Dedicated fans recognised for their passion and support
AFL FANS ASSOCIATION (AFLFA): GIVING FOOTY FANS A VOICE
Rainbow Crows volunteer Megan Harris is the 2019 AFL Fans Association Fan of the Year after being nominated for her dedication, selflessness and support of the Crows’ men’s and women’s teams.
A Collingwood Facebook group that promotes a love of the club and keeps fans informed is the 2019 Supporter Group of the Year. The Side by Side Fan Page won for its upbeat approach and original, creative and funny content. It also promotes positive discussion among Magpie fans.
AFL Fans Association president Gerry Eeman says both winners epitomise the dedication of many fans. “These supporters give so much to their clubs,” he says. “They are proud, passionate and spend many hours volunteering to improve the footy experience of others.”
Fan of the Year: Megan Harris, Rainbow Crows Secretary and Events Coordinator, and Official Crows Support Group Committee Member and Match Day Property Coordinator
Megan's match days often span eight hours, driving to West Lakes to collect the banner and other things to take to Adelaide Oval, arriving hours before the game, setting up the flags and floggers in the cheer squad and helping to get the banner ready.
Sometimes she leaves during the last quarter to help set up the after-match function. Megan regularly travels to the club during the week to organise and transfer equipment.
She has attended all the home games this year and travelled interstate for some women’s and men’s games, including by car with the banner several times. She was regularly AFLW banner coordinator, attends cheer squad banner making sessions, and helps with soup night at men’s training.
“Megan has also assisted with barbecues at the Toyota family events and a variety of other events during the year,” one nominator said. “She has done an extraordinary amount of work and her life revolves around our club and both supporter groups.”
Another nominator pointed out that Megan organised the Rainbow Crows participation in the 2019 Mardi Gras: “As a result of Megan’s efforts, 21 people from 4 different states … came together to celebrate love, diversity, and their passion for footy.”
Supporter Group of the Year: Side by Side Fan Page
Claudio is the sole administrator of the Side by Side Fan Page, which he has run since 2013. Until the 2018 finals series, the page had a few hundred followers. The number of followers quickly grew to during the 2018 finals series, and it now has 8600 followers.
Claudio does all the moderating himself. He started the page to publish content that he would like to see. Treating the players as people is first among his key principles. It makes him happy when he sees that family members of Collingwood players become members or like what he has posted.
Claudio lives in South Morang and cannot attend every game but watches them all. Maintaining the page helps him stay engaged when he is unable to be at games or training sessions.
He always acknowledges any contributions to the page, whether they be videos, images or wallpapers.
As one nominator said, “Side by Side … is a no-nonsense Collingwood fan page that NEVER spreads negativity, fake news or rubbish of any kind.
“They always keep me up to date about EVERYTHING I need to know about Collingwood, from memes, to injuries, to fixtures and scores, everything I need to know is conveniently in one place.”
And another: “They just SUPPORT and encourage them. In this day and age with mental health issues plaguing our young people we need to congratulate and award groups that encourage support of young people to help reduce mental health issues.”
Female Fan of the Year: Colleen McKaye, Crows Supporters Group (cheer squad)*
Male Fan of the Year: Shaun Dux, The Demon Army
Supporter Group of the Year: The Demon Army (cheer squad)
Female Fan of the Year: Annie Green (Adelaide Crows Supporters Group)
Male Fan of the Year: Ryan Sinclair (Demon Army)
Supporter Group of the Year: The Demon Army
Female Fan of the Year: Jan Courtin (Sydney Swans)
Male Fan of the Year: Robert Smith (Adelaide Crows Supporters group)
Supporter Group of the Year: The Adelaide Crows Supports Group (Cheer Squad) and Essendon Cheer Squad
Female Fan of the Year: Lesley Benham (Collingwood)
Male Fan of the Year: Liam Briggs (Port Adelaide Cheer Squad)
Supporter Group of the Year: The Alberton Crowd (Port Adelaide)
*In 2019 the AFLFA combined the male and female awards to create one non-gendered award.