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Zdybel joins Benson | GFNL Geelong Advertiser Vote

Colac's Zachary Zdybel and St Mary's Harry Benson lead the 2024 Geelong Advertiser Coaches Player of the Year award.

Find out all the coaches votes from round 5 the Geelong Football Netball League.

Bell Park v St Joseph's

10 Oliver Northam (St Joseph's)

8 Jack Mullen (St Joseph's)

5 James Gow (St Joseph's)

5 James Hickey (St Joseph's)

1 Hunter Lewis (St Joseph's)

2 Ben Worme (Bell Park)

Colac v North Shore

10 Adam Garner (Colac)

4 Chaise Murray (Colac)

4 Jonathan Simpkin (Colac)

4 Zackary Zdybel (Colac)

3 Aaron Hawker (Colac)

3 Joel Cooper (Colac)

1 Kody Spokes (Colac)

1 Dustin Walters (Colac)

Leopold v Grovedale

9 Tom Feely (Leopold)

9 Tate Porter (Leopold)

4 Harrison Whyte (Grovedale)

3 Connor Giddings (Leopold)

2 Billy Ford (Grovedale)

2 Andrew Pepper (Leopold)

1 Harris Jennings (Leopold)

Newtown & Chilwell v Lara

10 Brayden Hocking (Newtown & Chilwell)

8 Will O'Dywer (Newtown & Chilwell)

4 Dylan Jose (Lara)

4 Luke Maddock (Newtown & Chilwell)

3 Charlie Harris (Newtown & Chilwell)

2 Connor Lineham-Cunning (Lara)

St Albans v Geelong West Giants

9 Emmanuel Ajang (Geelong West Giants)

7 Patrick Eastman (Bell Park)

5 Tanner Lovell (Geelong West Giants)

4 Lachlan Taylor (Geelong West Giants)

2 Max Kelly (Geelong West Giants)

1 Fletcher Keck (St Albans)

1 Ben Miller (St Albans)

St Mary's v South Barwon

5 Ben Kellett (South Barwon)

5 Harry Benson (St Mary's)

4 Patrick Kelly (South Barwon)

4 Nick Connors (St Marys)

3 Chris Hughes (South Barwon)

3 Todd White (South Barwon)

2 Tom Peirce (South Barwon)

2 Jarryd Garner (St Marys)

1 Zac Sherman (St Marys)

1 Matt Keast (St Marys)

Round 5 Leaderboard

23 Zachary Zdybel (Colac)

23 Harry Benson (St Mary's)

22 Tanner Lovell (Geelong West Giants)

21 Jack Sarcevic (Bell Park)

20 Flynn Young (Newtown & Chilwell)

19 Max McLachlan (St Josephs)

18 Luke Webb (St Josephs)

17 James Gow (St Josephs)

16 Trent Thompson (Leopold)

16 Oscar Morrison (St Josephs)

The Geelong Advertiser Coaches Player of the Year is an award voted by each Senior coach on a 5,4,3,2,1 basis after each home and away game, acknowledging outstanding effort by an individual player in a season.

There are individual awards for the Bellarine FNL Seniors, Geelong FNL Seniors, and the Division 1 Senior Female Football competitions.

Photo: Newtown & Chilwell Flynn Young: Great Ocean Road Photography

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The Wadawurrung Indigenous Story | Indigenous Ball Artwork by Yalanda Neal

Local Indigenous artist and Belmont Lions FNC Footballer, Yalanda Neal has added an extra special touch to AFL Barwon Indigenous Round with Indigenous artwork on the match balls.

Yalanda has created a design called the "Wadawurrung Indigenous Story" that has been printed on the playing footballs for all Senior Male and Female Football and A-Grade player Netballs for AFL Barwon Indigenous Round.

The story and the meaning behind design in Yalanda's words is featured below. 

Wadawurrung Indigenous Story

The inner circle represents your sports team, the outer circle represents all those that bring the team together; coaches, team managers and supporters.

The third blue layer represents our waters, rivers and oceans of Wadawurrung Country. The outer and green dots represents the bushlands of Wadawurrung Country and that's to acknowledge the land on which we play sport on.

The emu, kangaroo tracks and path represents the journey, training & commitment players take to make their team & play every weekend.

About the Artist - Yalanda Neal

My name is Yalanda and I’m a proud Arrernte, Gunditjmara & WaddaWurrung women, born and raised on WaddaWurrung country. I am an intuitive Artist and love to tell and create stories through my art, which comes from my Arrernte line in which has been taught by my grandmother, A proud Western Arrernte Woman.

My youngest memories connecting to art has always been sitting with and watching my nan paint as a young girl & listening to the stories she incorporates into her own creations, I have always been strongly influenced by her, I draw inspiration from her artwork every time I sit and paint and am grateful for her teachings. 

I also pay my respects to my Gunditjmara and Waddawurung linage & connections in which also play a huge role in the stories I create as that is who I am and also connected to, especially being born and raised on Waddawurung country. 

Painting for me has always been a way to feel connected to my Arrernte linage when I don’t have the opportunity to be on Arrernte country everyday, though I’m grateful to be born and raised on one of my countries, painting is what keeps my heart close to my grandmother & to the desert, and to be able to express and tell my own stories where words can’t, and I grateful for that.

AFL Barwon will hold our Indigenous Round Launch at Narana Aboriginal Cultural Centre on Monday May 6th with Yalanda headlining the guest speakers at this event discussing the Wadawurrung Indigenous Story.

To RSVP to this free event, please go to

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Honouring a Legacy and Raising Awareness | The Third Zoe Kennedy Tribute Match

On Saturday, May 18th, the Elderslie Reserve will once again be the venue for an event that blends community spirit, sportsmanship, and a heartfelt cause. The third annual Zoe Kennedy Tribute Match, featuring Newtown & Chilwell vs. Bell Park, will not only showcase thrilling netball and football matches but also serve as a poignant reminder of the importance of asthma management and destigmatisation within the sporting community.


A Tribute to Zoe Kennedy

The Zoe Kennedy Tribute Match commemorates Zoe Kennedy, a passionate netball and football player whose life was tragically cut short by an asthma attack in 2020. By bringing together Zoe's netball team and her father Lach Kennedy's football team, the event honours her spirit while raising crucial funds to support young people with asthma.

"Zoe loved her sport and would be proud to see the sporting community come together to ensure that other kids with asthma don't miss out," says her father, Lach Kennedy. He emphasizes the importance of monitoring and managing asthma, highlighting the Foundation's efforts to normalize the use of preventers and relievers, and to encourage open discussions about asthma.


Community Support and Awareness

Local sporting clubs and stadiums will be adorned with posters designed by Geelong artist Georgia Naughton, featuring brightly coloured artworks with asthma-themed phrases to raise awareness. Attendees can purchase purple 'Inhale Exhale' beanies and scarves, symbolising unity and contributing to the Zoe Kennedy Foundation.


Achievements of the Zoe Kennedy Foundation

Founded in 2020 by the Kennedy family and Figurehead Group, the Zoe Kennedy Foundation specifically focuses on improving the lives of young people with asthma. In the three years since Zoe's passing, the Foundation has raised nearly $300,000. These funds have supported a Virtual Care PhD with Asthma Australia and product trials for Puff-ah, an integrated, collapsible, smart inhaler system designed to improve adherence to asthma medications. Additionally, the Foundation has collaborated with Dr. Ben McKenzie of the Royal Melbourne Hospital to provide AMAX4 training devices, enhancing the standard of care for asthma and anaphylaxis.


Event Schedule

The day kicks off with netball matches starting at 8 am, followed by football matches for the 16s, 18s, and Reserves at 10 am. The main event begins at 1 pm, featuring activities such as face painting, balloon twisting, and a silent auction. A ceremony and netball presentations will take place at 1:30 pm, leading up to the Seniors' football match at 2:30 pm. The event concludes with a trophy presentation, live entertainment, and a raffle draw from 6 pm to late.

"We're humbled by the support of the Geelong community, particularly the Newtown and Bell Park Football Netball Clubs. There is genuine care for players, and we're proud of what this is generating in terms of asthma awareness in sport," says Lach Kennedy.


Join Us

Join us on Saturday, May 18th, at Elderslie Reserve, Newtown, to honour Zoe Kennedy's memory and contribute to raising awareness and funds for young people with asthma. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of those affected by this chronic condition.

For more information, visit or follow @zoekennedyfoundation on Instagram.


Event Schedule at a Glance

- Netball from 8:00 am

- 10:00 am – 16s, 18s, Reserves Football

- 1:00 pm – Activities (Face Painting, Balloon Twisting, Silent Auction)

- 1:30 pm – Netball Presentations and Ceremony

- 2:30 pm – Seniors Football (Newtown vs. Bell Park)

- 6:00 pm – Entertainment (Live Band + DJ) and Raffle Draw

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The Athlete’s Foot activate Partnership with AFL Barwon

The Athlete’s Foot and AFL Barwon have agreed to an exciting three-year partnership.

Locally owned and operated, The Athlete’s Foot has 150 stores in Australia and New Zealand, with their local Geelong store located in Market Square. The Athlete’s Foot are the experts in fit, making them one of the largest specialty athletic and lifestyle footwear retailers.

The Athlete’s Foot will be the naming rights holder of the highly successful AFL Barwon Female Festival of Sport Breakfast, which will take place on Friday May 31st at GMHBA Stadium.

The partnership with Athlete’s Foot has a strong focus on providing opportunities to the local community, with AFL Barwon members receiving opportunities to attend exclusive VIP events.

The Athlete’s Foot team will be looking for ways to support clubs and players through the setup of product sales activations at major events and competition days within the region.

“We’re extremely enthused to partner with The Athlete’s Foot to promote and support their approach to ensuring players within the AFL Barwon region, can prioritise performance and wellbeing with trusted experts to support their sporting journeys. The integration of The Athlete’s Foot within our local community is paramount, and their support of the upcoming AFL Barwon Female Festival of Sport is testament to this integration”, AFL Barwon Region General Manager, Edward Wilson said.

Naomi Duncan, Marketing Assistant at The Athlete’s Foot stated, “The Athlete’s Foot is excited to work in partnership with AFL Barwon to help ensure the area of Geelong and surround has a thriving sporting community. Our team are committed to providing absolute customer satisfaction, caring professional service and quality products, with a perfect fit each and every time.”

Tickets for the AFL Barwon Female Festival of Sport Breakfast supported by The Athletes Foot can be purchased at

To check out The Athlete’s Foot range of products, locations, or careers, simply go to

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Mathieson Medalist lines up for match 250

Three-time Mathieson Medallist, Club Captain, Geelong Football Netball League Interleague Representative, Club Best and Fairest winner, the list of accolades could go on when you discuss the career of Newtown & Chilwell star Matt McMahon.

This weekend Matt clocks up the outstanding achievement of playing his 250 Senior match after starting his career as a 17 years ago.

AFL Barwon spoke to Matt earlier this week about this weekend’s milestone with Newtown & Chilwell hosting Lara.


AFL Barwon: 250 games is an incredible effort. Congratulations! How have you been able to get to this milestone and stayed playing at such a high level? How is the body feeling?

Matt McMahon: Looking back now it feels like a long time ago when I was making my debut as a 17-year-old, but I guess the desire to compete and my love for the club, coaches, teammates, past and present, has been the main factor in continually showing up and has now got me to this milestone.

No doubt the body has seen better days, and it takes longer to recovery from games, even training at times, but that doesn’t outweigh the enjoyment I get from being around the club and running out with the boys each week.


AFL Barwon: You have remained a one club player throughout your senior career, what has kept you at Newtown & Chilwell? What is so special about the club?

Matt McMahon: It’s something I am proud of being is a one club player. It has been an easy decision for me along the way. I just feel fortunate for the support the club has shown me over the years, the relationships I’ve formed, best mates I’ve made, all those things make it such a special place for me and a reason why I feel I owe the club so much.


AFL Barwon: You are a three-time Mathieson Medallist which an incredible achievement in its own. Is there one of these seasons you credit as your best?

Matt McMahon: It’s hard to compare your individual years but my favourite years are those when you are competing at a high level against the best teams in the competition. As a player and teammate, I felt I had a big contribution to that standard which makes those years more memorable.


AFL Barwon: it must be tougher to keep playing and finding the time to train when you have younger kids. You must have a very supportive family.

Matt McMahon: Yes, obviously the combination of kids and footy has its challenges but if anything, it puts football into perspective. It made me look at it in a whole new way.

Seeing the enjoyment our kids get out of it, for me, is probably one of the best parts of playing. I know on reflection in years to come it will be something we all look back on with great memories. 

I’m proud watching my whole family embrace being a part of the club.

Mads (Wife Madaleine McMahon) and the kids and also my parents, have all been incredible and I feel extremely lucky to have their support over the years.


AFL Barwon: You’re giving back to the club by coaching junior teams, how are you as a coach and is coaching where you think you’ll end up post career? 

Matt McMahon: I get so much joy watching our kids play footy but also just growing up within the club. The coaching side of it is great fun and something that’s hard to stay away from as you feel like you have a fair bit to give, but to be honest I haven’t thought too much more about coaching post career. When the playing days are done, I look forward to helping out and giving back to the club wherever I can.


The AFL Barwon community congratulates Matt on wonderful achievement and all the best for the weekend’s celebration.

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