On Friday 13th October, 140 guests from the Victorian Balloon Football League (BFL) community came together at Etihad Stadium for the 5th annual Black Tie Awards night. Guests included players from the seven BFL leagues, volunteers, staff, families and friends. The event is an opportunity for BFL players to attend a formal event, socialise and celebrate all of their achievements.

Gabby Pound, Carlton AFLW player attended the event as a guest speaker and spoke about her experiences playing in the first Women’s AFL competition. Guests also enjoyed entertainment from Scope supported bands The Sugar Bells and Park Pack.

The event recognized the achievements of BFL players throughout the season and awarded the top players the following awards:

    Rising Star: Deborah Gawthorpe, Western League

    Most Improved Player: John Bababtzikos, Eastern League

    Goal of the Year: Scott Peeler, Southern League

    Leading Women in BFL: Kim Mammoliti, Bendigo League

    Sportsperson of the Year: Graham Thorp, Bendigo League

    St Albans Sports Club (Volunteer) Award: Ian MacKenzie, Western League

Each year one person is inducted into the BFL Hall of Fame. The BFL Hall of Fame seeks to recognise and enshrine players, coaches, umpires and administrators who have made significant contributions to BFL at any level.

This year Greg Muir was inducted into the BFL Hall of Fame. Greg began his BFL career in 1995, inspired by Cam West’s vision to start a footy comp that could be played by people with a diverse range of abilities.

Greg has been a member of the Southern league since its inception 22 years ago. Greg plays a mentorship role for new players and has performed a range of BFL roles including umpiring, playing for his team the Tiger Wheelies and representing the league at state level.

Greg is now in his 60s and shows other players that age is no barrier to success in BFL. Greg was a runner up in this year’s grand final and premier in 2016.

Greg also performs Welcome to Country ceremonies at all Southern BFL grand finals and is an asset to the sport of Balloon Football.

Carlton AFLW player Gabby Pound presents Kim Mammoliti with the Leading Women in BFL Award.

Graham Thorp with his Sportsperson of the Year award and Gabby Pound.

Feature image: Hall of Fame inductee Greg Muir.