Northern NSW Football is delighted to announce the recipients of its Local Champion Awards for July.
The NNSWF Local Champion Awards are a monthly recognition of individuals and teams who make a difference across the football family as we thank them for their commitment to their club, team, community and football.
Club of the Month
Narrabri Junior Soccer Club
For Samantha Lubke-Wood, Narrabri Junior Soccer Club is more a family and a community than a football club.
The club have worked tirelessly through the many adversities and challenges it has faced in recent years, with its committee holding a strong focus on the future of the club.
“It’s the people that make the club. They do so much and they do it with a smile on their face,” Lubke-Wood said.
“I played here as a junior all the way through and I’m still playing now. I took on the role of secretary 12 months ago and it’s been really good. It’s such a family orientated club.
“Without the club itself we just wouldn’t have any soccer. Without the volunteers and committee nothing would go ahead. Danny Laws is a wonderful president who goes above and beyond. All our other committee turn up in the freezing cold some mornings to get everything done.
“We’re definitely here for the community.”
Narrabri JSC have more than 300 registered players this season and have recently developed a plan to further improve its home at Gately Field to give more people the opportunity to play football.
“We would love to make [our ground] more accessible. We hopefully want to apply for a couple of grans in conjunction with our council to make it more female friendly with proper changeroom facilities,” Lubke-Wood said.
The club also have a strong focus on increasing and developing female participation, having been part of the pilot Namoi Women’s League. Narrabri JSC are also looking to be proactive in the new NSW Football Legacy Fund to benefit the Narrabri football community as part of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023.
“We have 20 registered female participants this season. We started with the pilot league that kicked off this season and had a couple of gala days where we invited women from other areas to come and have a play and get a love for the sport,” Lubke-Wood said.
“I’m the female participation officer at the club as well and getting mums off the sideline and out there to have a go is the big goal. It’s so hard for mums and parents in general to find time for themselves.
“[With the Legacy Fund] we’d love to have our facilities upgraded so they’re female friendly and upgrade our ground as well and put up lights so we can use the fields during winter and summer.
“We also want to encourage more female coaches to come through and get formally qualified and hopefully foster some up and coming female referees.”
It has been a busy time for Narrabri JSC, with its under-13s team representing the club at the National Primary School Games in Tamworth last month.
The club will also host its Graeme Sunderland Memorial Carnival this weekend in honour of Narrabri’s former president, with 62 junior male and female teams making their way to Gately Field to compete.
Zandalea is a great coach and role model for all women and girls in football. She wears her heart on her sleeve and lives and breathes football.
As well as being a coach to her under-12s team Zandalea is also a friend and protector and is always there when her players need someone to talk to.
She puts so much time and effort into each training session and goes the extra mile to get players to training and games and find alternate venues.
Winning comes second behind enjoyment, with Zandalea looking to make her players as passionate about football as she is.
Marlo is in his second year as goalkeeper for the North Coast Football NPL Boys NNSW under-16s team. He is highly respected as a player and is regarded as an integral member of his team.
Marlo played for NCF’s under-15s and 16s team last year with excellent results. He travel four times per week from Maclean to Coffs Harbour for training as well as weekend games in Newcastle, often travelling more than 1000 kilometres each week.
Marlo’s dedication and commitment is unquestionable and his passion for football is unwavering.
Emilie is a second-year referee with Newcastle Football. During a recent assessment at Stevenson Park she was considered to be a standout compared to other referees with more experience than her.
Emilie excelled particularly in the second half of her game, with her positioning such that she hit the target areas to call fouls in the penalty area.
She verbally communicated with players and team officials and has great pace which she used to her advantage.
Emilie put in 110 per cent effort and will be a referee to watch in the future.
Alstonville’s under-9s Snappers are an all-girls team that never miss a training session or game and are always keen to play rain, hail or shine.
Not only are they highly skilled and undefeated in their pool but are also a great bunch of girls who show impressive sportsmanship.
The team are well known throughout the area with the girls regularly heard screaming out their team song with pride. They have even been known to dress in their football kit to go and cheer on the club’s premier teams.
The team bring a strong, positive presence to the field.
Linda has worked tirelessly within the Tenambit Sharks club for more than 20 years.
Whether it is registration time, canteen help, painting, cleaning, meeting one off late registrations at short notice, duty officer, ground official or being the main point of contact for members, Linda has been the person to throw her hand up every time.
Over her more than 20 years she has served several different positions on the committee and has been a life member since 2010.
She was also a player-coach of some successful women’s teams over a 15-year career with Tenambit.
Linda’s whole family including her husband, sister, daughters, sons , son-in-law, daughters-in-law, nephews and nieces have been involved through her enthusiasm.
The whole club would like to acknowledge Linda to show their ongoing appreciation for everything she has done over the years.
Northern NSW Football Community Football Manager Ross Hicks congratulated the recipients and thanked them for their contribution to football in northern NSW.
“Without people like Zandalea, Marlo, Linda and Emilie as well as clubs like Narrabri Junior Soccer Club and Alstonville Snappers we wouldn’t have a game. They make football what it is in our region,” Hicks said.
“It is their commitment to their clubs, teams and football community that make the game and improves the experience of playing football for the people around them.
“We thank them for their contribution and congratulate them on being named NNSWF Local Champion Awards winners for July. We wish them all the very best for the rest of the 2022 season.”
Monthly award winners are also nominated for the annual Local Champion Awards in October.