Published on December 5, 2017 9:14 am

2017 AFL Merit Award winners

Two of Victoria’s long-time servants of Australian Football have been recognised for their contribution to the game, having been presented with the 2017 AFL Merit Awards at the 2017 AFL Victoria Community Football Awards last month. Jake Morris reports.

With a combined 40 years of service to Australian Football, Brian Quigley from AFL Gippsland and Graham Halbish from the Eastern Football League were presented with the award, which acknowledges individuals for outstanding service to the game.

Brian Quigley has played, coached and worked diligently throughout two different leagues and football Clubs in the Gippsland area. Growing up in the town of Yinnar, about a two-hour drive from Melbourne, Quigley donned the black and white guernsey of the Yinnar Magpies for a decade, claiming five Premierships in his time at the club.

After finishing his time as a junior at the Yinnar Football Netball Club, he headed to Traralgon for playing opportunities with the Maroons as a senior. Quigley was able to muster another 10 years for Traralgon and take home another five Premierships in the reserves, a club Best and Fairest and a Clubman award.

He hung up the boots after a 20-year playing career and began to heavily involve himself in the inner workings of the Traralgon Football Club, including taking on positions on the club’s committee, Vice-President and Club President.

After finishing his time at the Maroons, Quigley began a 12-year stint with the Latrobe Valley Football League (now Gippsland Football League), including four years as League President and six years as a club delegate.

In 2011, Brian was announced the Chairman of AFL Gippsland and has honoured the role since. He also holds the role of Deputy Chairman of the Traralgon Football Club’s Past Players Association, as well as Deputy Chairman of the North Gippsland Football League.

Fellow AFL Merit recipient Graham Halbish has been at the Eastern Football League (EFL) for more than a decade and has been influential in the league’s growing competitions.

Taking over the role as chairman in 2008 after three years on the board, Halbish has since been able to grow the EFL from 372 local football teams to 541.

On top of this, Graham also introduced and successfully began the EFL Netball competition which is currently filled with 70 different teams.

His tireless work for the EFL also helped introduce the Eastern Football League’s very own girls and women’s football competitions, which continues to go from strength to strength.

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