre of not only club matters, but those concerning the league and junior football more broadly.


SMJFL Sportsmanship Award – This award was inspired by 2014’s Under 14 Division 1 East Sandringham team. Following a match-day administrative error, this team lost a Grand Final that they previously should have won. Their post-match behaviour exemplified outstanding sportsmanship and this was the inspiration for the SMJFL Sportsmanship Award, which is now an annual award.

Finalist – Bentleigh (Demons) Under 9 Team (Bentleigh JFC)  – nominated for their selfless support of a ‘brother’ team the Bentleigh (Saints) that were short-playered from the start of the season. The willingness to assist has enabled an undermanned team to have a full list every week and has shown a wonderful commitment to developing a club culture of support. A club level trophy was created to honor this sportsmanship.

Winner – East Sandringham Under 14 Div 1 team (East Sandringham JFC) – 


This season the East Sandringham Under 14 Division 1 Team illustrated this pride in their games, and a commitment to the team over individual success. The team felt the immediate effects of an accident involving East Sandringham Zebbie Will Murray. He was tragically left paraplegic after an accident in January this year. A talented footballer, himself and his family were a major part of the local community.

His former teammates played exhibition matches, wore orange socks and embraced a positive attitude in any way they could. People rallied and the Under 14 Zebbies became role models for peers and the broader community. This season they have never failed to be inclusive of him. Will is always made to feel like a mate rather than a ‘patient’.

The favourite part of each Sunday was their ability to be out on the ground. As a team, they played for their teammates – past and present. The collective character of this group of boys had been noted by many and they are very worthy recipients of the 2016 Sportsmanship Award.
SMJFL Volunteer Club Umpire of the Year – this award recognises the efforts of the SMJFL Volunteer Club Umpires. Called on to umpire the ever growing number of teams competing in the modified rules competitions, these dedicated umpires have a tough job. This award aims to recognise those that control the games with enthusiasm and passion for junior football. The finalists and winner all umpire with impressive patience and positive attitude to players of both teams. All our volunteer umpires should aim to give these young kids a solid grounding for their football careers.

Finalists – Chris Wright (Northvale JFC),  Charlie Sutherland (St Kilda City JFC Inc.),  Paul Healy (Mordialloc Braeside JFC),  Michael Lazzari (Bentleigh JFC), and Colin Lane (St Kilda City JFC Inc.)

Winner – Richard Ebbs (Ormond JFC) – Richard umpired all the Ormond under 9 Girls matches this season. Richards greatest strength is his genuine passion in creating an instructive and fun atmosphere for all participants. This was achieved from his previous experience, and observing the way the girls approached the game slightly differently to the boys. He seamlessly adapted his manner, and his role as umpire developed into a valuable on-field mentoring role for both team’s participants and parent groups. This combined with his caring and instructive personality made for a greatly enjoyable season all round.

Best Conducted Club of the Year – This award aims to recognise the exemplary behaviour of players, officials and spectators. Each week behaviour is assessed at the games, by the umpires. Clubs have embraced the feedback as they are able to nip any poor behaviour in the bud. Poor ratings were few and far between and the placings at the top of the ratings “ladder” were only decided by 1 to 2 percent. We are proud of clubs for the way they are run, how they took on board any feedback, and generally for their great behaviour in 2016.

Finalists – Brighton Beach JFC and Beaumaris JFC

Winner – Port Melbourne JFC

AFL Victoria Inner-Southern Region Awards 

Auskick Centre of the Year 

Finalists – Malvern District Auskick,  Bentleigh Auskick,  Murrumbeena Auskick, and Parkdale Auskick

Winner – South Melbourne Districts


Auskick Coordinator of the Year 

Finalists –  Paul Gleeson (Beaumaris), Chris Howley (Ormond), Stephen Zayler (Stonnington) and Michelle Peterson (Valkstone/St Pauls McKinnon)

Award Winner – Chris Chalmers (Dingley)


Auskick Coach of the Year 

Finalists – David Cafferkey (South Melbourne Disticts) and Glenn Stewart (Parkdale)

Award Winner – Kingsley Williams (Dingley)


Female Coach of the Year 

Finalists – Natalie Pribil (Mordialloc Braeside JFC), and Caroline Jones (Coatsville Auskick)

Award Winner – Karen Griffiths (Bentleigh Auskick)


Junior Coach of the Year 

Finalists – Ivan Bobetic (Mordialloc Braeside JFC), Chris Leeds (Hampton Rovers)

Award Winner – Michael Feferkranz (St Kilda City JFC Inc.)


Youth Coach of the Year 

Finalists – Dan Knopers (Mordialloc Braeside JFC), Mark Geschke (St Bedes/Mentone JFC), James Tyquin (St Bedes/Mentone JFC), and Hartley Stone (East Malvern JFC)

Award Winner – Rebecca Marshall (Port Melbourne Colts)


Special Recognition Award – Glenn Stewarts (Access All Abilities Program – Parkdale Auskick)

Outstanding Service to Australian Rules Football Award – Sandy Chalmers (Dingley Auskick)


Congratulations to all those recognised as finalists in the SMJFL & AFL Victoria Inner-Southern Region end-of-season Awards. It was a fantastic day of celebration and a big thank you to those that help run our league and Australian rules football programs within the Inner-Southern Region – We couldn’t do it without you!! See you in 2017!!