With the season at a close, we come to our awards ceremony which celebrates the achievements of the team, but importantly to those individuals who provided a stand out and influential performance on the team…
We had a lot of rookies this year that we threw into the mix, with very little instruction from the side-line because you couldn’t physically come off for us to tell you what you need to do. But again one of the greatest thing we had as a rookie class you picked up what we were trying to do very quickly. In many respects it was easy for us to do what we needed to do, to basically trust you to go out and do it because as a class you showed that desire to learn you showed that desire to get better and understand what was going on. Not just physically in the game but outside and beyond as well. And there were certainly a few people we could have given this award to, there were several stand out rookies. The person that we went to was one that gave a contribution both sides of the ball. On the offense often doing a lot of the dirty work, the less glamour side of stuff. On the defense being thrust into positions not fully understanding. Effectively learning on the fly, but again giving a solid contribution in that as well. So the person we’re giving this award to is Zoe Wilder.
This is for both offense and defense, and there were many contributions on both sides. Again we were plugging and playing people with very short notice without necessarily a lot of training sessions behind them, but going in there and doing what we asked of them to do. The person we are giving the award to gave a consistent presence on the line, the leadership she showed and developed through the season really helped a lot of this to actually work, the way she coordinated people and what they needed to do to take control of the line situation. And then that epic day when she never ever came off the field even though she begged us to do it, so this award goes to Mandy.
I really loved all of your efforts this year I thought it was incredible, and there was a huge amount of trust. I want to mention a couple of people who I thought did an absolutely outstanding job. One was Zoe Wilder who did an outstanding job at free safety with little experience of the position, and then corner as well. She really picked it up and she really did a great job and made a real difference on the field. And the other person I want to mention is Sophie. You did an incredible job, you always chased them down and it really made a difference for our line to put in that effort and we can’t wait to see what you do next year. And the person who’s getting it, she was a real game changer, she was in every play and our defense would have been different without you, Lauren.
The player that’s won this, as an offensive coach you realise when someone’s come to a particular point when the defense it trying to get that player out of the game. We’ve seen it before in the past, and you can see opposition coaches try and take this person out of the game. And that to be is a symbol of what this person was. She was a real threat on offense and she really had the potential to change the game and make defences worried. And then again sort of typifying that, with the Kent game, stepping in and catching the eyes of GB scouts just on one performance, so our offensive player of the year goes to Laura.
Again, we’ve got a lot of talent in this team so picking an overall player of the year is not easy. We’ve got players that are playing the game at a very high level for us and putting the effort in, and all round and helping all round. Someone like Ruth helping people and guiding them through, helping us on the side-line for example. But the person who won the overall one had in our minds a dominant year and who contributed on both sides of the ball she’s someone who was dominant in her chosen position but when placed on the other side she put in outstanding performances there. Going up to Hereford as well and suddenly realising she’s now turning into a running back as well so just on pure impact throughout the entire year this award goes to Lauren.
This isn’t about who is the best player, this is about somebody who we as coaches feel has contributed to the team than in more ways that just on the field. It’s somebody who’s practices and games outside of all those sessions. The player who’s won this has not only had a very good year from a playing point of view, how she’s developed from where she was to where she is has grown dramatically, and she’s someone who constantly pushing us as coaching staff, constantly asking questions, constantly striving to get better, constantly striving to improve her performance and be the best that she possible can be. And again from a coaching point of view that’s ideal for us, is pushes us to get better, it pushes you to get better. And from what we can tell she’s been a great team player as well. Unfortunately she’s not here tonight in true form but coaches’ player is Katherine.
Finishing off with Valkyries’ Valkyrie. The reason why we do this last is because in my mind it is the most important of all. This is just by the players, someone that epitomizes what it means to play for this club. I’m lucky enough to read some of the comments you’ve made with you nominations, it’s one of my favourite parts to see how you view each other. Reading just a couple of comments before announcing, we’ve got Lois for her dedication to the team this year even as she’s not able to play because she’s injured, still turning up, taking warm ups, still being involved. Zoe for her hard work and her dedication. Kira, for always helping others on the line, always helping others, making people feel welcomed, and being very approachable. Lauren as well. Ruth – and a comment there being “half the stuff this year I wouldn’t have been able to have done without Ruth”. We’ve got one for Katherine about how much she’s improved, how motivating she is to everyone. Another one for Mandy and her dedication to training, meeting outside of training to help with playbooks. This is one of those things that are really great to read that as a club you’re all coming together, you’re all helping each other in a supportive environment, which is one of the most important things we do as a club. But, there was actually a tie this year for Valkyries’ Valkyrie: Ruth and Lois.
Perhaps the most prestigious award, the Flump Award is the clumsiest award for the night. It’s for things like Ruth, breaking her fingers, and then playing again, and then breaking her thumb and tying to play in a cast. Things like Zoe, getting two flags in one play. And there’s many other things. But the one it goes to is for someone who stepped into a certain position, not really sure what she was doing, made an excellent run with the ball, covered MILES, and then threw the ball forward. So this award goes to Laura.
For the coaches and our President
We just wanted to say a big thank you to Simon and Kate as a club from all of us to our wonderful coaches this year just for always being there for us, making sure we’re okay, dealing with our humor, dealing with the fact we love dogs, and have very short attention spans…and just to say thank you for sticking with us and coaching us. Although a lot of our players were on the field all the time, for you still still give us feedback, pointers, it’s just really amazing. So thank you again.
And to our Club President, Lois. She works incredibly hard as president of the club. There’s a lot of things that go into this team and being this team is really special. There’s ups and downs and we also look forward despite any struggles. You are a major cornerstone in this outlook.
To the team. thank you very much for your hard work, and we can’t wait for next year. Roll on next year!