NOWRA Australian football star Maddy Collier has topped off a stellar season after she was named the Sydney Women’s Australian Football League’s best and fairest player.
Collier attended the Phelan Medal Awards at Darling Harbour on September 14 where she accepted the accolade in front a 400-plus crowd at Darling Harbour.
To make the night even better for the 18-year-old, she was also named on the interval bench in the team of the year.
Collier attended the awards thinking she may have a possibility of being named on the team of the year despite the fact that her Wollongong Saints team took out the wooden spoon in the league.
“It (the best and fairest award) usually goes to a person on one of the winning teams, so I was really shocked when I got the award,” she said.
Collier also got a chance to rub shoulders with some AFL royalty, including former Geelong icon Tom Harley.
It has been a big year for Collier, who played in the youth girls NSW team and from there was selected in the All-Australian under 18s squad.
She said that as making the All-Australian squad was her goal for the year, she had not even considered winning a league award.
It was Collier’s first official year with the Wollongong Saints club after she played a few games for it in 2012.
“We lost the whole thing. We came dead last and we only won one game all season,” she laughed.
Although the Saints took out the wooden spoon, Collier said a lot the games were evenly matched.
“Sometimes the scores didn’t reflect how well we went. I remember losing by two points in the last 30 seconds of a game, so it was pretty close.”
Before she started with the Saints, Collier played in the youth girls team in the Kiama league.
She said she made the move to Wollongong to play in a more challenging league and improve her game.
It just so happened that the Wollongong team were looking for players, and picked up Collier as well as a few other youth age girls.
Collier said the youth she and the other younger players brought to the team really refreshed the squad.
“I loved it. We played better games because the women hit harder and were a bit more co-ordinated than the youth general competition. It made me work harder and pushed me,” she said.
This was Collier’s final year of school and she is just weeks away from her final exams at Nowra High School.
“It was a bit tough juggling school and training, but I just had to manage my time a bit better,” Collier said.
Collier hopes to continue her passion for AFL into her career and is currently applying for development officer roles to try to encourage the younger generation to take up her game.
Her next goal is to make the NSW open women’s team and possibly one day the Australian women’s team.
Collier thanked her mother for her support, the Bomaderry Tigers Australian Football Club for letting her train with them, and her Wollongong Saints coach Shane Grenfell.