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ESV announces 2022 Canteen Hero

Wednesday 19 October 2022 at 8:05 pm

This week ESV celebrates footy clubs’ unsung heroes – the canteen volunteers – by announcing our 2022 Canteen Hero - Julie Saunders from the Crib Point Football Netball Club. 


ESV's 2022 Canteen Hero Julie Saunders at the AFL Victoria Community Awards

On Friday 14 October, Energy Safe Victoria Commissioner and Chairperson, Marnie Williams, presented the ESV 2022 Canteen Hero Award to Julie at the AFL Victoria 2022 Community Awards.

Marnie Williams presenting Julie Saunders with the ESV 2022 Canteen Hero Award

Julie’s contribution at Crib Point is nothing short of astonishing. For more than 46 years, Julie has run the canteen for both the senior and junior football clubs without expectation of any recognition or reward, suggesting its success is due to the people around her.

She updates the menu regularly, to ensure the canteen is the best in the league and prepares meals for the seniors on a Thursday night as well as helping out the junior club whenever she’s needed.

Julie is also committed to the broader Crib Point community. During the Covid lockdowns she worked with the local RSL to provide meals to the elderly and local veterans.

This year we received 140 nominations for the Canteen Hero Award and as testament to her, Julie received 14 separate nominations, the most we’ve ever received for one Canteen Hero.

In addition to an engraved plaque and certificate from ESV, Julie will also receive a $1,000 grant towards the purchase of new electrical or gas appliances for the Crib Point FNC canteen. In her speech Julie said the grant will be put towards a new oven for the club to replace their old and very loud one. She also used her speech to thank ESV, warmly congratulate the other finalists and thank everyone at the club:

"Thank you to ESV and the AFL for making this award possible.

To the other seven finalists, congratulations. After reading what was written about each one of them, I don't know how I came out on top!

So, to the people from Crib Point Football Netball Club who said nice things about me (they know I’d start crying) this award belongs to all our community and volunteers, our young footballers and netballers who give their time each canteen to work shifts throughout our home games. Some of them come in and do their shifts, and then go and play football.

Thank you for the $1000 which goes with this award. And that is correct - our oven sounds like a jet taking off! When the young ones come in, they say to me 'Julie, what is that?' And, it is the oven, so hopefully we get a new oven.

I'm just so grateful and humbled.

Thank you."

Watch Julie's speech below.

 Selecting our winner

The task of selecting our finalists and a winner was undeniably challenging.

Every nomination received illustrated a Canteen Hero devoting their weekends and Thursday nights to preparing meals, managing stock, seeking out healthy food options and spending hours serving hungry patrons.

Many of our nominees received multiple nominations - everyone of them is indeed an unsung hero to their beloved club.

Ultimately we selected 8 finalists and from those emerged our winner – Julie. We also warmly congratulate our seven other finalists, listed below. It was a near impossible task to separate them from the winner with every nomination an inspiration and so well appreciated by their club. You are certainly your Club’s Canteen Hero.

Please read more about them on our website HERE.

Energy Safe Victoria, AFL Victoria and your footy club thanks you and all who support their local club and canteen.

Read about our Canteen Grants program(opens in a new window) and sponsorship of regional and suburban football in Victoria.


Julie Saunders, Crib Point Football Netball Club

Other finalists

Shelly Wunhym, Wesburn Junior Football Club Carmen and Leo Glass, Yackandandah Football Netball Club Donna Price, Yarra Junction Football and Netball Club Tracy Bakos, Lindenow South Football Netball Club Vicki Short, Roxburgh Park Magpies Football Club Julie Nolan, Wangaratta Rovers Sharon Carmody, Wangaratta Tigers Junior Football Club