Fitzroy-ACU forward, Ash Riddell, was awarded the Debbie Lee Medal for best first year player at the Victorian Women’s Football League Presentation Night on Wednesday.
In her first season of football, she also came second in the Division 3 best and fairest award, to Gippsland’s Sarah Jolly; an outstanding result for someone who just likes to play football for fun.
Playing 15 games in her first season with Fitzroy-ACU (13 in Division 3 and two in North West), including a narrow grand final loss, Ash gave the team plenty of pace and poise up front and kicked 36 goals for the year (26 in Division 3 and 10 in North West).
Aside from school footy, which she gave away to concentrate on basketball at age 11, Ash hadn’t played Australian Rules football for nearly 10 years when she came down to try out at Fitzroy at the request of her mate Luci Murphy.
But it appears she may have had some pointers from a pretty handy schoolmate, one Marcus Bontempelli. Then again given her achievements this season, maybe Ash taught Marcus a few on-field moves.
Apparently Ash and the Bont are quite good mates and did play footy together at Our Lady’s Primary School in Eltham, before she started playing basketball in the same team as his talented sister.
Of course Ash credits her coaches and her team mates at Fitzroy-ACU for her form and says for her, football is all about fun and the relationships. “The friendships are the thing I’ve enjoyed most this year. I don’t live in the area, so it’s been great to meet a lot of these girls and feel at home”.
The 20 year old is two and a half years into an osteopathy degree at RMIT but given the developments in women’s footy perhaps she could have another career in front of her. “I’ve always been really sporty but I do it for fun; I don’t want it to be too serious.”
Fitzroy-ACU it is then! And we’re pretty happy to have her.
Representing the Women 2 team in the North West Division, Tash Ross-Harris (Rosso), remarkably finished in fourth place in the best and fairest, having played only four of the 12 possible home and away games for the season. Given the Fitzroy-ACU team didn’t make finals, Tash certainly made her mark in just a few games. Congratulations Tash.