The past and the present of women’s football in Victoria will come together, with the naming of the Swisse Wellness VFL Women’s best and fairest award the Lambert Pearce Medal.
Named after Victorian Women’s Football League (VWFL) founding committee member and former president Helen Lambert, and six-time VWFL Lambert Medal (the VWFL B&F award) winner and the inaugural recipient of the VFL Women’s Medal in 2016 Daisy Pearce, the award will be presented for the first time next Monday night (September 10) at the VFL Women’s presentation night at Crown Palladium.
The medal will be one of three to be named from this season onwards and presented at the VFL W best and fairest night, with the Rohenna Young goalkicking award and Debbie Lee Medal for the VFL Women’s Rising Star. These names will carry on from the previous awards presented in the former VWFL competition, with Young a VWFL Silver Jubilee team member, a Premier Division leading goalkicker and seven-time state representative and Lee a five-time Lambert Medal winner in the VWFL, five-time state captain and now coach of Western Bulldogs in VFL Women’s.
AFL Victoria CEO Steven Reaper said the time was right to name the medals, now the VFL Women’s competition had been established for three years.
“We want to make sure the history of women’s football in Victoria is respected and remembered, believing now is the right time to name the medal after two prominent women who have both made an impact on football in the state,” Reaper said.
“We have listened to feedback from people involved in the old VWFL and the new VFL Women’s competition and felt combining the past and the present was the appropriate reflection for the best and fairest medal.
“We did not want to rush the decision of naming all the medals when we established the new competition, to ensure appropriate consideration was given to these important awards.
“As VFL Women’s continues to grow and provide a pathway to the AFL W, our awards will now reflect the historical pathway of women’s football in the state that helped us reach the point that we are now at.”
Grand Final day at Etihad Stadium on September 23 will also see the return of a number of previous VWFL medals, with the Lisa Hardeman Medal to be presented to the best on ground in the season finale, while the VFL W Grand Final umpires will each receive the Stacey Bourke Medal. Hardeman is a former VWFL president, four time VWFL premiership captain and two-time premiership coach with Melbourne Uni while Bourke was a former VWFL Executive, 100 game VWFL player and a former VWFL Umpire.
Off the field at the Grand Final, a VFL Women’s volunteer will be recognised with the Ann Rulton Medal. Rulton was a VWFL Executive member, helped establish the St Kilda Sharks FC and is a life member of the Darebin Falcons and St Kilda Sharks.
Watch the VFL B&F night live on vfl.com.au from 7pm Monday night