Pictured above: Meagan Lee poses after winning the Ann Rulton Award during the 2023 VFL and VFLW Awards. (Photo by Graham Denholm/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Afford supported employee, Meagan Lee, claimed an incredible honour at the 2023 VFL and VFLW Awards night, when she received the Ann Rulton Award as the VFLW Volunteer of the Year for her efforts with the Collingwood Magpies football club.

A family Magpies affair

Meagan is a much-loved member of the Pies’ VFLW program. After tagging along and helping for many years, Meagan stepped up to a bigger volunteer role in 2023, one that sees her in charge of all the property. And it’s quite the family affair! Meagan’s sister, Katie Lee, has been a foundation VFLW Collingwood Magpie since 2018 and is now Vice Captain of the team.

“I started this year, volunteering for my sisters football club,” Meagan said. “I do water bottles, do the balls, and get all the stuff out for training. I like different things about it, mostly that I get to know people. And I like supporting my sister. It’s good to see all the girls playing footy and all that stuff because it is a big deal.”

Tireless volunteer efforts

It was Collingwood VFLW’s Senior Coach, Chloe McMillan who nominated Meagan for this prestigious award to give her recognition.

“Meagan does so much work, she’d get in an hour and a half earlier than training would start, get all the drink bottles ready, get all the footies ready, get all our cones out. I’d even try and get her out on the track and help with some drills,” Chloe said. “She is another part of the team that doesn’t play but is just as important as the other people out there. You can only say thanks so many times, so this award was a pretty cool way to see her acknowledged.”

The Ann Rulton Award is a big deal in the world of VFLW. An icon of the game as a legendary volunteer, the late Ann Rulton spent three decades working to grow women’s football, resulting in the VFLW Volunteer of the Year award being named in her honour.

According to Chloe, Meagan’s efforts for the Pies certainly live up to the volunteer standard set by Anne Rulton. In fact, Chloe described her as the glue of the club. “She keeps us all connected and the little things she does means so much to a lot of people. Winning the award is great recognition for Meagan and we’re very lucky to have her as a part of the group.”

Gala awards night

While the team and Meagan’s family knew about the award submission, they managed to keep it a secret right up until Meagan’s name was called to accept the award at the gala event held at Crown Palladium.

“I didn’t know about it at all! I was a bit nervous when I went up actually, and a bit sweaty as well,” Meagan said. “I was wearing a dress and all that stuff, so getting dressed up was probably a good thing to do. I had lots of support around me, and then I enjoyed it.”

Chloe clearly enjoyed the ruse and delighted in sharing Meagan’s reaction to hearing her name called to accept the VFLW Volunteer of the Year Award.

“As the person came out on stage to announce it, all of our table looked at her, waiting for her reaction, and she was just gobsmacked that it was her getting called out,” Chloe said. “Her mum was just smiling, she was glowing, and Megan still was oblivious to the fact that she was about to go up there. It was awesome.”

A little bit famous

After walking the red carpet, posing for paparazzi photos, and receiving a major award, Meagan shyly said she is now only ‘a little bit famous.’ But to everyone here at Afford (and the Collingwood Magpies, of course), Meagan Lee is an absolute superstar!

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