By Tricia Mifsud
After leading his side to the top of the Riddell District Football Netball League ladder, Wallan’s Daniel Nolan has been awarded Victoria’s AFL senior coach of the year.
The AFL received more than 600 nominations across the nine categories in this year’s Toyota AFL National Volunteer Awards, with all Auskick centres, schools, community clubs and leagues invited to nominate an outstanding volunteer.
Nolan said he had no idea he had been nominated for the award but was extremely humbled to be recognised.
“It was a complete shock. I had no idea I had been nominated until I received a call on Tuesday from Grant McMillan from AFL Victoria that I had been nominated and was successful in receiving the award,” he said.
Nolan thanked the Wallan club committee for its work throughout the year, saying without it he would not have had the team and resources to coach.
“I’ve seen second-hand that they’re just unbelievably hard workers behind the scenes, and it’s been the same committee, especially Stephen Shephard and Neal Langborne who have been there with me from day one to provide the resources to the coaches and the players,” he said.
“I can’t do what I do without the committee and the award reflects the hard work they put in.
“It’s very much an award for the club – at least that’s the way I see it – so I’d like to thank them and also my coaching group.”
Nolan has been with the Magpies for the past six years, and this year led the senior side to a top-of-the-ladder finish before the season was cut short due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The Magpies were strong favourites to win the premiership in the Riddell District senior football competition.
Nolan said he had enjoyed his time at Wallan and looked forward to coaching the senior side again in 2022, after recently being reappointed to the position for another year.
“I’m forever grateful for the opportunity Wallan have provided me over the journey. It’s been six years that I’ve been with the club, and I’ve absolutely loved my time there,” he said.
“I’m now looking forward to next year after the disappointment of COVID-19 ending the season a little earlier and hopefully we can break the premiership drought.”
Wallan’s reserves and under 19.5 sides also finished on top of their respective ladders, which Nolan said reflected the culture the club had worked to make stronger.
“It says a lot about our depth, the culture and the environment that we have at Wallan,” he said.
“It’s not just a senior 22, the reserves and 19’s coaches do a power of work. We’ve had about 32 players in the seniors this year, and we know when players come in, they certainly play a role.
“That’s why we were probably sitting in a position to be successful this year, but now we just need to channel that energy and motivation into next year.”