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Monday, 29 November 2004
Page: 19


Ms CORCORAN (1:45 PM) —So often local people who put so much into their community do not receive recognition unless they are in the media spotlight. However, once in a while somebody truly dedicated and excellent is recognised and given the kudos they deserve. Earlier this year I had the pleasure of recognising the achievements of one such person—Mal Lehner. Mal has put years of work and commitment into his local football club, the Seaford Junior Football Club.

On Father's Day this year, I was invited by the club to their annual presentation day to award Mal with his Commonwealth Sports Award. Mal was nominated for the award by his colleagues, who were impressed by Mal's dedication to the club and his work with the junior players. His work has fostered talent and given confidence to those who needed a little extra help. Not only did Mal play as a junior for the club for five years; he then returned as a trainer. His nephew was there playing for the club, continuing the family tradition.

In 1996 Mal began coaching the team he once played in as a youngster. He stepped aside in 2003 because the club could only field one team, but he has returned this year to coach the under-nines—the most inexperienced players in the club. Mal has a very encouraging coaching style. It is based on giving positive feedback and facilitating an inclusive atmosphere amongst the players. Last year Mal was rewarded with a life membership of the Seaford Junior Football Club in recognition of his 16 years service in different capacities in the club. (Time expired)