Sandringham’s current Senior Team Manager was recognised at the Victorian Football League J.J. Liston Trophy awards night last night.
Bruce Bowles was presented with the Alec Gillon Award, an achievement that celebrates honorary club officials who provide outstanding service to Victorian football and their club.
Bruce spoke fondly of the club when awarded with his trophy last night, "it's just been a fantastic place, I've had a great journey... a dream run".
And when asked about the Victorian Football League and Sandringham's authenticity, "It's just a great comp, my three boys were all mascots there (Sandringham), and I had one of my best moments ever when my middle son Matthew played for Sandy, it's something I can't explain or speak more highly of".
Bowles has been involved with Sandringham since playing in the Under 19's competition in 1976.
He got his start in playing thanks to a famous Sandringham name – Neil Bencraft.
Bencraft was Bowles’ family local butcher and encouraged Bowles (through his mum at first) to join the team.
The bulk of Bowles’ work with the Zebras though comes in an official role, starting as an Assistant Coach and Team Manager to the Under 19's in 1990 under David Cafarella, and as Team Assistant in 1991 under Ron Gordon.
However, it was 1992 and beyond that Bowles found his calling as a Team Manager, a role he’s held with the Reserves and Seniors for over 25 years, still continuing to this day.
From 1992-94, Bowles helped the Reserves claim two premierships and after transitioning to the Senior side in 1995, more glory awaited.
The Seniors claimed five titles in a decade, and Bowles worked with industry greats in Andy Collins, Tom Alvin and Mark Williams in that time.
In addition to his involvement at the club in an official capacity, Bowles was equally a stalwart in negotiations and bargaining to get the club to where it is today.
Bowles was instrumental in arranging coaching clinics and training, sponsorships and presentation evenings for junior clubs. He made a point that Sandringham players and coaches were seen to be supporting these teams, especially in finals, through their own attendance.
Bowles also helped in introducing the Trevor Barker Award at East Sandringham Junior Football Club and had a part in seeing the club stripes guernsey return, and away from the "Z" design.
Bowles, a junior-focused and family-first man will always be at the heart of the Sandringham Football Club and has ensured his children have participated too, being mascots at the club, and also playing (middle child).
Sandringham Football Club acknowledge and sincerely thank Bruce for his service to the football club and look forward to his role continuing throughout the team's successes.
Congratulations to Bruce Bowles, a worthy winner of the Alec Gillon Award.