Last weekend saw the second running of the Jai Reed Cup in the Outer East junior competition, with Mount Evelyn beating Wandin at Wandin North Recreation Reserve.
With a good crowd in attendance across the day, the venue was a sea of purple with balloons tied along the boundary line and spectators and officials wearing some form of purple in support of the Epilepsy Foundation and those who suffer from it.
In attendance at the match was Bridget Vallence, Member for Evelyn, and Phil Nicholls of the Epilepsy Foundation, with Valence presenting the Jai Reed Cup to the Rovers at the completion of the game.
Speaking on the day’s proceedings, former Mount Evelyn Junior Football Club president and organiser of the Jai Reed Cup Anthony Burns was pleased with how the event turned out in only its second running.
“It was a great day had by all and to see people wearing purple and the balloons tied along the sidelines was very special for us,” he said.
“The turnout and the game was fantastic, it was Wandin’s turn to host it this year and they did a fantastic job in organising and hosting the match.”
The 2021 running of the event saw the first Jai Reed Medal presented to the best player of the match, which was awarded to Rovers ruckman Iliro Smit.
Bridget Vallence MP with Jai Reed Medal winner Iliro Smit
With Jai’s father Nathan being the coach of the Mount Evelyn Under 17’s team and his brother Kayden playing in the side, it was an emotional scene after the match with Burns and Nathan embracing afterwards.
Despite no longer being on the Mount Evelyn junior committee, Burns still obtains satisfaction from being involved with the club, and in particular, organising the Jai Reed Cup every year given he now has a special affiliation with it.
Anthony Burns – Mount Evelyn Junior Football Club
“It’s a huge thing for me because since Jai’s death, my daughter has been diagnosed with epilepsy,” Burns explained.
“So, I feel an affinity to the club and the family as well because we have all experienced the same thing and support each other through difficult times.”
Burns was appreciative of all within the Mount Evelyn Junior Football Club and the Epilespy Foundation in this year’s running of the event, but in particular the Wandin Junior Football Club, given they had the hosting duties for it this season.
“I would like to thank Scott Coghlan and Karyn Martin of the Wandin Junior Football Club because without their help and support, this wouldn’t have been possible,” he said.
“They put a lot of work in to help us hold the event this year.”