By Jessica Howard
Tamara Henry had never played football when she took to the field at the start of the 2017 season.
The 12-year-old was introduced to the sport through Little Athletics and has topped off a stellar season with the AFL Goldfields Riddell Junior Girls under-13 best and fairest.
Tamara said she was “very excited”.
“I wasn’t expecting it because there are some really good girls who play in my league”.
Bacchus Marsh Under-13 girls football coach, Brett Faulkhead said it was no surprise Tamara took out the award.
“Tamara came to us as a runner and inline hockey player. Slowly as the year has gone on, her skills have developed and she has worked hard alongside the other 23 players,” he said.
“Tamara has an outstanding running ability, she is quick to cover space and very sharing of the ball. For her to develop from an athlete into a footballer and win the league’s best and fairest is outstanding. It is a great achievement, especially considering she was up against girls who had played football before”.
The 2017 season saw the Bacchus Marsh Cobra’s field the under-13 girls side for the first time. They will compete in the league grand final on September 10.
Mr Faulkhead said Tamara had been appointed captaincy role and would lead the team into the final.
“I rotated captaincy throughout the year so everyone had the opportunity to lead the team. At the end of the season, we finished top of the ladder and a vice captain and captain were appointed.
“Tamara is a quiet girl but she fits the role of captain well. She leads by example on the field and isn’t a selfish player. She brings her teammates into the game and looks for any opportunity to ensure she can pass the ball to someone”.
Mother, Jodie referred to Tamara as a humble sportsman.
“She has been doing Little Athletics with Bacchus Marsh for the past six years and she takes out her age group championship every year.
“In the first week of school holidays, she will be representing the Tasmanian under-13 girl’s hockey squad in Moe, which is a week-long nationals title, where she could be selected in a state squad.
“Tamara also plays on a hockey team where everyone is well and truly in their 20s or 30s, they don’t adjust her game at all”.
Tamara said she looked forward to the the upcoming grand final and acknowledged her coach Brett and “how well he has coached all the girls”.
Mr Faulkhead said for the first year of under-13 football, Tamara and the whole team had done very well.
“To see a team progress into a grand final is amazing, I am very proud as a coach and am proud of every girl in the team in terms of how far they’ve come”.