Julie Dolan Medallists: where are they now?

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Marriage celebrants, teachers and football coaches. The Julie Dolan Medallists can do it all.

The annual Warren-Dolan Awards were held last Monday night, with Christine Nairn receiving the Julie Dolan Medal (JDM). The award is named after former Matildas’ Captain Julie Dolan, which recognises the best players in the W-League.

In light of the recent awards, we thought we’d take a step back to acknowledge some of the female athletes who have received this prestigious achievement in the years gone by, and track them down to see what they’re up to now.

Joanne Peters

‘Joey’ Peters won the JDM in the 2001/02 season of the Women’s National Soccer League (WNSL) when she played for the NSW Sapphires (before the W-League was initiated). Peters made 110 appearances for the Matildas, scoring 28 goals.

Since then, the former Matildas player has been pretty busy. Peters is currently a football analyst at the SBS. She’s in the middle of completing her football coaching ‘A’ Licence, and has developed a program called GAME PLAY LEARN, a games based approach to helping players and teams perform.

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Heather Garriock

Garriock was awarded the JDM whilst playing for the Queensland Sting in the 2002/03 season of the WNSL. She’s played in two Olympics and two World Cups throughout her career, making her debut for the national team at age 16.

But where is Garriock now? She’s currently Head Coach of Canberra United in the W-League, whilst studying a Master of Education (Sports Coaching) at The University of Sydney. The 36-year-old is also a Fox Sports Commentator in the W-League, and has started up her own coaching platform, HG7. Garriock is also married with two young daughters, Kaizen and Noa.

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Lana Harch

Harch won the JDM in 2008/09, the first season of the established W-League competition, when she played for Queensland Roar. Harch also won player of the match during the 2008/09 Grand Final, where her side were crowned Champions after defeating Canberra United 2-0.

Harch played in the Queensland Premier League Competition for Queensland Lions FC last year, but now she is working as a teacher at the Westside Christian College in Ipswich after graduating from the University of Southern Queensland.

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Sally Shipard

Sally Shipard was recognised as the best player in the W-League in her 2011/12 season with Canberra United. Shipard has made 60 appearances for the Matildas, and was a part of the 2007 and 2011 World Cup campaigns.

From there, her life has gone in a completely different direction. Shipard is now a commonwealth appointed Civil Marriage Celebrant, and has her own brand, Marry Us Sally, which she operates in Canberra and the Southern Highlands. The 31-year-old also empowers female athletes and raises awareness about mental health through her Chasing Leather project.

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Ashleigh Sykes

Ashleigh Sykes won the JDM in the 2015/16 season of the W-League whilst playing for Canberra United. She has also represented Australia in 19 games, scoring five goals.

Since then, Sykes has taken on a job with Capital Football as a game development manager. She’s also recently completed her Youth C licence for coaching football.

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Feature Image Credit: Ngau Kai Yan

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Lani Johnson
Bachelor of journalism student from the University of Sydney covering Sydney FC. Passionate about writing and football.