SANFL announces 2022 Hostplus Volunteer of the Year finalists

By SANFL Media

SANFL is delighted to announce the six finalists shortlisted for the 2022 Hostplus Volunteer of the Year Award.

The outstanding volunteers, nominated from metropolitan and regional areas across the state, are now in the running to be South Australia’s volunteer of the year, to be announced at the annual SANFL Community Volunteers awards night at Adelaide Oval on October 14.

Now in its sixth year, the SANFL Hostplus Volunteer of the Year Award aims to highlight those individuals who have provided outstanding voluntary service to community football in South Australia.

The finalists, who have been nominated and endorsed by either their club or league for their significant contribution to grassroots football, are:

Meagan Abbott – Tailem Bend Football Club

Phillip Bigg – Blyth Snowtown Football Club

Joy Edwards – Macclesfield Football Club

Danny McNamara – Fitzroy Football Club

Gavin Turner – Tea Tree Gully Football Club

Stephen Young – Athelstone Football Club

View more details of each finalist below.

SANFL Chief Executive Officer Darren Chandler congratulated the six finalists, as well as all the local legends who were nominated this year for their work behind the scenes at a grassroots level to make football in SA great.

“From running club match days, fundraising and making sure teams take to the field every weekend, to dealing with the ongoing challenges of living in a pandemic, volunteers are the lifeblood of our footy clubs,” Mr Chandler said.

“These six finalists are tremendous ambassadors for the thousands of South Australian volunteers who go above and beyond on and off the field, ensuring the future sustainability of community football clubs right across the State.”

Hostplus Chief Executive Officer David Elia said Hostplus takes great pride in recognising the contribution of volunteers through the Hostplus Volunteer of the Year Award.

“Football plays such an important role as a community connector and contributor – a role that cannot be fulfilled without the generous time, and valuable skills, offered by thousands of volunteers,” Mr Elia said.

“On behalf of Hostplus I offer my sincere thanks to these everyday South Australians who give their time as administrators, coaches, trainers, scoreboard attendants, canteen attendants, and myriad other roles, for their immeasurable contributions to grass-roots football.”

As has become tradition, this year’s winner will be awarded the David Shipway AM Medal and the title of SANFL Hostplus Volunteer of the Year.

In recognition of their outstanding efforts, the SANFL Hostplus Volunteer of the Year winner also receives the following prizes:

  • 1 night’s accommodation for two people at the Serafino Winery McLaren vale, including a 3-course dinner and breakfast. During the stay, the winner will be provided a brand-new luxury Kia vehicle to explore the famous wine region in style.
  • 2 x Adelaide Oval Football Memberships, including reserved seats to all AFL Home games (excluding finals) in season 2023.
  • A $200 e-gift voucher redeemable anywhere in Australia where Mastercard is accepted, courtesy of the AFL.

2022 Hostplus Volunteer of the Year Finalists

Meagan Abbott – Tailem Bend Football Club

A vital member of the Tailem Bend Football Club, Meagan has been a committee member for 23 seasons as well as secretary for the past 15 seasons.

Meagan’s vast knowledge and insight into the functioning of the club has been a significant factor in the huge improvement of the club’s performance both on and off field.

Taliem Bend has transitioned from a struggling club, surviving from year to year, to a destination club which has strong junior numbers and very competitive senior teams.

Meagan has been fundamental to this success.

Meagan Abbott

Phillip Bigg – Blyth Snowtown Football Club

Phillip has been a loyal player, member, and administrator for the Blyth Snowtown Football Club for the last 30 years.

He has performed numerous duties for the Club and the League and has recently stepped into the role of Club President.

Phillip has been supportive of the North East Football League’s efforts to improve standards of behaviour across the competition, and has displayed great leadership at the Club by implementing a coaching review and appointment processes, with a greater focus on youth development.

Not only is he performing the role of President, Phillip is also the Under 14 coach, club delegate, goal umpire and hosted the club’s major fundraising event at his property.

Phillip Bigg

Joy Edwards – Macclesfield Football Club

Joy began volunteering in the canteen and then with the Ladies Auxiliary before taking on the role of Club Treasurer in 1980, a position she still holds today.

Instigating the club’s Hall of Fame, Joy remains a current member of the selection committee.

Joy provides a supportive environment for the junior and senior grades to encourage them to keep playing football in a welcoming and community environment.

Joy Edwards

Danny McNamara – Fitzroy Football Club

Danny McNamara’s passion for Fitzroy, and the community it serves, has seen it become the successful club – of more than 500 members – it is today.

Personally responsible for the wellbeing of players, coaches, team managers and support staff with his tireless dedication, Danny makes everyone at the Club feel welcome and part of the community.

His efforts have ensured a healthy growth in participation in junior football at the club, with junior girls heavily encouraged to participate in the game of football.

Danny has been instrumental in all school holiday programs and oversees our volunteer coaches in their endeavours to demonstrate how attractive football can be, especially to new Australian arrivals from overseas.

Danny McNamara

Gavin Turner – Tea Tree Gully Football Club

Gavin has been an integral part of the Tea Tree Gully Junior Football Club, volunteering his time, skills and energy across multiple roles for more than 10 years.

Currently the club’s Junior Football Director, Gavin is also the appointed Child Safe Officer whilst bringing a wealth of knowledge and professionalism to the Junior Committee.

Gavin has also recently been appointed to the newly established SANFL Junior Club Committee, which further displays the commitment, understanding and integrity he brings to community football.

Whilst undertaking all of the roles mentioned above, Gavin is also assistant coach to his youngest son’s team.

Gavin goes above and beyond and the priority he gives to the Club’s Juniors and the sporting code as a whole is truly outstanding.

Gavin Turner

Stephen Young – Athelstone Football Club

Stephen has been the President of Athelstone Football Club since 2002 whilst also serving as an executive committee member on the Adelaide Footy League board.

Stephen (or ‘Youngy’ as he’s more commonly known) is the ultimate all-rounder. You are just as likely to see Youngy cooking the BBQ or pumping up footys as you are rubbing shoulders with politicians to secure funding for facility re-development.

During his tenure, Stephen has overseen the club’s growth on field and off field with strong junior and women’s programs prominent features.

The sudden emergence of female football highlighted Athelstone’s facilities were not gender inclusive.

Having worked closely with all levels of government, Stephen helped secure funding in 2020 to re-develop the Max Amber Sportsfield, which was completed in July 2022.

Stephen is a stoic individual but to see him crying after the A grade won their first game at the re-developed venue demonstrates what Athelstone FC means to him.

Stephen Young

Sign up to receive the latest SANFL news straight to your inbox.