Rosedale royalty brings up 300 club games

Dynamic duo: Carly and her husband Scott are Rosedale FNC's first couple to reach the 300-game milestone. Photograph: Fiona Nicholson





WHILE the Diamonds secured their 12th netball World Cup recently, Carly Johnstone achieved her own feat in the North Gippsland Football-Netball League.

Johnstone played her 300th game for Rosedale Football-Netball Club last Saturday, in the Blues’ Round 17 clash against Cowwarr, becoming one of just six Rosedale netballers to reach the milestone.

“It was an amazing feeling,” Johnstone said.

“A bit surreal, to be honest; I’ve been there (at Rosedale FNC) for such a long time, and I knew the game was coming up, but for it to actually be that day was pretty special.

“I had a lot of support there as well, lots of family and friends who came and watched; it was lovely.”

Rosedale FNC described Johnstone as a loyal, dedicated, selfless, pivotal player who continually challenges herself, strives for excellence and exhibits the finest professionalism on the court while serving as an exceptional role model.

“Carly is a selfless player who places her team first before personal accolades,” the club wrote.

Johnstone has had many accolades at Rosedale.

In her debut season for Rosedale in 2004, an 18-year-old Johnstone was named NGFNL’s C Grade Best and Fairest runner-up and Rosedale’s C Grade Best and Fairest, earning her promotion to A Grade, where she has played all but one season.

Johnstone has been a fundamental player for Rosedale throughout the Blues’ most successful A Grade era, with the centre now a five-time A Grade premiership player, having won NGFNL flags in 2011, 2014-15 and 2018-19.

“Inbetween there, I played in a B Grade premiership in 2016,” Johnstone said.

“I was planning on having that year off, but my sister (Carmen Healey) and my best friend (Danielle Hazelman) were playing B Grade and ended up roping me in, so to play with them and win the premiership that year as well was pretty awesome.”

The six-time premiership player has been named Rosedale’s A Grade Best and fairest multiple times with many Runners Up under her belt as well.

Johnstone was named NGFNL’s A Grade Best and Fairest in 2018, NGFNL’s A Grade Best and Fairest runner-up in 2009 and 2019 and has featured in the Team of the Year on five occasions.

“These milestones, like 300 games, they make you sort of look back at what you have achieved because its something that you don’t really do often,” Johnstone said.

“Because it has been over almost 20 years, now that I am reflecting, and talking to people, and on the weekend people reading out the personal accolades, the team accolades, it’s like wow, it’s pretty overwhelming, and it’s a privilege. I’m really honoured to be a part of the club and to have achieved the milestone.”

While so much has happened throughout her nearly two decades at Rosedale FNC, making it hard to pick a highlight of her career, Johnstone considers the 2011 and 2015 premierships as high points.

“My very first premiership in 2011, I just remember having this feeling of being so excited to play in a Grand Final,” Johnstone said.

“I remember being at work and talking about it, and no one really understood, and I’m like ‘this is a big deal’. We worked so hard for those years from 2005 to 2011, and to actually get that spot in the Grand Final, that was pretty special.

“My sister also won a B Grade premiership that year, so we got to celebrate that together, which was awesome.”

The Blues sealed double premierships in 2015, a special moment for Johnstone, who lifted Rosedale’s fifth A Grade netball flag alongside her husband, who raised the Blues’ ninth senior football premiership flag.

“In 2015, my husband was in the senior premiership side for Rosedale as well,” Johnstone said.

“So the A Grade won, and the seniors won, which was pretty special.”

Playing alongside her now-longtime friend Lorell Lowe has also been a highlight of Johnstone’s netball career.

“Lorell Lowe, she is one of my best friends; she’s been our captain in A Grade for as long as I can remember, and she is just so passionate and so driven,” Johnstone said.

“We just know what we want and its like we look at each other on the court and we know what to do, we’ve played together for so long. I don’t think I would have reached 300 games without her.

“Lorell just doesn’t stop. She is so passionate, and when you look at her, it just gives you that fire; she has done that for our team for so long, and it’s been really, really special to play a lot of my 300 games with her.”

Johnstone has become a devoted club member since joining the Blues in 2004, always willing to devote her time and help where needed, taking on the role of D Grade coach in 2008 and 2009 and C Grade coach for the last four seasons.

“You just help where you can,” she said.

“There’s often not a lot of people who put their hand up for that coaching role because it is a big commitment, and I am just one of those people …because I love this club, it’s like a family at Rosedale.”

While Johnstone has given so much of her time and energy to the club over the years, it hasn’t been without return.

Johnstone met her husband, Scott, through Rosedale FNC, the two fast became friends when she joined the club in 2004, and by the end of the season, they were dating. The couple will celebrate 19 years together later this year.

Carly and Scott Johnstone became the first Rosedale FNC couple to reach the 300-game milestone at the weekend, with Scott playing his 300th game for Rosedale in late 2022.