SAM Hall, 51, was already a winner by simply taking her place in the starting forward pocket for the AJAX Jackettes earlier this year in the opening round of the VAFA women’s division 4 season, as the team’s oldest player.
She’d kicked a goal on debut, but suffered ligament damage in her ankle and forced her to miss a stack of games.
In a triumphant return in round 12 last Saturday, Hall proved to be the match-winner for AJAX, scoring the only goal in their vital 1.8 (14) to 0.1 (1) away win against Albert Park, which followed three straight losses.
When the Jackettes needed something special to counter a solid wall of Albert Park defenders, it was Hall who marked from about 25 metres out.
She then remained cool as a cucumber to fire a torpedo kick – seconds after the half-time buzzer sounded and facing a stiff breeze – that sailed right between the posts.
Midfielders Maddy Smart, Talia Abelman and Lindi Nankin, backliner Justine Gabriel and forward Hannah Mel were also big contributors in AJAX’s seventh win, which lifted them to third spot with only a few rounds remaining.
Hall told The AJN “when we sang the team song, it really was an unbelievable feeling”.
“I can’t put into words the phenomenal spirit in this team.
“I’d always wanted to be part of a team sport, but back when I was a kid, girls couldn’t play junior footy,” she said.”I thought I’d never get the chance, but when the Jackettes were short of players in the pre-season, I told the coach [Joey Nankin] I could kick a footy, so he asked me to come to training.
“Then he said I’m in the team.
“It’s truly an amazing experience to be a part of, particularly as most of my teammates are more than half my age.
“It shows that anyone’s dream came come true eventually, because it’s never too late to give something a go.”