Lee Munungurr in the match between Gopu and Nguykal in north-east Arnhem Land. Picture: Bernie Wright

WORDS: Celia Drummond and Laura Donnelly
PRODUCER: Sarah Morton

Winner - Bernie Wright

WE ARE delighted to announce the winner of #FootyFocus22 is Bernie Wright, the Melbourne-based photographer whose outstanding shot of Lee Munungurr engulfed in Gopu's team huddle encapsulates everything we love about footy: mateship, camaraderie, community, and connection.

Wright captured the reverent moment at the Gove Australian Football League's match between Gopu and Nguykal at Nhulunbuy Town Oval in Northern Territory's north-east Arnhem Land, his childhood home. Munungurr plays for Gopu, who went on to win the GAFL premiership this year, and is an electric half-forward and natural entertainer who leads fairly. 

"Taking this image brought tears to my eyes and shivers down my spine," Wright said.

"It is the beautifully energetic calm of half-time; the moment when you know your only job for the next hour is to run faster, jump higher, hit harder and shout louder."

The judges were in awe of the image, saying it caught their eye from the moment they saw it among the almost 10,000 entries in #FootyFocus22.

Technically first class, the composition and framing tells a strong story and draws you to meet Mungungurr, begging you to ask more questions. Congratulations, Bernie!

Highly Commended — Charli Brown

Charli's entry absolutely deserves an honourable mention. The 18-year-old photographer impressed the judges with her careful composition and she perfectly captured the emotion and joy of Hectorville's victory in South Australia.

"This image takes me back to my childhood," said Michael Willson, AFL chief photographer.

"You almost feel like you're a little kid, part of the song, peeking through at the other players."

The judges have been blown away by the volume of entries and the quality of images entered. With such a varied and diverse selection of photographs and the stories behind the snaps, the competition has been a true celebration of a game that brings joy to many.

Toyota Good for Footy Photography Awards

These are the winners of this year’s Toyota Good for Footy Photography Awards, selected by our friends at Toyota as some of their favourite images with reflections from the budding photographers who took them.

Brooke Sleep

Photo captured 28/7/22
Broadbeach FC, Queensland AFL

Ray and Joy are part of the furniture. They always have a pair of binoculars handy and are extremely focused on tracking the play from their camp chairs.  That’s the norm on game day but I love capturing it as often as I can. I'd been sneakily waiting for Joy to look through her binoculars without her noticing, so when I got the perfect shot of them both so focused on the game, I was really happy. 

When you look beyond the boundary you see how many people are involved in making a game day happen. I think it’s so important to highlight those people on a regular basis. It's hard to describe but it's a wholesome feeling. I feel like I'm capturing the dedication and passion for footy when I take photos like this. It highlights to me that it's definitely more than a game. I’m so grateful for it.

Charlie Lowson

Photo captured July 23, 2022
Alice Springs, Central AFL

We have a lot of spectators, players and families at the ground each week but not too many cameras to capture the moments. The Alice Springs community enjoy the match being photographed, especially our mob who travel hundreds of kilometres each week to play in town. There is a lot of appreciation around the league for the coverage that I have been able to provide. We have a unique competition here that rarely gets highlighted. #FootyFocus22 was a great opportunity to share the talent of the red centre.

Unfortunately, on this occasion, it was a very one-sided game with the Ltyentye Apurte Saints absolutely destroying the Utju Tigers. Despite this, I think being able to take photos of our Indigenous players and showcasing some truly amazing talent on display is truly important and worthy of celebration. To be able to capture these moments and share them with the wider community gives me a sense of pride and community spirit. 

Joanne Turner

Photo captured July 30, 2022
Mitta United Football and Netball Club, Magorra Park, Mitta Mitta

I love capturing moments and memories for others, particularly those in the community where I grew up. Community sport is all about the people. From the Under 12s (where this particular image was shot) to the senior team, the passion is the same. My body doesn't like me playing netball anymore so I like being able to stay connected to the club through my photography. ​

It's nice to capture images that contribute to the history of the club. I love being able to capture the commitment everyone makes. I believe (some!) people enjoy seeing themselves in action when I show them what I’ve photographed. I do get a bit of a ribbing if I miss a spectacular mark or a goal but it’s Murphy's Law - it often happens when I'm grabbing a cuppa! 

#FootyFocus22 is brought to you by Toyota’s Good For Footy program. Search #FootyFocus22 on social to see the amazing entries for this year, and get ready for #FootyFocus23!