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WILDCAT SHINES

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November 15, 2017

The commitment of Finley’s Tanya Clarke (pictured) to her community has resulted in a nomination for the 2017 Shine Award.

The Shine Awards are a Weekly Times initiative to recognise women across Australia in six categories — grace, spirit, belief, dedication, passion and courage. Clarke has been nominated for grace.

She was recognised as a nominee through her commitment as the Finley Wildcats team manager, part-time nurse and also helping to run a farm.

Clarke said her nomination for the Shine award reflects more on the support she received from fellow volunteers, the Finley Football and Netball Club, and Wildcats player parents.

‘‘The Wildcats wouldn’t exist without the dedication of the people around me,’’ she said.

‘‘For us to make the grand final in our first full season was just great.

‘‘I don’t expect the accolade for what I do.’’

The Wildcats team came about from the desire of Clarke’s youngest daughter Lauren and her friend Courtney Sexton to have a local girls football team.

Clarke said she hopes the Wildcats are the start of something special for female sport in the area.

‘‘Girls shouldn’t be left out and why should the boys get all the fun?’’ she asked.

‘‘The Wildcats provide a wonderful new opportunity as a pathway for young girls to play in the AFLW league.

‘‘It gives me goosebumps that there will be a girl drafted from this area one day.

‘‘Although it would take years, there’s the possibility that one day a surrounding town might get its own girls football team.’’

Clarke said she will be stepping down from her role as team manager but will continue to help out when needed.

‘‘I know there are good people at the club who will run the team.

‘‘It’s funny, first full season and I’m already retiring,’’ she joked.

The announcement for the Shine Award winners will be next Tuesday at 7pm.

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