Winners share Justin’s dream

Above: Gone, but not forgotten,           14yearold Justin Dickson left his mark on junior  football before he tragically drowned earlier this year.Above: Gone, but not forgotten, 14yearold Justin Dickson left his mark on junior football before he tragically drowned earlier this year.

By Cam Scott
LIKE most young boys, Justin Dickson had a dream to one day play AFL football.
Unlike most boys though, the 14 year old was on track to fulfil that dream.
The star Narre Warren Junior Football Club player had won three club best and fairest awards and capped off his stellar sixyear career with a 41possession bestonground performance in last year’s under 14 premiership side.
Tragically however, Justin drowned in January while swimming at Aura Vale Lake at Cardinia Reservoir.
While physically he is gone, his spirit and the memory of a talented sportsman and champion clubman will live on.
Last Sunday night after the final regular season match for the Narre Warren Junior Football Club, hundreds of people packed the clubrooms to listen to Justin’s father Brian Dickson speak and present the inaugural Justin Dickson Club Champion Award.
In a clubroom packed full to the brim, not a sound came from the crowd as an emotional Mr Dickson stood in front of the framed memorial of his son and explained just what the award represented to the Dickson family, and to those that earned it.
President of the NWJFC Jason Quirk said the memorial award reflected everything that Justin was.
“He was a sensational footballer,” Mr Quirk said.
“From all accounts he had a big future in footy which was obviously cut short.
“We all decided we wanted to do something so that in 10 years when our kids are all playing senior footy there’ll still be something around the club to remember him by.”
The award, given over two age brackets, is now the highest accolade at the club.
Mr Dickson said after the event that he was sure it would go some way to helping him and his family get through what has been a harsh grieving process.
“I guess it’s an award that will ensure he’s never forgotten,” Mr Dickson said.
“It means more to the family that his memory will also live on in junior footy. It’s so important to us because football was so important to him.
“It just means so much to me and to our family.”
The prestigious award is voted on by opposition coaches and is awarded to one player from the under nine to under 12 age groups, and one player aged under 13 to under 16.
This year the inaugural winners were Dylan Quirk for the younger age bracket, and Patrick Chin from the older age group.
Mr Dickson said he would still have an involvement in junior football because he watches his 11yearold daughter Madeline strap on the boots.
Although he laments not being able to watch his son develop into a senior footballer, he says he is sure he will find some solace in tracking the development of those who win his son’s award and carry his legacy forward
“I think that whoever wins the award, I’ll be doing my best to watch them play and I’ll always form a special bond now with those kids,” he said.