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June 22, 2024 4:32 PM

AFL Spirit Recognised by Inaugural Award

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Accepting the inaugural Spirit of AFL Award at last week’s AFL Hunter Central Coast presentation are Singleton Roosters president Dylan Hixon, Graham McBride, Singleton Roosters vice president Jackson Channon and Singleton women’s coach Alex Tigani.

WARNING: THIS STORY CONTAINS THE NAME OF A DECEASED INDIGENOUS AND MAY TRIGGER STRESS TO THOSE IMPACTED BY THE GRETA BUS CRASH ON JUNE 11.

There were dozens of awards at the AFL Hunter Central Coast annual presentation earlier this month but none more heartfelt that that announced for the Singleton Roosters.

A teary, standing ovation saw club president Dylan Hixon, vice president Jackson Channon and club members Graham McBride and Alex Tigani walk to the stage to receive an award presented for the first time.

Singleton Roosters were recognised for the greatest show of club spirit, comraderie and pure grit with the inaugural presentation of the AFL Spirit Award.

This prestigious honour recognised the response from Singleton Roosters after the horrific, fatal bus crash that took the lives of 10 people, many of whom had a close association with the Club. 

“The AFL introduced this award as recognition to the efforts that the Singleton Football Club have put in 2023, with everything going on,”

Sam Cunningham, Community Football and Competition Manager ‑ Hunter Central Coast, told The Hunter River Times.

“The idea was to introduce an award that can be ongoing and continue to recognise those that best personify the Spirit of AFL,” Sam said.

In addition, AFL Hunter Central Coast introduced another two awards in recognition of Nadene McBride and Andrew Scott who were among those to lose their lives in the crash.

“The Best on Ground Medals for the upcoming and future representative games will be named in honor of both Andrew Scott and Nadine McBride, given their long-standing commitment and dedication to our Rep programs,” Sam said.

Giving him a few days rest after the awards presentation, The Hunter River Times had the honour to speak to club president Dylan Hixon who will be forever impacted by the tragedy but also buoyed by the honour AFL Hunter Centre Coast bestowed upon his club.
“Clearly the past three months have been very hard on all of us but we have dealt with it as a family,” Dylan said.

“It was a beautiful thing to receive this award, especially when it has come from the AFL board.”

Dylan recounted the conversation he had with the then president, Nadene McBride, about taking on her presidency role last year.

Nadene pulled Dylan aside and told him she was stepping down as president and would he consider putting up his hand.

“It was a big role to take on but Nadene was always supporting me every way she could but no one could predict the club would have to face something like this, we were all thrown in the deep end,” Dylan said.

“I am just so proud of the club, that everyone kept it together so well.  I acknowledge at times I struggled and still do when I reflect on what has happened but the support we have received from so many, all the other AFL clubs, individuals and teams as well as all the different sports and then to receive this spirit award for the first time, and then to have Nadene and Andrew to have best on ground for rep games named after them, it was a pure shock,” he said of the night.

“Nadene was one of a kind, always there for a chat no matter the time, morning or night, she was the most beautiful and intelligent person I have ever met, you know how you meet that one person that helps you in life, that’s her,” Dylan said.

“Andrew was a straight down the nail guy, one of the best AFL players I have played with, such a great leader on the field, always encouraging the next generation of players, always taking players under his wing.

“It is an honour to have the AFL recognise these two people having their names associated with Best on Ground.”

-Di Sneddon

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