I rise to speak about the 2017 South West Football League season. This year was historic, with the league being the first in regional WA to have a fully aligned women’s competition. Congratulations president Barry Tate and general manager John Vidos for your strong leadership. Every young woman who played created history.
The Bunbury Football Club created history as well, by winning the inaugural women’s premiership, defeating the Harvey Bulls Football Club by three points in a nailbiter. The Bulls were leading when the Bulldogs’ Lilly Taylor kicked the winning goal with just minutes to go. Bulldogs workhorse Karen Cowley was named Player of the Match, following a standout season. Their key forward, Trisha Lake, had a brilliant year, winning the inaugural fairest and best medal—a sensational achievement. Lake won the medal ahead of South Bunbury’s Katie Grieve, who’s been drafted by Carlton— congratulations, Katie!—and ahead of Karen Cowley and Harvey’s Larissa Versaci, who also had great seasons.
Kai Luzi led the way for the Bulldogs, who won the colts premiership by 27 points over Harvey Brunswick Leschenault. In the reserves, South Bunbury ended HBL’s 39-game-winning streak, winning by two goals. Tigers forward Kale Francis was best on ground, kicking three goals. The Bunbury Football Club had a great premiership day, defeating HBL in the league. Full forward Matt Martin kicked four majors, and the Bulldogs won their eighth premiership. Aiden Clarke won the Pike medal, being best on ground.
Congratulations to the premiership coaches across the four grades: Trisha Lake, Troy Hollands, Kane Westbrook and Jamie Nani. They’ve each developed their teams this year and etched their names in history. I congratulate them. I also take the opportunity to thank and congratulate Glenn Omodei, WA Football Commission’s south-west regional development manager, who ensures the game continues to grow through the region from the grassroots level up. And a special mention to Kevin Nettleton, who has the record for the most games umpired as a field umpire: 698 games. That’s a fantastic achievement.
Country and community football is really critical. I know in my small community of Harvey how important the AFL football club is. Often these clubs are the glue that holds communities together. There are so many volunteers, right through from Auskick with the little kids to the seniors in the league and the wonderful pathway it offers our people through to the AFL level. It offers opportunities for social interaction, with great role models and strong leadership. They’re great clubs. I congratulate them on their season.