This weekend marks a milestone of 400 senior games for Cootamundra Strikers stalwart, Annette Parkinson. Annette took to the field for the first time for the senior Strikers in 1999 at just 15 years of age. In the time since, she has stopped playing twice for the birth of her two daughters and missed those seasons over the last 21 years. Annette played 68 games with the Tolland Wolves and this weekend completes 332 games with Cootamundra, taking her total number of senior games to 400.

During her career she has scored over 40 goals, won 1 premiership with Tolland and 2 with Cootamundra as well as coached at both clubs. There is no doubt Annette has been an inspiration to other young players including her daughter Heidi who will line up alongside her on Sunday at 10:30am. Heidi plays Right Midfield for the Strikers and on a regular basis receives the ball from her mother in the goal square to put Coota back on the attack after Annette has managed to defuse an opposition threat. Annette started as a field player before moving into the goal.

The Striker’s didn’t have a goalkeeper a few years back and she put her hand up, she has been there ever since. During that time she was named Football Wagga’s Goal Keeper of the year. Known for being both a competitor and humble at the same time, Annette may be surprised on Sunday by the gestures shown by the players at both clubs. She is very well respected. When the whistle goes it will be all business for her and the Strikers.

A Coota Strikers spokesperson said, “Anyone that plays, loves the game. It’s her passion for the game. With our club and Tolland it’s just the camaraderie. It’s allowed her to play as long as she has. She follows the W League and watches it on the weekend. She loves the game, she has been lucky with injuries. She wanted to have a year with her daughter and that has pushed her on this year.”

Annette said, “I’ve been lucky enough that I haven’t got any major injuries. Being able to go out for years and make friends has been great. Heidi said to me a couple of season ago that she wanted to have a year with me and it’s been really good.” The Strikers are playing a 12 week season in 2020 with 5 teams in the Leonard Cup. They will enjoy 3 byes across the year. Coota has started well with a bye in the first round before claiming a 3-1 win against Wagga United in the second game, before a 1-1 draw with Junee. Last weekend saw them go down to last year’s premiers Hanwood in a 0-3 loss. Annette said, “Hanwood and Tolland are the two sides that will be the benchmark in the competition this year.” Annette was an assistant coach at Tolland in 2016 before taking on the main role in 2017 where both Tolland sides won premierships. Annette said, “I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Tolland it was great to be able to play there and at Coota. I want to thank my family, both of my parents played and my husband played, it has been a big family thing for us.”

Football Wagga spokesperson Deonie Burns said, “ Football Wagga are proud to have such an experienced and dedicated player in the association and believe this is an achievement we should be praising and showcasing.”

Annette’e game will take place at Rawlings Park field 3 on Sunday at 10:30am. Unfortunately due to restrictions with Covid-19 spectators will be unable to attend. That won’t stop the Coota community from letting Annette know how proud they are of her achievement. She is currently coaching the Strikers again in 2020 and will lead her team in her 400th match.