Online Awards celebrate season in style

Like 2020 before it, the 2021 AFLCW season will close with online presentations. PHOTO: A full house attended the 2019 AFLCW Presentation Night


The 2021 AFL Central West season didn’t end the way anyone in the football community had hoped, but this hasn’t stopped the league from celebrating the achievements of many over the course of this season.

The weeklong presentations kicked off with individual awards, and acknowledged some of the competition’s representative stars. Tonight saw the coach, umpire, and Auskick Coordinator of the year awards presented. Additionally, the league recognised the GWS Development Squad, WRAS Girls AFL Squad, and the coaches across all representative football’s achievements.

GWS Development Squad:

Kicking off proceedings, was the recognition of the GWS Development Squad. In all, the 2021 squad involved 38 participants, with the Bathurst Giants and Orange Tigers contributing the most members (13 apiece). Bathurst Bushrangers (7), and Dubbo Junior AFL (5) were also well represented.

Congratulations to all of the below players and coaches, and thankyou to everyone who supported the program, particularly the families who travelled from Dubbo to Orange each week to participate.


Bathurst Bushrangers:
Boys: Ryan Moad, Harrison Knight, Noah Gerrey, Thomas Moad, Connor Hodges
Girls: Lucy Driscoll, Jade Leven

Bathurst Giants:
Boys: Callum Munns, Samuel Kay, Ruben Campiao, Flynn Wolfe, Koby Collins, Archer Ryan, Lachlan Munns, Mark Caulfield, Will Sloan
Girls: Heidi Zwiers, Abby Weiss, Olivia Anderson, Jemmia Luck

Dubbo Junior AFL:
Boys: Darcy Fairman, Cameron Healey, James Armour, Cooper Smith, Charlie Pollock

Orange Tigers:
Boys: Caden Metzeling, Bailey Stewart, Braydon Totten, Jack Conolly, Renzo Burrell, Calum Duncan, Harvey Shephard, Thomas Mcrae. Donavan Hansell, Harrison Coleman
Girls: Evylin Herbert, Claire Gibson, Charli Hunter

Head Coach – Kieran Brown
Assistant Coaches – Zac Yandle, Erin Naden, Matthew Brown


WRAS Girls AFL Squad:

Again in 2020/21, the Western Region Academy of Sport (WRAS) provided a summer opportunity for the region’s talented female athletes to develop their skills. Whilst only a small squad, the girls worked tirelessly during the off-season. The conclusion to the program included the players’ representing the region at the Academy Games.

The squad was full of Bathurst Giants (7), with a selection of players from the other clubs.


Bathurst Bushrangers:
Jade Leven, Elly Rudd, Keely Toole

Bathurst Giants:
Ashleigh Ball, Lucinda Chirgwin, Tasmyn Davies, Taylah Griffin, Paige Lowe, Jemmia Luck, Summer O’Connell

Dubbo Junior AFL:
Molly Mayall

Orange Tigers:
Cleo Dickie, Phoebe Hoolahan

Cowra Blues:
Mikelli Garrett (AFL Canberra)

Head Coach – 
Jayarna Kay
Assistant Coaches: Erin Naden, Emma Clark


AFL NSW/ACT Disability Inclusion Volunteer of the Year: Liz Symes

On the field, the Bathurst Giants had an outstanding season winning four minor premierships. However, it was on a Wednesday night when one of their proudest achievements occurred. The club launched Kickability, a program for kids with physical and mental impairments, to help engage these kids with local sport.

Coordinator Liz Symes led the way, promoting the program, supporting her coaches and volunteers, and being the smiling face behind every session. Liz’s positivity and passion for inclusion, saw her recognised as the 2021 AFL NSW/ACT Disability Inclusion Volunteer of the Year. Kickability was a resounding success, and it was through the hard work of Liz, in addition to several of her fellow club members, as to why it was so successful.

Bathurst Giants Kickability will return in 2022, stay tuned for more information on their Facebook page.


Auskick Coordinator of the Year: Steve Drynan

Introductions to coordinating Auskick don’t come much tougher than 2020, but for Bathurst Bushrangers’ Steve Drynan, that’s where it began. 2021 wasn’t much easier, however Steve handled all that came towards him. Ground unavailability, covid-19 and the challenges that having a large centre provide were just some of what Steve faced.

The Bushrangers’ Auskick program was the region’s largest, +15 participants on 2020. Steve’s professionalism and organisation endeared himself with the Bushrangers participants. The centre was always set up impeccably before a majority had arrived, and coaches/helpers had several days to familiarise themselves with the week’s activities with how well planned his sessions were.

Gala days are an integral part of the Auskick experience, and Steve rallied the troops to get a large contingent to both the Orange and Dubbo days. Steve was also quick to prepare if needed a venue location when it became unlikely that Forbes would be able to host.

The Bushrangers Auskick centre is in good hands with Steve at the helm. Bring on 2022 – registrations for Auskick will open in early December


Leading Goalkicker (Tier 2): Jonathan Morell

In his third season with the Panthers, prior to 2021 Morell had booted just three goals. All goals came in 2020, a pair to start the season, before a seven match drought was broken in the final round.

Morell kicked 26 goals across the eight games he played. Bags of four against the Giants (twice) and Orange Tigers, as well as a seven-goal haul also against the Tigers supported the strong season he had.

Only once was he kept goalless, away to Cowra, and his final three matches netted him 11 goals as he overtook the competition.


Leading Goalkicker (Women): Hailee Provest

Hailee has been a regular goalkicker for the Giants, having booted 11 (2019) and 13 (2020) across the previous two seasons. 2021 was a breakout year though, kicking 25 goals in 12 games. Provest kicked a bag against each of her opponents, four goals against the Bushrangers (R2 & 8), Tigers (R7), and an equal career-high five against Dubbo (R12).

Hailee’s season culminated with her first selection in the AFL Central West Women’s representative side.


Leading Goalkicker (Tier 1): Sam Sloan

In his sixth season of senior footy, Sloan, like his clubmate Provest enjoyed a breakout season. It’s no surprise that the spearhead’s success translated to a first men’s minor premiership, his 41 goals more than double his previous best.

A career-high six majors against Dubbo in Round 1 set the bar incredibly high for the season, and the big forward delivered. Sloan was not kept off the scoresheet in 12 matches, with only three occasions where he was held to fewer than three majors.

Across the three opponents, Sloan kicked 15 versus Dubbo, 10 against the Bushrangers and 16 against Orange.


Junior Umpire of the Year: James Armour

James has transitioned across from boundary umpiring to the field for junior matches. Umpiring predominately Under-12s games, as well as senior boundaries, James has been an asset to the junior umpire team in 2021.

James is passionate about officiating, engages regularly with the online content and shows a commitment to improving when receiving coaching.

There were plenty of outstanding junior umpires in 2021, so congratulations James for being the atop them all.


Senior Umpire of the Year: Les Hoppa

Like James, Les has been a consistent umpire throughout 2021, rarely missing a match. Les performed to a high standard, and was highly engaged with the education and online content provided.

As one of our independent umpires, Les was regularly put on matches which required travel, to support clubs that were struggling for officials.

Like all this season, Les had to be ready for late notice changes to the fixtures however unlike others, didn’t have a club to travel with so needed to be ready for an inconvenient change.


Junior Coach of the Year: Matt Shephard

Matt Shephard has been a regular for the Orange Tigers  junior sides, leading his Under-14s side through one of the strongest divisions this season on route to a minor premiership. Matt’s coaching saw many of his team make representative sides, and improve as each week progressed.
Honourable mentions: Ciara Kearns/James Leven (Bushrangers Youth Girls), Brad Broes (Giants 17s), Carmen Armour (Dubbo Junior 14s)

Senior Coach of the Year: Liz Kennedy

Liz Kennedy has led the Bathurst Giants AFL Club Women’s side throughout each season since inception, and has mentored her team to an outstanding record. Two premierships, a minor premiership and a Grand Final in four seasons.
Whilst they may not have finished with a trophy, 2021 was her best on the board. The Giants went unbeaten, with 14 and 19-point wins vs Orange the only games resulted by fewer than 4-goals.
Honourable mentions: Mark Kennedy (Giants Tier 1), Mitchell Stubberfield (Parkes Tier 2), Anthony Fisher (Bathurst Bushrangers Outlaws Tier 2)

Congratulations to all the award winners. AFL Central West League Presentations will continue on Wednesday night from 6:30pm. The schedule for the presentations is:

  • Wednesday September 22 (6:30pm) – AFLCW Junior Best & Fairest vote count
  • Thursday September 23 (6:30pm) – AFLCW Senior Best & Fairest vote count
  • Friday September 24 (6:30pm) – AFLCW Inaugural Hall of Fame Induction

Best & Fairest vote counts will be held live on Facebook, with all other awards posted on both Facebook and Instagram