The Greatest Sports Photo of 2019


The mighty Darebin Falcons Under 10 Green. Photo: Jasmine Hirst



This is, without a doubt, the greatest sports photo taken in 2019 – the mighty Darebin Falcons Under 10 Greens. And the joy and happiness in this photo is a perfect representation of their first-ever season of club soccer.


They were magnificent. They had so much fun, while learning to play and love the wonderful game of soccer.


There were moments of sheer beauty – when a chain of passes and a sprint up the wing resulted in a classic team goal. There were moments of sheer frustration – when experienced teams broke through our defence. There were moments of determination and courage. They all tried so hard.


We watched as friendships developed and the concept of ‘team’ and all that means germinated.


From the front-right (and then moving clockwise) we have Tepa, Clio, Clara, Milla, Evie, Ariyana, Anika, Makisa, Anna, Mia, Izzie, Rosie and Tess. (The coach is Mark)


Tepa had a great season. She is a real athlete with a beautiful Cathy Freeman stride. A naturally attacking player, she learnt to run the ball down the right touch line (poetry in motion) and cross to her strikers like Clio and Anika inside. What potential! One of her many highlights was when she and Makisa (her twin sister) told us, as we were driving home from training along the very common St Georges Rd, that they were Zambian princesses. Which I totally believe.


Clio had a great season. She got the nickname Spud somewhere along the way. She’s a runner – quick and agile. And when she gets in space with the ball, away she goes. Zoom. She can find the back of the net and she’s also a very good celebrator. Although prone to occasional moments of daydreaming (while she’s catching her breath) she only ever has short breaks and then she’s back into it. She loves leading the Falcons’ chant. And she has a great understanding of where the Snakes are.


Clara had a great season. She played forward a lot and also in the mid-field. We have a team of runners and Clara can get across the ground as quickly and smoothly as the best of them. She’s good at pressuring the opponents as they try to bring the ball out of defence. Like her teammates, she was learning how to get into position to receive a pass. She also knows where the Snakes are, or any other treats which Tepa sneaks into training.


Milla had a great season. The youngest player on the team, her shorts came to her knees. It didn’t take long for her to became known as ‘The Pocket Rocket’ and then, like Pele was just Pele and Ronaldo is just Ronaldo, she became ‘Rocket’. (“Go Rocket”) She was a vital cog in our defence and she would sprint to get to contest after contest, just in time, so she became very good at clearing the ball. When she kicked the ball you could just about hear her saying ‘Kapow!’ in her mind. She’s very good at smiling and having fun.


Evie had a great season. Just like Milla, Evie is always smiling. Always enjoying herself. She tries so hard. She is such an earnest player who listens intently to instructions. She is a coach’s delight, giving everything to each training session and always sticking to the gameplan on match days – which was to always look to find a teammate with a good pass and to bring others into the game. She also learnt, at Broadford (on a cold morning) that teams change ends after half-time and it’s best to remember to kick in the opposite direction.


Ariyana had a great season. She looks gentle at first, but she also she has a cheeky look, and eventually you work out she’s actually brutal. She hunts the ball in the back half and through the midfield, and look out if you get in her way. She can really send the ball flying with her superboot. She had a go all over the ground. Because she can read the play she was suited to the back half and the mid-field. But she can play any position.


Anika had a great season. When introducing herself to the rest on the first training night, she announced her name was Hashtag Pickles – which stuck (at least with the coach). She has terrific skills when she has the ball and she can run. When Anika gets into space she’s a very threatening forward which is why she managed to score and to challenge the defenders many times.


Makisa had a great season. Makisa is athletic and skilful and brave and she really throws herself into contests. She was a little bit unlucky with her troublesome knee – both at training and in a few of the games – and we really hope that comes good over the summer because she is an asset to any team. She can win the ball and then uses it to advantage. Also, having two Zambian princesses in the team was something a coach could never have planned for and Makisa brought many strengths to the team.


Anna had a great season. She played midfield – often in the traditional centre half position. And occasionally forward. She gave off a lot of passes and worked really well with teammates, especially through-balls to Clio and Anika. She was not impressed (annoyed?) when the referee (me) was actively coaching. (“Be quiet Dad. You’re supposed to be the ref.”) But the referee was impressed with her willingness to take responsibility and to learn that you always keep trying even when the score makes you feel it’s tough going.


Mia had a great season. What can I say about Mia? She was the backbone of the team – as goalkeeper. Early in the season, the mighty Greens came up against sides which had been together for a couple of years so it was really hard to hold back their relentless attacks. But Mia was MAGNIFICENT. She saved so many shots – some she caught, some she knocked away with her fist and palm, some by thrusting out a foot or knee or whatever. Often the opposition’s coach commented on ‘our goalkeeper’. Well, that’s Mia!


Izzie had a great season. She found her natural spot in defence – in any of the posts alongside Tess, Milla and Rosie and from the middle of the season she started playing a sweeper’s role too. Like her teammates in defence she was good at reading the direction of the attack and getting to that spot. She always worked hard at training, using every minute to work on her game, and enjoyed the mini-matches at the end of each session. She always gave encouragement to her teammates.


Rosie had a great season. She is probably our most robust player (look out!) – and fitted in as a classic full back with a huge boot on her. She sometimes chose not to trap the ball and then clear. She preferred to just take an almighty kick at the moving target as it came towards her. This led to some gi-normous ferocious kicks when her timing was right and the occasional air-swing (which was followed by her trademark ‘Woopsie’). Being the youngest of four siblings, her experience of family dynamics meant she was NEVER intimidated. She was great to watch.


Tess had a great season. She is a thinking player who reads situations really well and has developed the skills to match her reading of the game. She’s also a really good runner with her long limbs covering the ground quickly. Many a time she left her opponent to run forward (bravely and responsibly) to confront an oncoming attacker which won a lot of appreciative applause from the supporters on the sideline. Tess is a totally committed, totally team-orientated player.


Coach Mark had a great season. What a godsend he was, when he wandered across from the sidelines to say he’d played some soccer in Northern Ireland and was happy to take on the role of coach. He was brilliant. Mixing fun with skills with game-sense with encouragement and more encouragement and craziness with races against the kids with more fun. He put his heart and soul into it. And the girls responded. (Thank you Mark)


You’ve probably worked out our little team in the northern suburbs of Somewhere (which could be Anywhere) had a tremendous season. It was made possible by a living saint, Darebin Falcons junior girls soccer coordinator Jasmine Hirst (who took this great photo) and our manager Jo Bradley as well as all the parents who helped with coaching and game day and so on.


We love this photo because it’s ours.


But I suspect you’ll see the laughter and joy and friendship in their faces.


It is the greatest sports photo of 2019.




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About John Harms

JTH is a writer, publisher, speaker, historian. He is publisher and contributing editor of The Footy Almanac and He has written columns and features for numerous publications. His books include Confessions of a Thirteenth Man, Memoirs of a Mug Punter, Loose Men Everywhere, Play On, The Pearl: Steve Renouf's Story and Life As I Know It (with Michelle Payne). He appears on ABCTV's Offsiders. He can be contacted [email protected] He is married to The Handicapper and has three kids - Theo13, Anna11, Evie10. He might not be the worst putter in the world but he's in the worst three. His ambition is to lunch for Australia.


  1. Beautiful with a touch of bias!

  2. Yes, what great smiles and joy on the faces.

  3. A wonderful team photo.
    One day they will all look back on this with even more fondness than they do now.
    And inevitably, about some of the faces, they will wonder “What ever happened to…?”

  4. Junior sport as it should be – fun, lessons learnt, community and team spirit and who cares about results?
    And in under 10s you are the “Game Leader” …not the ref!

  5. Love it Mark.

  6. Keiran Croker says

    Lovely season review jth.

  7. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Those smiles are priceless. Can’t get them from an iPad.

  8. A picture says a thousand words.

  9. Just lovely! The basis of sport and games is community and common good. This team has that in abundance. Great photos come from great seasons and as you state JTH, every player and the coach had a great season. Wishing them all the best in 2020.


  10. Frank Taylor says

    Nice one John. Having 3 girls and going to all of their basketball/netball/soccer/horse riding/etc training and matches, the joy that a good team can bring over a season stays with them for life.
    Well done.


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