Collingwood had a successful night at Monday’s VFL & VFLW awards, with a number of Pies taking home honours.
VFLW midfielder Jessica Bates backed up her Club Best & Fairest from last month by taking home the league’s Coaches MVP.
The 28-year-old had an outstanding season where she led the competition in major categories including disposals (453), kicks (267), and handballs (186).
In what was a remarkable debut season for the Magpies, Bates also kicked 11 goals throughout the year.
Unsurprisingly, Bates was also named as captain of the VFLW team of the Year at ruck rover, alongside fellow Magpie Nyakoat Dojiok who took her place at centre half forward.
Dojiok kicked 16 goals for the season with her best effort a four-goal haul against Darebin in Round 11.
She also proved to be a strong disposal getter despite being a key forward, registering 12 or more possessions 10 times throughout the season.
It continues the 20-year-old’s quick rise after arriving at the Club only last year.
Collingwood’s VFLW side continued to be a flavour of the night when Meagen Lee received the Ann Rulton Award as the VFLW Volunteer of the Year. Sister of foundation VFLW Magpie Katelyn Lee, Meagen is a much-loved member of the Pies’ VFLW program.
The award recognises volunteers who provide outstanding service to their club of football in general.
The night was capped off when Eddie Hillgrove received VFL Life Membership.
Hillgrove has long been part of the fabric of Collingwood, having served in a variety of roles over the past 42 years since joining the Reserves Committee back in 1981. In 2016, his service to Collingwood was acknowledged when he was awarded the Club’s highest honour – Life Membership, and he has now added league Life Membership to that.
When the club re-launched its own stand-alone VFL program in 2008, Hillgrove put his hand up to help then VFL coach Gavin Brown and General Manager, Paul Licuria. He quickly became Licuria’s right-hand man and continues to be involved as the VFL Team Manager to this very day.
Since then, with the help of his fellow volunteer crew, he ensures the rooms are set up for the players’ arrival, all paperwork is lodged on time and the opposition team have everything they need.
As Collingwood CEO Craig Kelly and General Manager of Football Graham Wright said in the club’s submission to the VFL:
“Eddie’s contribution to the Collingwood Football Club has been immense across both our AFL and VFL programs. His positive nature, can-do attitude and love of the whole club has shone through many, many seasons. This acknowledgement and recognition are justly deserved.”