The countless hours of dedication and hard work giving back to Limestone Coast football from North Gambier off-field superstar Steph Contin paid off when she received the accolades she deserved last Sunday being named as the 2021 Statewide Super Volunteer of the Year.
Contin was described as an “organisational powerhouse” being a Tigers’ committee member plus a league delegate, player, coach and Auskick coordinator.
There would not be a single person involved in Limestone Coast football who has not experienced her helping hand and the award is a fitting tribute to her work.
Contin is one of the key backbones behind the Limestone Coast Women’s Football League and also a delegate and executive in the Western Border senior and junior competitions.
On top of all this, she performs weekly administrative jobs for North Gambier such as player registrations, transfers, game day coordination, team kit designs, washing and orders, COVID-19 marshalling and organising volunteer schedules.
Craig Harley (Central United Football Club), Danny McNamara (Fitzroy Community Club), Felicity Chinnery (Kimba Districts Football Club), Gordon Thomson (O’Sullivan Beach Lonsdale Football Club), Shane Snell (River Murray Football League / Imperial Football Club), Steve Dirksen (Flinders Park Football Club) and Mark Murphy (South Clare Sports Club) were the seven other super volunteers nominated from around the state.
But the Mount Gambier mother of six was named as the winner at the presentation ceremony at Adelaide Oval before the 2021 SANFL Grand Final between Glenelg and Woodville-West Torrens.
Even after a few days of soaking up the applause, Contin said she is yet to come to grips with the honour.
“It has not really sunk in yet,” she said.
“I was lucky enough to enjoy the luncheon with my fiancé and the seven other finalists and we were just the small fries of a room with 500 people.
“But they put a lot of importance on the volunteers which was fantastic and each of us was equally as deserving as the next, so the feeling of being awarded the winner was quite surreal.
“It was nice to get recognition for all of the time, effort, energy and countless hours you put in to help the club.
“So many people have helped me get to this point.
“I have not been given the official prizes and only have the medal which is incredibly beautiful and actually very heavy.
“To understand the gravity of the whole experience was quite insane.”
Despite being an individual award, Contin said she could not have stood on stage in front of South Australian football legends without the support of so many people.
“I am very grateful to my club and incredibly proud of what everyone has achieved to make this happen,” she said.
“I might be a solo winner, but it took a huge group effort and there are a lot of important people to thank.”
Following the special presentations, the next gift for Contin was tossing the coin in front of more than 22,000 spectators alongside and the Tigers and Eagles captains.
Contin said she had always been around the game and her reach expands far further than just Vansittart Park.
“Growing up you are a part of community football and I played netball for Hatherleigh and Kongorong as a junior,” she said.
“Once I had my kids we went to North because that is where they wanted to play with their friends, so being from a wide range of areas has been important.
“I have had brothers who have played in Adelaide and seen the different dynamics of how they operate which makes you want to do more with your club locally to bring what they have home.”
She said her biggest motivators were working with similarly passionate people to create a bright future for the next generation.
“You need to find like-minded and passionate people on the committees because it is never just about one person,” Contin said.
“You want to see all clubs succeed so it is all about volunteers working together because I do not want to see anything crumble or kids not play or games get cancelled.
“You do not want to lose community sports because it is the best part of the weekend being part of a club that is a huge part of the town.
“There is no point criticizing something you can potentially help to turn a negative into a positive.
“It is just about making the most of it for kids, keeping them engaged and in sport when there is so much craziness going on in the world.”
Even after so many years of tireless effort, Contin is not taking her foot off the throttle.
She is pushing hard to ensure the 2022 LCWFL junior and senior seasons kick off in February next year and will remain one of the most influential individuals at Vansittart Park.
“I do not think there is any slowing down,” Contin said.
“We are about to roll into the women’s league and we are already prepping for the 2022 men’s season.
“There is stuff happening at so many different levels and for the moment I just have to keep the ball rolling.”