IF YOU'VE admired a picture of the mighty Murrumbeena Lions in action at any stage over the past decade, there's a fair chance it's the handiwork of husband and wife photography team Marg and Geoff Edwards.
The retired couple have combined their passion for photography with their love of their local Southern Football Netball League club in Melbourne's southern suburbs since 2013.
"We live close to the ground, and we love the sport, we love the club and the people," Marg said.
"We chat to the parents … it's just a lovely atmosphere.
"I hobble down there most Saturdays, it's only seven blocks away."
'Beena fielded seniors, reserves, women's and under-19s teams during the '21 and '22 seasons, with Geoff and Marg shooting every game.
Saturday nights were spent poring over hundreds of images, with 80 or so edited for publication on the club's social media channels.
Their efforts saw them share the best club person award in 2021, but Marg has been slowed this season by a fall that saw her break her hip and injure a shoulder.
"I've been back at the club for about a month, but I'm only doing one game," she said.
"I used to do all four games, but that's too tiring for me … being on my feet all day and holding a heavy camera is too much."
Marg was given her first camera at the age of 10 and has had one ever since, while Geoff, a former journalist, has long had an interest in sports photography.
"I joined a camera club in Portland in the mid-nineties," he said.
"I enjoy looking at sports pictures, it's my passion, and I like to look at other photographers' work so I can keep learning.
"I like my pictures to tell a story that doesn't have to be explained with words. I'm not always successful in doing that, but that's the goal.
"I like people to see the story that's captured in the picture and know what's going on.
"The prime reason I like to shoot football in recent years has been to help Murrumbeena, as the club has gone through some very hard times.
"Thankfully, it's now emerging from those hard times."
These wonderful images that celebrate local footy at its best are the couple's entries into the 2023 AFL Footy Focus competition, thanks to Toyota.
Geoff is particularly pleased with an unusual shot he took at a Murrumbeena home game that captured the moment a tackle went awry in spectacular fashion.
"I didn't know that I had that picture until I went home and saw two frames on my computer," he said.
"I realised with the second frame that the head had appeared at the bottom and the legs were sticking up at the top.
"Jordan Pollard, the player with the ball, charged at the other bloke with his head down and that player reached over and put his arms around Jordan's waist to tackle him.
"When Jordan straightened up, the opposition player got flung up and over his head and found himself hanging upside down."
Geoff also counts pictures of Melbourne's Max Gawn and then Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley and star defender Darcy Moore among his favourites.
"At the time, it was being reported that there was a rift between them," Geoff said of the Magpies pair.
"Moore appeared on the ground, and he went straight over to Buckley and they held hands for a moment.
"I reckon I was the only person to get that shot and I really like it because it showed that they weren't really at loggerheads at all."
One of Marg's all-time favourite sports pics, entitled 'Eyes On The Ball', won local acclaim, taking out the PJ Perpetual Trophy in 2018 at the Southern Suburbs Photographic Society, and also received national recognition.
"I won a competition at our local camera club with this picture, and it was also selected to represent Australia in the 2020 FIAP Sports image competition in France," Marg said.
"We didn't win that year, but the photo scored all right."
Geoff would be delighted if the competition judges give him the nod, with shadowing one of AFL Photos acclaimed photographers Michael Willson or Dylan Burns at an AFL game part of the major prize.
"That would be better than the gear that's on offer as a prize," he said.
"I love to see how they operate, how they meet up before the game to work out points of interest to photograph, where they photograph from and how they get their shots out to the public.
"I would really love to do that."
#FootyFocus23, thanks to Toyota's Good For Footy program, is now open for entries! Here's your chance to shadow and shoot with Michael Willson and Dylan Burns at a game in 2024. We want to see your photos that capture the essence of our great game at a grassroots level. To enter, upload your best community footy photos taken during 2023 to: http://footyfocus23.afl/