Shane Harris was awarded the AFL's Community Football Volunteer of the Year award for 2021 (Photo by Tamati Smith, Yama(t)ji)

Shane Harris of WA's Karratha Kats is this year's winner of the Community Football Volunteer of the Year award.

The top gong of the AFL’s 2021 Toyota National Volunteer Awards lands in the Western Australian town of Karratha after Shane Harris took home the Community Football Volunteer of the Year award.

Harris, of the Karratha Kats situated around 850 kilometres south-west of Broome, was rewarded for 35 years’ volunteer service with the Kats football and sporting club, as well as his work with the North Pilbara Football League as a whole.

Harris was rewarded for his roles with the Kats, which has ranged from president (since 2010), vice-president and treasurer to junior coach and occasional reserves fill-in when required.

“It’s a pretty transient town, it changes from year to year, so you do get a lot of turnover and people coming through,” Harris told the AFL.

“It’s probably why I’ve stayed for so long, because it’s so transient, you need that stability at the top to keep things steady.”

The Karratha super-volunteer was also rewarded for his work supporting the introduction of girl’s and women’s footy in his role as vice-president of the North Pilbara Football League as a whole, where he has allowed the country league to thrive despite the adverse impact of COVID-19.

“With only eight home games a year, in order to maintain the football club, we needed to branch out and make it a sporting club,” Harris said.

“We run 14 netball teams, men’s and women’s cricket, so ladies’ football was just a natural progression – we were keen to get on board and boost our membership and make the club more viable.”

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The Karratha mechanical workshop attendant has been an instrumental part of the region for almost four decades, making Harris a deserving winner of the annual award designed to recognise outstanding contributions to community football.

Harris beat a field of over 600 nominations handed in across the country, as the AFL were proud to announce the awards as “volunteers are vitally important in keeping the game at grassroots level going”.

Shane Harris stands proudly with wife Pamela after being given the award (Photo by Tamati Smith, Yama(t)ji)

Harris was one of nine national category winners, with the other award winners who followed Harris’ main prize are listed below.

Each winner receives a Grand Final package, as Shane and his wife Pamela will get to attend the 2021 AFL Grand Final on Saturday alongside the other winners.

Toyota AFL Community Football Volunteer – National Overall Winner

Shane Harris – Karratha Kats, WA

AFL Junior Coach

Brad Willis – Kingborough (Junior) Football Club, TAS

AFL Senior Coach

Sam Do – Karratha Falcons Women’s, WA

AFL Disability Inclusion Volunteer

Gary Sutherland – Goodwood Saints FC, SANFL Inclusive, SA

AFL Diversity Ambassador

Katy Javor – Australian Islamic College, SA

AFL National Community Umpiring Service

Geoff Osborn – SANFL Junior Umpires, SA

AFL Secondary School Ambassador

Amanda Millar – Salisbury High School, SA

NAB AFL Auskick Volunteer

Sharee Chitty – Wanneroo JFC, WA

AFL Primary School Ambassador

Danielle Coates – St Francis of the Fields Primary School, VIC

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