Award winners announced for 2023 Female Football Week

Northern NSW Football is thrilled to announce the recipients of its 2023 Female Football Week awards.  

Awards were presented at NNSWF’s annual Female Football Week Networking Event held at Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility earlier this evening.  

The event was attended by almost 50 guests to recognise and highlight the contribution that women, girls and volunteers make throughout all levels of the game throughout northern NSW from grassroots football to NPL Women’s NNSW.  

Matildas Equipment Manager Holly-Lace Ayton also spoke about her football journey and gave some insights into how the Matildas camp are preparing for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023.  

NNSWF Female Participation and Inclusion Officer Nat Boyd said the night was a great success.  

“The event was an amazing opportunity for supporters of women’s football with the same passions to come together in one space,” Boyd said.  

“Congratulations to the award winners who contribute so much to their football community. They are all very deserving and we thank them for their hard work and dedication.”   


Coach of the Year - Mackenzie Davis 

Mackenzie is only 24 years old but is already striving to be the best coach she can be to improve herself and her team. She is half way through her B licence, which has allowed her to be coaching JDL teams and first grade.  

Whilst juggling coaching, studying and working full time, Mackenzie still makes time for her club New Lambton, being the main driver at organising all things football at the club.  

New Lambton’s senior side had 100 per cent retention from the 2022 season, which was said to be a direct representation of the culture that Mackenzie has created at the club.   

Player of the Year - Tahliya Sambrook

Tahliya began playing football at the age of five and plays first grade for Coffs Harbour United FC. She gave up her spot in this year’s NCF male premier team to focus on her HSC.  

In 2022 Tahliya played in the North Coast Football under-16s premiership-winning team, represented her area in school football and was selected for the National Training Camp, an elite national training opportunity for the best females her age. Tahliya has spent countless hours in the car, traveling from Coffs Harbour to numerous training sessions and competitions.  

Club of the Year - Swansea FC 

Swansea FC have made strides in making the club a more female inclusive environment. They now have multiple females on the committee, including the president, secretary and financial controller/registrar.  

The club have excelled in promoting female football within the community, holding many come and try days to assist in the significant growth of female participation within the club.  

Swansea FC now have female teams of all ages, from under-5s to All Age and over-30s, bringing their female participation up to 40.9 per cent which they are incredibly proud of.  

Referee of the Year - Elizabeth Lambert 

Refereeing for the Newcastle Football Association Referees since 2017, Elizabeth’s quality of officiating for community football within the Newcastle region is outstanding. The quantity of appointments she has attended is to be commended and Elizabeth never worries about who she is refereeing.  

Elizabeth can always be relied on and always shows up for her referee appointments. She is an exemplary example of what a referee should be and is highly regarded amongst the Newcastle referee community. 

Volunteer of the Year - Amanda Kapsaskis  

Amanda is a tremendous asset to Edgeworth Junior Soccer Club and the local football community. She dedicates many hours of her own personal time to help her club beyond any reasonable expectations of an unpaid volunteer.  

Amanda’s leadership on the committee has been second to none. She has been with the club through all the challenges posed by COVID-19 and extensive wet weather.  

Amanda’s dedication and devotion to the club is unmatched arranging helpers for home games and organising mascots for Newcastle Jets and Matildas fixtures.  

Amanda has also played a key role in helping to foster the next generations of referees, with the majority of the club’s MiniRoos games refereed by young game day leaders. 

Ally Champion of the Year - Brayden Wilkinson 

Hamilton Azzurri FC president Brayden Wilkinson has been one of the main drivers of advocating for more female inclusion within the club. The committee now has a number of female representatives that are a part of key decisions for the club.  

Brayden has also been coaching women’s football teams for the last seven years, currently coaching the All Age Women’s D Grade team at Azzurri. Within this role he has fostered an inclusive and supportive environment for all of his players.  

As president, Brayden makes a conscious effort to make sure that there is no gap between the men's and women’s teams at the club. This includes making sure that the women’s teams receive the same exposure on the club’s social media pages as the men’s teams. Brayden also works with the women’s teams on uniform choices, in making sure that they are the appropriate cuts and colours to best suit them.