NSW Minister for Sport and Recreation Graham Annesley, Association Presidents, Life Members and other distinguished guests came together to recognise and acknowledge the elite few who have provided consistent and invaluable service at the community level.
The night kicked off with the presentation of the State Award winners. State Award winners are nominated by their Association in recognition of their tireless efforts and service to football in their local community.
The 2011 State Award Winners are as follows:
Wayne Fraser – Albury Association
Mark Ruhnau – Bankstown Association
Bob Williamson – Blacktown Association
Ann Williamson – Blacktown Association
Charles Tama – Canterbury Association
Bruce Drake – Canterbury Association (Posthumous award)
Darrell Hines – Dubbo Association
Judy Shoesmith – Eurobodalla Association
Susan Kinsey – Southern NSW Football
Danielle Foster – Football South Coast
Adrian Serafin – Griffith Association
Steve Goodwin – Macarthur Association
David Broughton – Manly Association
Richard Schotanus – Nepean Association
Buck Findlay – North West Sydney Women?s Football
Roberta Stone – Lachlan Association
Malcolm Stone – Parkes Association
Debbie Barling – Shoalhaven Association
Gary Poile – Southern Tablelands Association
Noel Shipley – Southern Districts Association
Giulio di Stefano – Sutherland Association
Andrew Mason – Football Wagga Wagga
Up next was the 2011 Fair Play Award. The Fair Play Award recognises those who have demonstrated outstanding sportsmanship and fair play during the footballing season.
Granville based side Pendle Hill (U13) fittingly scooped up the award after an inspiring act of goodwill and sportsmanship.
When a young player fell critically ill this year the last people he expected to hear from were his rivals from football. Player Scott Pirie and his team had enjoyed a running battle with Pendle Hill which spurned from last season?s Grand Final battle. Yet when 12 year old Scott was admitted to intensive care this year with a serious bacterial infection, that rivalry was put on hold.
Pendle Hill, led by captain Aidan Kelly, then put their heads together and decided to do something for Scott. They approached Coach Brian Kelly with the idea of raising money for Scott?s family, deciding to run a raffle the Saturday before a meeting with their rivals on the Sunday. The Pendle Hill U13s bought their own prizes and spent the entire Saturday exhausting tickets. The following day they presented Pirie?s family with a Get Well card along with the money raised for Scott.
In times when winning seems to be everything, it was great to see a team of young boys show such kindness and compassion both on and off the football pitch.
The nights major gong, The George Churchward Medal ? which is awarded to an individual who has exemplified long serving and ongoing commitment to the sport ? was awarded to Southern Branches? Joan Robertson.
Joan started out in football in 1964 as a parent and volunteered for canteen duties as well as washing player strips. In 1970 Joan and her husband Andrew?s son joined Granville Soccer club where again she became involved with the club as a volunteer and also joined Granville Association as a Recorder. In 1972 their other son David joined Castle Hill where Joan became team manager, worked in the canteen and washed the teams playing strips.
1976 saw Joan elected as Secretary of Granville Association for three years before moving to the Highlands where it was not long before she held the positions with Highlands Association as Registrar and Assistant Secretary which she held for many years before becoming Association Secretary. In 1992 Joan became Delegate to Southern Branch and Secretary of Branch from ?92 to ?97 and re-elected to this position again in 1999 and is still the current Secretary in 2011. During this time Joan has also held the position of Delegate to Football NSW and has given over 17 years of service to the Branch.
Joan has also contributed at State level since 2002 as Delegate to Football NSW and a member of the Council of Associations Committee, the Association?s Consultation Committee and remains a current member of the Football NSW Junior?s Standing Committee.
During this time Joan, and her late husband Andrew, have been sponsors of the Robertson Cup in recognition of the cup donated by her late Father-in-law Sam Robertson a Glaswegian Professional Player in the early 1900?s.
Joan was awarded Life membership of Highlands Football Association in 1992 and Life membership of Southern NSW Football in 2005. In 2009 Joan was awarded a State Award by Football NSW and in 2010 was awarded Life Membership of Football NSW.
Football NSW congratulates Joan Robertson on winning the 2011 George Churchward Medal.