REDAN forward Damien Horbury has been a high-flier for the L & H Lions in the past couple of years. But he believes being a Wingman is a greater honour.
Horbury has been named the region’s first AFL Coaches Association Wingman Off-field Champion player of the year.
The 24-year-old was presented with the award, which recognises positive and responsible off-field behaviour at country football clubs, by former St Kilda great and Richmond coach Danny Frawley and Victorian Crime Prevention Minister Andrew McIntosh yesterday at City Oval.
He said the honour, which focuses on looking out for younger teammates at club social functions, was as important to him as any of his on-field footballing awards.
“It rates right up there because it is about my character rather than just about the ability to kick a footy,” Horbury said.
“It is a great honour. I had seen it advertised at the footy but had never thought about winning it. Having the AFL Coaches Association associated with it makes it a particularly big honour.”
Frawley, who is chief executive officer of the AFL Coaches Association, said the Wingman award was launched in June by Hawthorn coach Alistair Clarkson, whose elder brother died in a drink-driving incident 28 years ago.
He said it was important there were players and supporters at country sporting clubs who looked after their friends and teammates.
“I was Tony Lockett’s wingman and that was a handful,” he said.
“Being involved at a football club is about having a good time. This is about making sure people have fun but get home in one piece. Every club needs a best clubman and what the Wingman award does is make it official.”
People can pledge their commitment to looking out for their mates at www.facebook.com/champmoves.