2012 State Volunteer of the Year Winners






New South Wales/ACT

Michael Barnes

North Wagga AFNC


Northern Territory

Lofty Katakarinja

Western Aranda FC



Steve Barlow

Bundaberg FC


South Australia

Bill Sanders

Linden Park



Tony Gibson

Southern Tasmania JFL



Trish Marson

South East Juniors/Noble Park JFC


Western Australia

Michael Bardsley

Bullcreek Leeming FC


Each year the AFL recognises volunteers/administrators for their outstanding contribution to Australian Football.  Each state and territory selects a State Volunteer of the Year award winner who receives:

  • 2 x tickets to the September Club Function at the Toyota AFL Grand Final
  • 2 x return flights to Melbourne for Grand Final weekend (except Victoria)
  • Accommodation for 3 nights (Thurs-Sat) (incl. breakfast)
  • The opportunity to walk in the Toyota AFL Grand Final Parade
Volunteer profiles
Michael Barnes (NSW)

Michael Barnes (NSW)

  • Michael is a Life Member of North Wagga AFNC. He has held various positions in the club including President on two separate occasions.
  • Michael first came to North Wagga as a player and other than a short break over at Canberra he has been here since mowing and marking the ground and doing whatever else was needed.
  • Michael has coached reserve grade and junior teams, he was one of the first coaches when a women’s football team was formed in Wagga and is the current Riverina Red Lions coach.
  • Mick is the go to guy at the club when ever anything breaks down or needs organizing.
  • Most recently he supervised the recovery and rebuilding of McPherson Oval following the floods in February this year. This included the resurfacing of the Community Centre floor covering, sourcing and installing replacement equipment and fittings. Liaising with WWCC and AFL as the canteen, fencing score board and goal posts were overhauled or replaced.
  • Our “pink” ladies and sponsors day is a large event that Michael organizes each year. In the last two years this has raised just under $30,000.00 in funding for the Cancer Council
Lofty (NT)

Lofty Katakarinja (NT)

  • Lofty has contributed significantly to Western Aranda Football Club this season, and for many years now.
  • He coaches the A grade team, runs training three nights a week, is an assistant coach for the under 17's side, is a board member and drives the bus in and out to every game during the season which is a 90 minute plus drive each way. He has also made sure the team has entered into regional sports carnivals including Santa Teresa (3 hours away), Finke River (6 hours away) and Alice Springs (90 minutes away) Lofty also coached the representative community side which competed against a town based side in the Central Australian Football League.
Steve Barlow (QLD)

Steve Barlow (QLD)

  • Steve is a hard-working volunteer who contributes almost every afternoon and all weekend to the Bundaberg Football club.
  • As president of AFL Bundaberg juniors since 2011, Steve has ensured that the local competition continues to run smoothly as possible and all games go ahead. Steve arrives every Friday night  at not only his home club but also the alternative venues and sets up for Auskick, followed by under  9’s, under 11's and under  13’s. Steve encourages parents to participate at the commencement of each game by requesting parental help in goal umpiring and other roles. Steve is extremely reliable and does things in the spirit of volunteering, never looking for thanks.
  • The Wide Bay area has significant difficulties finding umpires and Steve has made a huge contribution in this area not only for his own club but also other clubs in the league.
  • Steve leads by example. To ensure you understands every facet of the game he has also joined as a player, and an umpire.
  • Steve has also ensured the continuation of the intercity challenges which brings together the Fraser Coast and Bundaberg Junior Leagues and gives kids the opportunity to play at a higher level of footy.
  • By holding regular meetings with parents at junior footy, Steve keeps them up-to-date with any changes or happenings in the league and also encourages parents to participate and become involved in Junior footy.
Bill Sanders (SA)

Bill Sanders (SA)

  • 1975-1976 - Bill and a group of fathers took 5 year olds for skill training (early Auskick) before starting the modified football program.
  • Linden park committee member 1977-1996
  • Vice president 1979-1980 and 1992-1993
  • President 1981-1983 and 1994-1996
  • Linden park school SASFA delegate Sturt Zone – 1977-1996
  • During 1976-1981 Linden Park won premiers cup 6 years in a row
  • Team manager for various teams over these years
  • Football coach mid to late 80’s
  • Linden Park ps Football Club and school auditor for many years
  • Started Auskick at Linden Park in 1994
  • Bill has coordinated Auskick at Linden Park on Saturday mornings for the last 16 years giving many a child an opportunity to take part. He has also recruited his 6 sons as helpers and has also enjoyed having his Grandsons who are old enough take part. 
  • Since 2004 Bill and his wife Helen have also awarded a perpetual prize to a year 7 student for excellence in sporting activities, community and sportsmanlike behavior etc. 
  • Made life member of Linden Park  ps Football Club 1983
  • Linden Park ps officially named its main oval the ‘Sanders Oval’  in 2010
  • Bill has been a tireless worker for Linden Park and has given many thousands of children an opportunity to take part in Australian Rules football. Bill has announced he will retire at the end of this season.
Tony Gibson (TAS)

Tony Gibson (TAS)

  • Tony has been the long time executive officer of the STJFL for almost a decade and involved with football for over 30 years.
  • Overseen growth of league from 10 to 20 clubs and over 3000 members
  • Long time umpiring coordinator for southern region Tasmania
  • Long time umpiring coach – field, boundary and goal southern region Tasmania
  • Instrumental in the promotion of AFL programs in southern Tasmania such as the Quality Club program, Respect & Responsibility, Play by the Rules,
  • Has grown the junior representative football program to include gala days, carnival days and intrastate junior competitions
  • Has grown the number of competition age groups to complete the pathway from Auskick to Senior football with the inclusion of Under 16 and Under 18 competitions
  • Supporter and driver of the Tasmanian Football Council
    Leading advocate and driver in rules and regulations management
  • Been responsible for website development and management to a position whereby the STJFL website is one of the best junior league websites in the country
  • Promotes and coordinates necessary training sessions for all club staff 
  • Has taken the league to a high level of professionalism around best practice operations
  • One stop shop for all things junior football in southern Tasmania
Trish Marson (VIC)

Trish Marson (VIC)

  • Current President, was the first female President in the South East Juniors. In this role she has demonstrated great leadership and vision.
  • Trish’s vision is to ensure that any player who wishes to play football can do so regardless of ability, race or socio-economic status.
  • Under her guidance, the Noble Park Junior Football Club was the first club in the South East Juniors and only the 7th in Victoria to attain AFL Victoria Quality Club Gold Level Accreditation.
  • Trish has been instrumental in promoting football in schools, at times taking up to 4 nights a week after school. She has also encouraged the Club’s Under 17 players to assist her with this.
  • Liaised with the Australian Government Sports Commission to formulate coaching best practices.
  • Trish has been involved with the South East Juniors during season 2012 in developing the Under 12 Girls competition.
  • Trish is actively assisting the South East Juniors to introduce the AFL 9’s program.
  • Assisted with the 2012 All Abilities Day in Dandenong where disable adults and children can be involved in AFL.
  • Is the South East suburbs representative for the RMIT Multiculturism Inclusion in Sports research.
  • Liaises with the local council, League and community groups to obtain the best outcome for the Club.
  • She promotes all youth to become involved in sport. Trish acknowledges it’s all about participation and building the skills of the players ensuring they experience enjoyment and fun so they can grow up to be active participants in our community and beyond. Trish has achieved these and all of the other things associated with the successful ruining of a football club, not for the accolades but for the youth of today.  
Michael Bardsley (WA)

Michael Bardsley (WA)

  • Michael has been a long time service member to the Bullcreek Leeming Football Club, holding various committee positions and has been the President of the club for the last 3 years.
  • Michael's volunteer work began as a coach at Melville Football Club then moved to Bullcreek Leeming Juniors when his son started playing. He then moved to Bullcreek Leeming Colts as the coach and has worked tirelessly ever since.
  • His ever changing role from coach to trainer, scoreboard attendant to committee member, bar tender to cook, grocery shopper to banker, president to a second father for many young players at the club. Financially, professionally as a committee and playing group, socially,  and every aspect of the club has developed immeasurably thanks to Michael.
  • His compassion and ability to lead us through 2 dark years with the passing of 3 very popular players has been the difference. He was asked to also advise the Mosman Park FC on a similar situation. His presence, experience, leadership has guided us all through a very dark period of our lives.
  • Michael attends training session watching the players, helping with suggestions and injury advice. He is at the club 9am every Saturday morning setting up, and the last to leave. His week days filled with run around duties for the club that no-one else has the time to do.  He is  also is Vice president  of South Fremantle Women's Football Club where he guides sponsors and contributes  in all areas  of the club
Year of Birth
This is Our Game
2017 AFL International Cup