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The South Metro Junior Football League (SMJFL) is celebrating the success of its first public online event.

The SMJFL’s 2020 Presentation Night, presented by league Major Partner Monash University, premiered last night.

The league invited all of its 11,000 players, umpires, volunteers, partners and stakeholders, clubs and their administrators to celebrate the year that was.

Although the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic sadly meant the league was unable to offer a season in a traditional format, there was plenty to celebrate on the evening.

Hosted by Monarch SMJFL Umpire Academy Manager Cameron Watts, the evening was filled to the brim with awards and honours for SMJFL community members, first kicking off with the presentation of the Monash University Leader of the Year.

There were six nominees from SMJFL clubland nominated for the prestigious award, including Sam Raskin and Lucas McGrath from Highett JFC, Ryan McKenzie from South Melbourne Districts, Caitlin Tampion from St Pauls McKinnon JFC, and Ethan Rundle from St Peters FC.

The honour was awarded to Tommy Haydon from Prahran JFC, who was the Monash University Leader of the Month in May.

Tommy was nominated for his efforts in raising $945 for kids to play football in 2020 with his ‘1000 goals to kick COVID away so we can play’ campaign.

Tommy was given the award by Daniel Keenan from Monash University, who spoke highly of Tommy’s initiative to support families who may not have been able to afford playing football.

“You thought of how devastated you would be if your parents couldn’t afford for you to play… Tommy is the perfect recipient of the Monash University Leadership Award for 2020.”

Tommy thanked Monash University and the league for the honour, and recognised the achievements of his fellow nominees.

“You all did very well and I just want to thank you for the award. You’re all very worthy of the award,” said Tommy.

Monash University Leader of the Year Tommy Haydon accepts his award

The evening also featured the Storage King Volunteer of the Year Award, awarded to Steve Foulds from Malvern JFC, and the OpenCorp Club Administrator of the Year, awarded to Kellie Lea from Dingley JFC.

The evening was also graced by plenty of sporting superstars. Saints and former-SMJFL players Max King and Ryan Byrnes made an appearance, sending a message of encouragement to the league from the hub up North.

The league was also fortunate enough to welcome Australian Cricket legend Mel Jones OAM, who discussed the current sporting environment in relation to COVID-19, plus her deep passion for grassroots sports.

Thank you to our many special guests, partners, stakeholders and SMJFL community for joining us for a night of celebration.

The Monarch SMJFL Umpire Academy Presentation Night will also premiere later this year.

Missed the event? Watch below: