Julie Nichols has had an outstanding football career, none however, have been as successful as her 2016 season. Playing over 100 games, captaining her side and finishing as the joint Leading Goal-Kicker is an outstanding way to end her 14-year football career.

The WAWFL put out the following statement earlier today:

“It is with great pleasure, the WAWFL would like to acknowledge that Julie Nichols has also been recognized as a joint Leading Goal Scorer for the 2016 Reserves competition, tying with Joondalup Falcons player Tyhara Garlett.

Unfortunately, Julie’s award was not celebrated at the 2016 Medal Presentation night, as not all of Julie’s goals were registered during the home-and-away season. It was quickly acknowledged, and the League celebrates Julie’s fantastic achievement.” (full article)

Jules, as she is affectionately known, has been part of the East Fremantle club since 2002 and has been a leading contributor to the success of the team. A leader on and off the field, Nichols (and her goals) will be sorely missed at the club as she hangs up her boots.

Jules made an impact at the Club straight away and was part of the 2002 Premiership Side. In 2003 she was selected in the WA state team and was announced as a co-captain, but 2 weeks out from the championship badly tore her quad so was never able to fulfil her dream of representing her state.

Throughout her time, Jules has reached some major highs, but has had more than her share of devastating blows. In 2008, returning from a four-year stint in the UK for cricket and determined to get back into footy, her first game didn’t quite go to plan. Tearing her right ACL meant a year on the sidelines but this certainly didn’t deter Jules. She returned the following year and was a part in the East Fremantle League side that overcame an underdog status to win the 2009 League Premiership.

Her sheer determination is what makes her such a respected leader throughout the club. After the grand final win in 2009, Jules played four years with the Reserves, including winning the Reserves Leading Goal-Kicker in 2012, before copping another heavy blow. This time she tore the ACL in her left knee, which saw her on the sidelines for the rest of the 2014 season. Hard work saw her return for the last 3 rounds of 2015 and she knew it wasn’t quite time to hang up the boots.

Playing in 2016 meant that Jules would finally reach the 100 game milestone. For most players this is a massive achievement, but for someone to overcome two major injuries is astounding. It is a testament to her character.

“It was such an amazing feeling running out for my 100th game wearing the Sharks jumper. I think the way my career panned out, and particularly the challenges I experienced with 2 long term injuries, to finally hit the 100 games was really special. The support I felt from everyone within the footy club and the WA footy community in general really meant a lot to me.”

When asked about the high points in her career, Jules could not deny her premiership wins.

“There’s nothing quite like the feeling of a group of people working towards a goal and achieving it – the bond it creates within the playing group is so special and the conversations we have about the games and the after celebrations at the club are ongoing to this day!”

Ending her career as the joint leading goal kicker for the WAWFL Reserves was an excellent way to farewell her playing days.

“The leading goal-kicker award for the Reserves competition means a lot to me, but maybe not for reasons that people may think. I see it as an indicator of me being able to play my role after my team-mates have worked incredibly hard to get us in a position to score. Footy is a team game and the acts of self-less play, hard work and sacrifice around the ground that everyone needs to commit to are crucial to team success.”

“It’s the number one thing that drives us and if I can be one part of that club and team-first attitude at training and on game day, then I’ve done ok. I hope the Reserves girls know that this award is theirs as much as it is mine because I certainly wouldn’t have won it without them.”

Jules said coming to terms with not putting on a jumper next year has been hard to grasp but insists her retirement will still in fact involve football.  

“I hope that Jules’s Kicking School, to help develop player’s skills, will make an appearance next year!”

As part of her leadership role, Jules has worked hard with players to develop both their kicking and goal kicking skills.

“I’ve also become involved in a bit of Special Comments commentary for the women’s games the last couple of years, and it’s something I’ve enjoyed, so there may be some opportunities come from that in the future.”

“The East Fremantle Women’s Football Club has been such a special part of my life for the past 14 years and I consider the girls my family. I can’t thank everyone enough for their continued support over the years and hope the passion and pride I’ve felt in wearing the jumper and representing this incredible club has shone through every time I’ve stepped on the field,” Jules said.

The WAWFL and the East Fremantle Football Club congratulates Julie,  who will also receive a special presentation of her award on-field at the close of the Reserves Grand Final at Medibank Stadium this weekend.

Article by Renee Ciesla

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