The Toyota AFL National Volunteer Awards recognise outstanding volunteer contributions across nine categories. We celebrate the Queensland nominees below in each of these categories. Thank you to these incredible volunteers and to everyone else in Queensland who generously donate their time to help make the game in Queensland an incredible success.
Queensland Community Volunteer – Taylah Pringle
A truly selfless servant of the game, Taylah always puts others and her club first. She takes on multiple volunteer roles every year, a commitment she has shown since she was a junior player.
As Captain of the Panthers women’s team, and club Vice President, she is an outstanding role model for young women in AFL. She has led her team to their inaugural premiership in 2018, all while developing and implementing the Rockhampton Panthers Mission statement and vision.
Since completing school Taylah has pursued studies in Sports Medicine. She now shares her experience as Trainer every Saturday for the Under 13, Under 14 and Under 17 teams, whilst maintaining her other official volunteer and playing commitments.
Supporting the broader Rockhampton community, Taylah has played a major role in the introduction of the Cystic Fibrosis Round with the Glenmore Football Club. This initiative has now evolved into a Charity Ball between both the Rockhampton Panthers and Glenmore Bulls, that has raised in excess of $12,000 for those in need. In all the total now sits at $30,000
While Taylah’s dedication to the Panthers alone makes her a worthy recipient of our Queensland volunteer of the year nomination, her passion for growing female football extends well beyond her own club. She played a major role in promoting youth girls’ football in 2018, leading to the establishment of a competition in 2019. 60+ girls now participate in the Capricornia regions youth girl’s competition, due largely to the determination of Taylah in establishing the competition. This in the heart of Rugby League territory.
Within the Capricornia youth girl’s competition Taylah now coaches her own team, while also playing the role of mentor to many young women involved in the game.
Queensland Auskick Volunteer – Rob Cray
2019 is the first year Rob took the lead as the Auskick coordinator for Kedron. His enthusiasm and drive for the development of the game encouraged others to get involved with the club. Rob places an enormous emphasis on other volunteers to ensure they enjoy the experience and have the resources to deliver the program successfully for the participants. After only one week, Rob also began leading the Kids Squad members, owning and driving the Auskick program for Kedron with huge success. He is extremely well respected in the footy community and has a positive effect on all involved.
Volunteering is a passion of Rob’s. It comes naturally to him and is something he gets great satisfaction from. Rob wants to progress the game and understands the importance of providing a positive and enjoyable experience for participants and other volunteers at grassroots footy. He understands that through his role with the Auskick program, has the opportunity to provide a high level experience for participants starting their footy journey. Rob is an advocate for the Auskick program and works extremely hard to ensure the Club sustains is position as an Auskick powerhouse in Queensland. The highlight for Rob is simply seeing the kids and their parents getting involved and having fun playing footy. He enjoys being in a position to positively influence the experience of Auskick participants. Rob always ensures he is on time and well organised. This means that the kids can get straight into the program when they arrive and are always engaged. He is extremely well liked by the kids and always makes sure every participant walks away after each session wanting to come back. He is exceptional at varying the activities and games each session so the kids feel like they are learning something new every week.
Rob understands the importance of building strong relationships with local schools. He has successfully promoted Auskick to schools around the Kedron area to boost Auskick numbers and has also joined forces with 2 other local clubs to ensure participants have a ‘next play’ option. This initiative has significantly boosted transition numbers in the local footy community.
Queensland Diversity Volunteer – Kelly Barron
Kelly was the key driver after meeting with Meg Pullinger (AFLQ) to discuss how we (AFLQ) could engaged 15-25yrs from a diverse background.
Kelly along with Meg developed an 8 week program that introduced over 90 male and females aged 15-25 years old to Australian Football. The program covered such topics as basic skills, umpiring, match play and will be taking a group of the 30 most high engaged students to watch the Brisbane Lions at the Gabba towards the end of the 2019 season.
This program has introduced 90 new people to Australian Football and has seen a large majority want to either take up playing or umpiring footy. A great feel good story and one that opens up new opportunities for recruitment across both playing and officiating.
Queensland Disability Inclusion Volunteer – Cheryl Haack
Cheryl Haack has held various roles on the committees of Gold Coast Recreation & Sport, Special Olympics Gold Coast and Special Olympics Queensland for in excess of 10 years. Many families and athletes have benefited from her drive, passion and commitment to provide opportunities for people with disabilities. In more recent years through Gold Coast Recreation and Sports involving with the AFL, Cheryl has been heavily involved in support of the QLD AFL Inclusion Team.
Cheryl has been involved since the start of the program 5 years ago, providing her expertise in welfare and player management while away at the National Inclusion carnival and helping AFLQ develop the below list of procedures that we consider vital to the success of our State inclusion program.
Queensland Junior Coach Volunteer – Wayne Poole
Wayne Poole has been a leader at the Jindalee Jags for over 16 years. He has held numerous roles from volunteering, stepping up to be the President, taking up the role as Coach Coordinator through to his greatest love coaching.
Wayne first completed his coaching accreditation in 2003. This year he coached the Under 12’s and was challenged by having his team play in the Division 1 McDonalds Cup despite his team more likely being more competitive in Division 2. There was some unrest from the players parents feeling the challenge was to great. Along the way they had some big defeats. It was challenging managing the parent’s expectations, but he did not shy away from communicating with them.
Despite this Wayne made the training and match program enjoyable for his players. He set out to ensure they all felt a sense of belonging to the club, concentrating on developing skills, building relationships between players and setting problem solving ‘game sense’ challenges for them along the way. After splitting the competition in half for the finals Wayne’s team was beaten in the last round by 150 points. Again, the parents were concerned for their kids and wanted to forfeit from the finals to save any embarrassment. One of the parents said let’s ask the kids what they would like to do. They all wanted to play and experience playing in finals and despite the results they were having fun. The following week Wayne’s team, the Jindalee Jags U12 side, won by 8 goals. All the hard work was starting to pay off. The AFL Brisbane Juniors have had so much feedback from other coaches on the positivity of Wayne program and how he interacts with his players.
Queensland Senior Coach Volunteer – Mark Wallin
The success of the Yeppoon Swans Senior group over the past five years speaks for itself regarding Mark’s ability to lead a Senior Team. Mark along with his club committee built a strong club from their junior program with a lot of the players having started in the Under 8’s.
Under Mark’s leadership the Swans have collected four Premierships and a Queensland state record of 66 games undefeated. Mark’s ability to get his squad back on the field each year and buy in to do the hard yards together in the off-season is credit to his and the team’s success. The regional success of Mark was further exemplified this year with his selection on the Coaching Staff of the North Queensland Senior Men’s Representative team.
Mark consistently attends coach AFL education sessions in a bid to improve his coaching and lead his players. Mark has also been inspired to raise money to Fight MND by setting up his own page. Thus far having raised $1,500. Each year Mark looks to nurture the Swans youth players into the senior team.
In all Mark has a great ability to lead young men, role model his behavior and has a great understanding of the importance community connection and contribution with his football club and players.
Queensland Community Primary School Coach Volunteer – Kurt Gislingham
Kurt ensures that his school is actively participating in AFL. His efforts have seen Gave State School participate in Auskick. Footy Frenzies, Everyone Matters – our year 4 curriculum program, as well as enter 1 primary female and 2 primary male teams into the AFLQ Schools Cup this year.
Kurt also coordinates an exceptional inter-school AFL competition. Kurt’s comms are outstanding,
ensuring a well-run, enjoyable competition for all schools involved. In 2018 Gaven State School became State Champions after they won the Primary Male Division of the AFLQ Schools Cup and this year, their primary male team has once again made Finals as regional winners of the Gold Coast North qualifiers.
Queensland Community Senior School Coach Volunteer – Andrew Grubba
Andrew has actively promoted AFL to all students under his care by securing staff from AFLQ to come into the college to run sessions with sessions with the students as part of the teaching of the HPE curriculum. This promotion of AFL enabled the college to enter two teams in the AFLQ Schools Cup for the first time in 2018, with the college’s year 4-6 girl’s team finishing 3rd in the state and the boy’s year 4-6 team finishing as runners up in the regional stage of the competition. To build on this success and to ensure even more students had an opportunity to experience Australian Rules Football and the benefits of physical activity in general, Andrew established the AFL Academy at the college at the start of 2019.
There are currently close to 350 students now part of the academy program. As a result, the college entered 15 teams in this year’s AFLQ Schools Cup, including an Under 15 Male Inclusion team. This amount of interest in AFL at the college is solely down Andrew’s passion, dedication and
determination to ensure the students at the college benefit physically, mentally and socially from
the inclusive nature of AFL. Andrew also won the “Student’s Choice – Teacher of the Year” Award, proving how much his student’s appreciate his passion and dedication.
Queensland Community Umpiring Service Volunteer – Luca Bisogni
Luca committed to the Co coaching role of the Brisbane Junior competition in 2019 along with his field umpiring pursuits in the QAFL. This required a commitment of 3 nights per week for the season as well as countless coaches meetings and other nights on the phone organising weekly appointments.
Luca made time to make himself known to the football operations staff in the office and his drive to improve the culture in the juniors space was evident to all with his action plans and team engagement.
To further prove Luca’s commitment, he recently formally met with AFLQ staff to present a list of findings from 2019 as well as recommendations for the junior space in 2020. This shows he wants to identify deficiencies as well as be part of the solution to change our community landscape.
The AFLQ Umpiring department first met Luca in 2014 when the number 2 heritage list umpire was inducted to the inaugural year of the revamped State Umpiring Academy. Luca spent two years on the panel whilst commuting from northern NSW and after graduating in 2016 returned to umpire a year of local football and commence a role as Development Coordinator for AFL Queensland. In 2018 Luca decided to return to the High Performance group where he has consistently umpired as well as giving back to the State Umpiring program in a mentorship capacity. Luca demonstrates the values required to retain a vast array of umpiring types hence receiving our nomination.
National Award Winners Press Release: https://www.afl.com.au/news/520763