Ballarat FNL Women in Football Tribute Lunch a Huge Success

August 08, 2011, 12:44 PM AEST


The MECU Ballarat Football Netball League was delighted with the success of the Inaugural Ballarat FNL Women on Football Tribute Luncheon which was held last Friday 5th August 2011 at the Ballarat Leagues Club.

150 guests were in attendance which saw Special Guests in Federal Member for Ballarat Catherine King, Sharelle McMahon (Australian Netball legend) and Emma Quayle (Age Sporting Journalist) speak about their own personal careers and the journey they have taken to get to where they are now. Emma spoke about the rise in female numbers in sports journalism, especially in the football industry and the opportunities that now lie for females hoping to become involved in football. As the former Australian Netball Captain, Sharelle spoke about some of her most memorable moments coming in her early days when she was part of a football/netball club and playing senior netball at the age of 14. All in attendance enjoyed the opportunity to listen to the 3 special guests who all gave some enlightening insights into their journeys to the top in the various fields of endeavour.

A panel discussion of the special guests was joined by Jennie Loughnan from the AFL, Weekly Times Football Writer Ros Lanigan, Sonja Hood from the North Melbourne Football Club as well as Sharelle & Emma. Many questions were asked to all panel members and they all spoke about their specific jobs/careers and how they worked their way to their respective positions.

Towards the end of the Luncheon, the Ballarat FNL Woman of the Year and the Ballarat District FNL Woman of the Year were announced. The Ballarat FNL Woman of the year was awarded to Noela Holloway from the Lake Wendouree FNC while the Ballarat District FNL Woman of the Year was awarded to Deb Weir from the Natte Bealiba FNC. Both ladies have had an outstanding contribution to their respective clubs over a long period of time.



Noela has been involved in football with the Ballarat Football League for over 38 years.

Her & her family become involved in the YCW junior football Club, then associated with the Ballarat Football League, when their boys become involved in football.

In that time, Noela stood behind her husband Morrie who served as secretary for over 16 years.

Noela could always been seen behind the canteen, helping Morrie behind the scenes and washing many a YCW jumper.

Before the Holloway’s heavy involvement in getting the Lake Wendouree Football club off the ground, the Holloway’s also spent 2 years at Ballarat North, once again, jumping in & helping out where they could.

The Holloway’s played a huge role in 1994/1995 getting the Lakers up and running, and still play a large role in the club today.

Noela has,  for 17 years with the Lakers ,

•           spent her Thursday nights feeding the team,

•           Tuesday nights running Bingo to assist the club financially, (a little group of 4) including making the supper etc

•           washes all senior/reserve jumpers every week

•           does the afternoon tea for opposition clubs on every home game

•           Does all the bookings for the complex

Noela, along with her husband Morrie are Life Members of the Lake Wendouree Football Netball Club.

I call Noela the matriarch of our club, and we cannot thank her enough for the contribution she has made to our great club.


Debbie’s involvement with the Natte-Bealiba FNC spans back to her teenage years when she started playing and umpiring netball, achieving her C grade umpiring badge in her early teens.  After a few years away when her children were younger, Debbie returned to the club and has continued her involvement ever since, playing for several more years and even making a short comeback (until injury struck) in 2008 with the introduction of the C Grade netball to the Lexton Plains FNL. 

In Debbie’s time as joint secretary, she has taken the club from a paper trail system to a computer based approach, setting up and co-ordinating the Natte email database which allows her to send important reminders and information around to a wide network or players and supporters quickly and easily.  This database has seen a huge improvement in the circulation of information.  In addition to this, in order to get information out to the younger generation of players/supporters, last year Debbie set up a Facebook page for the club.

On game days, in addition to her netball umpiring commitments, Debbie co-ordinates all of the match day paperwork for football and netball and ensures that it’s submitted accurately and in a timely manner to the league, locking herself away in the office for a good portion of the afternoon.  This dedication saw herself and Alan awarded the league administrator of the year in 2008 for the Lexton Plains FNL.

Other important involvement in the club includes such things as:

Deb’s passion for the club is an inspiration, and though she never looks for any thanks in the work that she does, it would be wonderful to see her recognised for the effort that she puts in. Her involvement in both the football and netball aspects of the club is something that deserves credit also – too many clubs look at the two as separate entities, but it is the combination that ensures the continued success of the competition, and our club as we know it.


The afternoon was a huge success and many ladies who were in attendance are already calling for the event to be held every year rather than every second year!

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