This years end of awards event came a little later than usual due to the circumstances surrounding Covid and events getting pushed back.
Although we still pressed on and hosted the 2020 end of season awards ceremony through Zoom.
Message from Simon Browing Head Coach and presentation of awards:
A general overview of the season, we said it multiple times during the year, we throw a lot at you as players. There’s a lot we throw mentally and physically, and we trying to develop something and I think this year very much so you could see the development in everyone. One of the things we talk about is coaching the process not the product. It’s not necessarily he end goal we’re interest in the game, whatever. What we’re interested in is the path your own. So as coaches we try and work with you, so what is your journey, where you want to go. We’re coaching that journey and trying to push you and look at each individual person in their own right. Because you’re all different people, you’re here for different reasons, but overall as a club we’re trying to develop a team which has a lot of player autonomy. We don’t want robots, we don’t want players that just replicate what’s written on a page somewhere. We want players that can adapt at speed on the field, that are able to talk to us and say what they think should happen in a play. If you look at the journey we made at the start of a year, taking our performance against Leicester. We’re in a situation where we were essential running two defense, now I don’t know many teams that can do that. Yes you might change week to week, but to change to a completely different defense, that is a very difficult thing to do to shift from one game to the next.
The way that you were able to do that each time, and keep going, and know what you were able to do and talk communicate to each other and the coaches is just a testament to what you put in all year. And from our side, it’s down that journey, from where we were last year to now and completely deserved that win.
We’re looking to keep that going this year, to build on that and again that’s part of the journey.
In terms of offense, we’ve got loads of games here. once again, it goes back to what I was saying about the amount of work people we’re putting in over the year. If we look at that last game I had Lois coming across playing as receiver, Lauren as recievr, you know, members of the defence coming over. Wilder playing at QB. Poor Mandy with all the heights to snap! But a testament to yourself that yes, you started on defense, but came across. SO again, thank you for everyone who stepped in, filled the gaps as needed. We had Katie, Jen, Gale coming over to the line sometimes at a moment’s notice and fitting in, and looking like you belong there. It’s just a testament to you.
There’s so many more names, like Ruth and Sara putting the effort in. Sara you first year shining completely, looking like you’ve been there for years. Ruth, giving us everything we know she can give us. But the one that wins the award is someone that put in the effort quietly all year, worked really hard to be ready, and when she was ready, boy was she ready. She really put in a really good shout on the field. The winner for this award is Katherine!
Again, it was great to see people getting in and getting their first touching on d and contributing. The likes of Cookie, sometimes nervous but still willing tog et on the field and playing the best of their ability. Hats off to her, it can be really daunting stepping on the field for the first time. Big contributions from our rookie class again, we’ve been lucky this, Sara again on defense putting in a lot of effort, the likes of Wilder coming across and filling in at Safety making it look like she’s been there for years. She did a great job. Lois as well at corner, it’s always useful when you have someone like Lois on corner because it takes that pressure off in the defensive backfield – a completely asset to the team. Lauren coming back as well from injury and coming back with a bang! But overall, somebody that just gives absolutely everything every single play, gets everybody sorted every single play. It’s interesting as well reading with similar comments for “Valkyries’ Valkyrie” as well. But form our side, the organisational ability, the leadership that was displayed on defense – so the defensive award goes to Zoe.
There’s a lot of people who contributed all over the place, Sophie, Hayley coming in, Jen, Katie. There’s a lot of people we asked to contribute. If we look at the way our defense, a lot of what we do needs to start upfront so people like Lauren and Katie and Zoe J can fly around making those plays, it’s because of the d-line making those blocks. It’s not necessarily he most glamorous, not necessarily the one making all the tackles, but it’s the one that’s eating up all the blocks and allowing everything to work. And I can’t fault the effort that everyone put in who was on the line. It makes everything else work, that unseen effort. My hat goes off to everyone who was involved, often at a moment’s notice! But in terms of who wins, it’s someone who held it all together. Again, reading some of the VV comments this is reiterated and it’s great to see it within the player group as well. It’s someone who’s constantly trying to help those around her, helping everyone understand what the play calls are, it’s that kind of glue that holds it all together. So our winner of the award goes to Mandy!
Like I said we have a really deep rookie class this year and we threw them on the field, getting them stuck straight in. pulling you from different positions, here there and everywhere. Like Hayley coming in, understanding what your job is, what you need to do for the team and doing it! That really quick ability to understand what you need to do, and execute those roles. It makes everything work, and that level of trust around the team that you’ve worked and understand it. Katie and Jen again, coming across and play on the line, going into the game thinking LB and now you’re going to play RG! Completely rethinking what you’re doing – just that willingness to knuckle down and get on with it is the Valkyries’ spirit. ‘how can I help the team, how can I help the team get better’. And the fact that you understood it and had confidence to ask when you were unsure, it can be easy to stay quiet and pretend you know. But all of you as rookie class was willing to ask if you weren’t sure. But for us, the rookie award, goes to someone who contribute both sides of the ball and at times just looked like a grizzly vet on the field. She was everywhere, making tackles, running routes, so our rookie award goes to Sara!
When we look at someone overall, we’re looking at someone who impacts wider than their position. The person who wins this gets the award because there’s a contribution on defense, there’s a contribution on offense, there’s a contribution both on and off the field. Be that helping people in training, outside of training, asking questions, trying to be better, challenging us as coaches so we get better as well, and constantly pushing the bard. So for us this award goes to someone who is constantly pushing that benchmark, someone who is demonstrating leadership throughout the year, embodying that Valkyrie spirit. So for us, the person did all of that in our eyes, bit of absolutely everything, be that last tackle to save TD, running routes or filling in whenever asked. So our overall award goes to Ruth!
This is different from the overall, this is not necessarily performance specific related (although this player did do what we asked her to do). But it’s that general vocal spirit, that coach-ability, that willingness, to just buckle down to do it. Between conversations of the coaches, she is so willing to learn, so willing the buckle down, to fix it, to be involved with questions, she’s always trying to push herself. And that to us embodies what it means to be coaches player. That someone who is always willing to push themselves a little bit more. Not always the loudest player, the most vocal, but always someone constantly willing to learn, to be better, to drive herself in her own way. Because again, you’re all different, you’re al at different points in your journey and for some of you, what might appear small for someone else is a big jump for you personally. That’s what this CP is trying to embody and ward for for, such a positive impact and development for themselves that it’s worthy of this ward. The person we’re giving it to is Jen!
This is the one I enjoy the most. It’s really interesting to see how you all talk about each other, and how you feel together, and that’s the V Valkyrie. There’s some really great comments in there.
We have: “Lauren, Showing up to all the sessions she could despite injury, keeping spirits high and joining in as a body to help us out with reps. So happy she got a sack to validate all the hard work she put in and the patience she had to manage to get there. She’s incredible and I love her fun-loving attitude and endless optimism.” We’ve got: “Katherine, As a rookie she made me welcome, and helping me throughout all the sessions”. Then “Zoe Wilder, She has made huge contributions and plays both on the offense and defense, always goes into each play with 100% and has gone into other positions when duty calls”. And this is one of my favourites. “I would like to nominate Mandy Gould as she has been so patient and supportive with not only me but whoever else has been put on O this year and is terribly confused”.
Now, I’m not sure if Mandy is confused, or if it’s those who came onto the line…but you look through this and it’s hard to name just 1 person as all players have helped me out at least once! But I put a vote in for Lois. I can’t thank her enough, she’s helped me so much and if not for Lois I wouldn’t have been able to play. She helps not only the directions but also her support that I needed. In every game she was on my shoulder. From helping me on day 1 to put my top on until the final she has helped me so much.
We’ve got: “Zoe John. As a rookie I haven’t had a great deal of time to get to know everyone yet but you have answered every weird and stupid question I’ve had, you’ve taken time out of your own schedule you gave me the direction I needed in a solid, motivating “let’s have at them” tone as opposed to a frustrated “just get in a fucking gap”. Wouldn’t have minded either, but appreciated the first!”. And lastly “Cookie for getting on the field even though she was very nervous and unsure of herself and making a great tackle. She doesn’t always have confidence in herself but has the potential to do really well”. It’s so great to see we’re recognising each other and that we’re all on different paths in your journey.
It’s great for me to see because it’s all about support, and different people are named primarily because of the support you’re giving each other which is just brilliant to read. We’ve tried to build this culture that everybody can come in and help each other, there’s always someone you can turn to. There’s were eight people nominated, so across the team as a whole and it was quite close at the top, but the winner of the Valkyries’ Valkyrie is Zoe John.
The journey you’ve all done this year is phenomenal. We’re looking to push us forward even more next year, so it’s exciting times for when we eventually get to play the next season! Well done!
Summary of Awards :
Offensive MVP – Katherine Fretwell
Defensive MVP – Zoe John
Line MVP – Mandy Gould
Overall MVP – Ruth Lewis
Rookie MVP – Sarah Pratt
Coaches Player of the Season – Jennifer Davies
Valkyries Valkyrie – Zoe John