Carissa Embling from the Port Macquarie Magpies in NSW presented with the 2023 Toyota AFL Community Volunteer of the Year award by NSW Premier, the Hon. Chris Minns, MP. Picture: Supplied

The AFL has announced the winners of the 2023 Toyota AFL National Volunteer of the Year Awards, with Carissa Embling from the Port Macquarie Magpies in New South Wales taking out the top overall honour.

The annual awards, this year comprising 13 categories, recognise volunteers across Australia who have made outstanding contributions to community football. All NAB AFL Auskick centres, schools, community clubs and leagues in each state and territory were invited to participate, with more than 1000 nominations received nationally.

Embling, as the winner of the Toyota AFL Community Volunteer of the Year, is the recipient of a brand new Toyota Hilux, which she will be presented with before attending the 2023 Toyota AFL Grand Final alongside other national category winners, who all will travel to Melbourne for an ‘AFL Grand Final Experience’, as well as three nights’ accommodation.

The impact Embling has had on her club and the game in her local community has been profound. After serving as treasurer for the Magpies for a number of years, Embling took on the role of president in 2023 and has overseen a major uplift in sponsorship revenue, grant funding, player support programs and has been a fantastic advocate for growing football for women and girls at the club and the NSW North Coast region.

Toyota AFL Community Volunteer of the Year, Carissa Embling, said: "It’s a total shock to be the National Community Volunteer of the Year. I love the football club and have really enjoyed the past five years on the committee. As a volunteer, you certainly don’t do things for accolades but recognition is always nice, on this scale it’s phenomenal.

"As President, I’m lucky to see the value football can give people within the club and the broader community and I feel fortunate to be part of a team which can make a difference to people’s lives.

"I’m so grateful to Darren for nominating me, Toyota and the AFL for the incredible prizes. Thank you and I’m already looking forward to next season."


AFL Executive General Manager Game Development, Rob Auld, said: "Volunteers are the heartbeat of local football and I sincerely thank the more than 220,000 volunteers across the country who make such an important contribution to the game and their communities.

"Congratulations to those honoured as part of the 2023 Toyota AFL National Volunteer of the Year Awards, a wonderful achievement and deserving acknowledgment.  

"All individual winners have played vitally important roles in serving grassroots football with overall national winner Carissa Embling a shining example of the positive and important impact volunteers have on their clubs and communities. Those involved in the Rochester Football Netball Club should feel immense pride in winning the Community Club of the Year, a reflection on the incredible volunteers who serve that club.

Toyota Australia Chief Marketing Officer, Vin Naidoo, said Toyota’s commitment to supporting football spans across all levels, from grassroots to elite, ensuring community sport is accessible to all.

"Toyota Australia takes great pride in its support of volunteers in these grassroots clubs who dedicate countless hours giving back to their communities and we’re proud to be presenting the Toyota AFL Community Volunteer Award for another year to celebrate this."

"Congratulations to Carissa Embling and to all the Toyota AFL Volunteers Awards finalists on this amazing achievement."

2023 Toyota AFL National Volunteer Awards - Winners



State or  Territory

Club / Organisation


Toyota AFL Community Volunteer

Carissa Embling


Port Macquarie Magpies / AFL North Coast


Toyota AFL YOUNG Leader

Marni Farrugia


Fitzroy Women’s

Auskick Mentor

Community Club

Rochester Football Netball Club


Rochester Football Netball Club


NAB AFL Auskick Volunteer

Roxanne Brock


Zillmere JAFC Auskick Centre

Junior Vice President & NAB AFL Auskick Coordinator

AFL Diversity Ambassador

Nabil Yassine


Hume Crescent / EDFL / Unity Cup Ambassador

Teacher – Ilim College

AFL Disability Inclusion Volunteer

Robert Turner


Kelmscott Football Club

All Abilities Coach

AFL National Community Umpiring Service

Peter McKenzie


AFL Queensland Umpires

Youth Umpire Coach

AFL Community Coach of the Year (Female)

Tracy Jedrzejewski


Wollondilly Knights Football Club

Women’s Head Coach

AFL Community Coach of the Year (Male)

Will Tatchell


East Launceston Junior Football Club


AFL School Teacher of the Year (Female)

Nuria Ushoroff


Australian Islamic College


AFL School Teacher of the Year (Male)

Ben Hawthorne


Banksia Beach State School


AFL National Community Football Media Award

Noel Watson


Central Murray FNL, Golden Rivers FL, North Central FL

Media personality

AFL National Community Football Photography Award

Tymunna Clements


Wanderers Football Club


Each year the AFL (with thanks to the AFL Naming Rights Partner, Toyota) recognise volunteers/administrators for their outstanding contribution to Australian Football through the AFL National Volunteer Awards.

In 2023, in addition to the overall national winner as part of 13 national category awards, there are 91 state / territory winners this year.

Previous winners and more information can be found here.

AFL enshrines an increased minimum level of annual funding in community football

In 2022, the AFL announced a major increase in community football investment, with a minimum 10 per cent of the game's annual assessable revenue enshrined to go towards game development and community football from 2023 onwards.

This commitment benefits stakeholders across community football, including volunteers, who drive the success of the grassroots game.