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Best off Ground: The story of an unsung champ at the Eastern Devils

Brooke Fox is the winner of  the 2019 Swisse Best off Ground Award - AFL,AFLW,Community,Lifestyle,Inspire,Branded
Brooke Fox is the winner of the 2019 Swisse Best off Ground Award

Brooke Fox is a stalwart of the Eastern Devils Football Club, which plays in the South Eastern Women's Football League in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs. Brooke has worn just about every hat possible at the footy club and has been recognised as the winner of  the 2019 Swisse Best off Ground Award. 

BROOKE Fox has held just about every position you could think of in her 20 years at the Eastern Devils.

A women's club based in Mulgrave (an eastern suburb of Melbourne), the Devils currently play in the South Eastern Women's Football competition but spent years in the upper echelon of the now-defunct Victorian Women's Football League.

Without Foxy's hard work and dedication, the club may not exist and many of today's rising AFL Women's stars would not have had the opportunity to shine

Fox joined the club as a player in 2000, when the club was based out of Deakin University. It was just the Devils' second year in existence.

Since then, the 39-year-old has been president, secretary, team manager, general volunteer and is currently in charge of sponsorship and fundraising.

She's also a life member and a premiership captain, and still lines up in the midfield for the club's division two side.

Brooke Fox with teammates at the 2018 Pride Cup match

"I even had a very short stint at coaching, but numbers got the better of us and we had to withdraw halfway through the season," Fox said.

"I'm still happily playing and involved on-field as well as taking on many roles off the field, mentoring people who are less experienced in other roles.

"There's not many things that could be thrown at us that I haven't seen before, so that makes my role a bit easier. I'm supported by so many great people, which makes it so pleasant to be at the club." 

Flying Fox: Brooke Fox is chaired of the ground after game 200

The application for the award was submitted by a club mate without Fox's knowledge.

"On game day, she is the first to arrive and last to leave, always putting her hand up for clean-up, set up and cooking duties," the application read.

"Without Foxy's hard work and dedication, the club may not exist and many of today's rising AFL Women's stars would not have had the opportunity to shine and be drafted through her mentorship."

The Devils have produced a number of AFLW players, including Meg Hutchins, Sarah D'Arcy, Sarah Perkins, Hannah Scott and Jaimee Lambert.

"I may be one or two off, but in that first draft I think we had 13 or 14 players selected," Fox said.

"We were just over the moon when those girls got drafted."

2019 Swisse Best off Ground Finalists

The Swisse Best Off Ground Award celebrates local footy's unsung heroes who play a starring role behind the scenes, and Fox was chosen as the winner from 993 nominations. Here are the 10 finalists:

Brooke Fox (winner), Eastern Devils Football Club

Gerard Ilsley (runners-up), Eaglehawk Football Netball Club

Stewart Willey (runners-up), Youth Development Unit (YDU)

Paul Beneke, Broadview Football Club Inc.

Marion Leslie, Robinvale-Euston Football Netball Club

Charlie, Montmorency FC

Darren Jackson, Whitsunday Australian Football Club

Michael O'Rourke, Rye Football and Netball Club

Kath Mulquiny, Charlton Football Club

Dan Croucher, Blue Mountains Kangaroos