Hard work pays off for Dudley and Lions

Krystie Dudley (right) celebrates the Lions grand final win with Simone Craige. Picture Shawn Smits Picture Shawn Smits.

It would have been hard to find anyone more deserving than the Sunbury Lions’ Krystie Dudley to be named Victorian Women’s Football League’s volunteer of the year.

When the Lions looked like folding last offseason, it was Dudley who stepped up and took the leading hand which ultimately helped her team survive.

“It was a lot of hard work, but completely worth it” Dudley said last week.

“There was a lot of meetings with the VWFL and they helped give us a bit of direction.

“They have had teams before who have folded due because of the same situation, but they didn’t want to lose us as we had been a successful club on field.”

The hard work continued throughout the season on and off the field.

“It took talk about the club folding made some of the girls realise how much the club meant to them,” Dudley said.

“We still didn’t have enough numbers for a full team, but playing in west division gave us the leniency to have lesser numbers.

“We didn’t expect anything going into the first game, so when we won by a huge margin and got some new girls into the club, we thought something special could happen.”

The Lions went through the west division season undefeated, winning the grand by 19 points.

Dudley was nominated for the volunteer of the year award by teammate Emel Ramadan.

“The award capped off a good year,” Dudley said.

“The award is for all the divisions so I didn’t think I was in with a chance. I was shocked when my name was called out.

“I wish I could have Emel’s name on the award too. It is half hers for all the work she has done as well.”

It was a night of awards for the Lions with Natasha Hardy winning the west division best and fairest award and Lisa Kirby taking out that division’s leading goal kicker award.

Hardy, who had previously won the 2013 north west best and fairest and the 2011 division 1 best and fairest award, was a shock winner of the award having only played 10 games in the regular season.

“We were shocked when they put the scoreboard up for the last three rounds and she was 13 votes ahead,” Dudley said.

“As she missed so many games [through injury] so we thought Lisa Kirby and Simone Craige would be our front runners.

“There was so many good players playing this year that we thought they would take votes off each other.”

Dudley says the work to keep the club going is still going and the club was on the look out for more players.