The North West AFCA Salute Its Finest...
On Monday the 25th of August, the North West Region Australian Football Coaches Association (NWAFCA) conducted its 17th annual Coach of the Year Awards at Windy Hill. The event has become an important part of the coaching landscape in the region attracting a record crowd of more than 175 attendees which included a massive 37 nominated coaches who were acknowledged for all of their hard work and dedication to coaching and developing footballers within Melbourne’s North West Metropolitan Region throughout season 2014.
The nominees from this year’s awards came from all corners of the North West Region, namely the Essendon District, Riddell District and0 Northern Football League’s as well as the Victorian Amateur Football Association. Coaches were nominated for their outstanding contributions to grass roots football within the region as well as their overall ability to influence their respective clubs and develop the players under their tutelage. The talent pool of coaches on display was apparent with many of the nominated coaches winning local grand finals with their teams the previous day. More importantly coaches who had not necessarily achieved success in terms of win/loss ratio were also acknowledged for their efforts in bringing about positive change to their club’s environment and to young people lives.
All of those who attended were given a special insight and rare opportunity to listen to guest speaker Mark Neeld. Neeld is currently working for AFL Victoria with the Eastern Ranges as the Regional Talent Manager after coaching the Melbourne Football Club for the past two seasons. Neeld spoke about cutting his teeth as a TAC Cup coach with the Western Jets Football Club before spending several years at Collingwood as a Development Coach. He also discussed his playing career at both Richmond and Geelong and explained that having such a varied experience over his journey had helped him to be a more rounded coach and individual. Neeld also spoke candidly about his turbulent time as Melbourne FC Coach and the many lessons he had learnt from his experience as an AFL Head Coach.
The night continued with the announcement of the Coach of the Year Awards in all four categories: Auskick, Junior, Youth and Senior. It began with the Auskick category which was won by Robert Erlenwein of the Aberfeldie Auskick centre from a group of 11 nominations. Russell Dowling of the Northern Saints Football Club beat home 14 other nominees and was awarded “Coach of the Year” in the Junior Club category. In the Youth category, Ray Freeman of the West Coburg Football Club was a deserved winner. On a history making night, the Senior category saw its frst winner from the VAFA with Therry Penola FC coach Dennis Castaldi being announced champion after coaching his players to an undefeated season.
Once again well done and congratulations to all nominated coaches and to the four category winners who now go into the running to be nominated for the State of the Year Coaches Awards to be held at the MCG on Friday 14th of November.
Congratulations to all of our nominations and winners!!!
Click on the following link to view all of the photos form the big night: