Statement: Vale Helen Lambert

THE AUSTRALIAN Football League mourns the passing of women’s football pioneer Helen Lambert, who sadly passed away yesterday.

AFL Chief Executive Gillon McLachlan said Helen’s pioneering work had laid the foundation for the position we have today with a growing game for women and girls.

"As a founding committee member of the VWFL, 40 years ago in 1981, Helen was a driver in those first years to what we see in our game now, where the AFLW has added a vibrancy and excitement to our game," Mr McLachlan said.

With a key role in the formation of the Victorian Women’s Football League in 1981 (the earliest ongoing league for women in Australia), Helen was the inaugural captain of the Broadmeadows Scorpions, leading them to a premiership in the first season of the competition.

Helen Lambert (kneeling far left) was a trainer for the (then) Aberfeldie Scorpions, who were premiers in 1984. Image from the collection of Janet Graham.

In 1983 she became president of the VWFL, was subsequently awarded Life Membership, and continued to serve as president until 1986.

Helen’s legacy will continue to live on in football, with the best and fairest medal in the VWFL named in her honour, with the first Helen Lambert Medal backdated to 1983. With the formation of a national women’s competition in 2017, Helen’s pioneering contribution to the code continues to be recognised by the Lambert-Pearce Medal, awarded to the best and fairest player in the premier division of the VFL Women’s competition.

The AFL extends its condolences to the Lambert family and thank them for her contribution to football.