2017 Victorian Sport Awards Finalists

Congratulations to the following individuals, teams, organisations, clubs and events for progressing through to the finalist stage of the 2017 Victorian Sport Awards:

This award recognises Victorian coaches who have achieved outstanding coaching performance/s with Victorian athlete/s or teams at a state, national, international, or elite sport level during the 2017 year.


Craig Jackson – Swimming

Craig was a National Coach on the 2017 World Championship Team in Budapest and won bronze in the 4 x 200m freestyle relay, silver in the 400m freestyle, bronze in the 1500m freestyle and silver in the mixed medley relay. Craig coached two athletes - Hayley Baker and Sian Whittaker to win gold in the 100m and 200m backstroke in the 2017 World University Games Team. Craig has coached multiple age group champions and medallists at State and National level and in 2017, Craig won Swimming Victoria’s Coach of the Year.

Damien Hardwick – Australian Rules Football

After becoming the first coach in 35 years to guide the Richmond Football Club to a Grand Final and winning the 2017 premiership, Damien was also the recipient of the 2017 AFL Coach of the Year award. Damien attributes last years success to the mental toughness of the playing group and the support provided by the president and CEO of the Richmond Football club.

Kateryna Logochova – Gymnastics

The gymnasts coached by Kateryna have competed on national and International levels. In 2017 her students won multiple medals at the State Championships and won gold medals on the individual apparatus at the National Titles. Kateryna's gymnasts have taken part in 7 International Tournaments and Kateryna is a head coach of a club that works with all levels, from Recreational to Elite International. In 2017 Kateryna she acquired International Judging qualification, becoming one of the highest qualified judge in Victoria in Rhythmic Gymnastics individual competitions.

Craig Bellamy – National Rugby League

Craig coached the Melbourne Storm team to win the National Rugby League Premiership (defeating North Queensland Cowboys in the Grand Final 34-6). Craig also won the NRL’s Dally M award for Coach of the Year Award in 2017. Under Craig’s guidance, seven Melbourne Storm players were selected in the Australian squad for the 2017 Rugby League World Cup and six players participated in the 2017 State of Origin series.

This award recognises the exceptional contribution made by a Victorian community sporting coach during 2017, either on or off the sporting field, with a focus on improving community sport through encouraging participation, fairness, integrity and making sport more welcoming, safe and inclusive.


Kellie Tait – Australian Rules Football

Kellie Tait is an exceptional sport inclusion coach in the Ballarat community. Founding AAA Sports Ballarat in 2015, Kellie is a trained coach in Auskick, NetSetGo, MiniRoos, In2CRICKET and T20 Blast programs. In the past 18 months, Kellie has coached over 120 children with various disabilities. Kellie has received regional and state-wide recognition for her exceptional coaching work, including 2016/17 MILO In2CRICKET Coach of the Year, Central Highlands 2017 Victorian In2CRICKET Coach of the Year and AFL Auskick Coach of the Year.

Vicky Lee – Tennis

Vicky is the Head Coach at Doncaster Tennis Club and is a leader in the inclusion coaching space. Also providing coaching to seven partnership schools in the area, Vicky welcomes all abilities and skill sets and has worked hard to ensure that tennis is a welcoming space for all members of the local community. Vicky believes sport has no barriers and welcomes participants of all abilities.

Yvonne Porter - Netball

Yvonne has been involved at the Ellinbank and District Netball Association for over eight years. Among other commitments, Yvonne currently holds the position of Vice President of Ellinbank and District Netball Association and coaches at Zone Academy in the Latrobe Valley Region. Yvonne is also an assistant coach of the Booroondara under 19’s Victorian Netball team and is a Talent Identification Scout for Netball Victoria.

David Hickman – Basketball

David has been a coach at domestic and state for 51 years. David’s coaching career started at the Eltham Wildcats Basketball Club. David now coaches four local boy’s teams each Saturday plus attends midweek training session. On top of his coaching, David is a full-time volunteer for the club’s operations, arriving at noon and leaving the club's home stadium at 11.30pm. David invites younger coaches to his training sessions and runs coaching basketball clinics sharing tips and advice for the younger coaching generation.

Victorian officials who have demonstrated excellence in their role as an official of their chosen sport during the 2017 year.


Brad Mannix – Gymnastics

Brad Mannix is a Category 2 Men’s Artistic Gymnastics Judge and in 2017 he officiated at the Melbourne World Cup, the Asian Championships in Thailand and at the World Championships in Canada. Brad is also a Technical Committee Director for Men’s Artistic Gymnastics in Victoria and has been for 15 years. Brad is constantly learning and developing his skills as a judge and sits an exam every four years following the Olympic Games to refresh his knowledge of the 500 (plus) gymnastics skills.

Chris Hope - Football Referee

Chris has contributed significantly as a mentor, attending matches in regional Victoria to mentor referees. Chris has mentored referees who have gone on to officiate in the Hyundai A-League. Chris provides a selfless approach to mentoring others and helping develop match officials. Chris’s experience as an official include: Grand Final Referee Dockerty Cup and referee at the Football Federation Australia Cup. Chris is the first match official to officiate both Cup and League grand finals in Victoria.

Damian Van De Berg – Swimming

Damian has officiated at Club, district, state, national and international meets throughout 2017. These included: Yarrawonga Skins, Kilmore Meet, Goulburn Valley District Champs, All Junior Eliminations Goulburn Valley, National Open Champs in Brisbane and the World Masters Games in Auckland. Damian is a Swimming Victoria Director, an open water and pool referee and mentor to other technical officials. His work, particularly in the area of open water has helped Swimming Victoria develop its Victorian Open Water Championships successfully.

John Roberts – Bowls

John has officiated at state, national and international level. During 2017 John was selected to officiate at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast. In 2017, John performed the roles of "Marker" and "Umpire" at the 2017 Gold Coast Multi Nations. This event was a trial for the Commonwealth Games featuring teams from seven nations. John is generally accepted as one of Australia's best and most experienced officials and has also acted as the Tournament Director and "Head Official" at national events.

This award recognises the exceptional contribution made by a Victorian official in 2017 with a particular focus on improving community sport through fairness, integrity and making sport more welcoming and inclusive.


Felicity Di Toro - Netball

Felicity has had a colourful netball umpiring career. Her accolades include the appointment of Umpire Coach at Eastern Zone Championships, Umpire Coordinator at La Trobe Valley and was instrumental in the planning and implementation of many umpire development programs for associations in the regional areas. Felicity umpires at Mid-Gippsland Football Netball League and is actively coaching beginner umpires in the Latrobe Valley region. Felicity was shortlisted for Netball Victoria's Outstanding Contribution to Umpiring Award in 2017.

Kerryn Cormick - Aero Gymnastics

Kerryn has officiated at club, state and national level and has been involved in the sport of Aerobics for 21 years. Kerryn has been a judge, coach and volunteer for the majority of this period and has excelled in all three areas. Kerryn was instrumental in promoting gymnastics across Victoria and Australia from grass roots to elite level. Kerryn coached and mentored 15 athletes to represent Australia at the International Aerobic Gymnastics Championships in USA where her students won one gold, four silver and two bronze medals.

Muriel Aberline - Swimming

Muriel has been a swimming official at club, district, state and national level. Muriel officiates regularly at local swim meets in Warrnambool in the Barwon South West district. Murial has officiated at state swimming meets including the Swimming Victoria’s Country Inter-district competition and Victorian Country Championships. Muriels's current qualifications include: Timekeeper, Chief Timekeeper, Inspector of Turns, Judge of Strokes and a Finish Judge. Muriel is a senior Technical Official in her district and plays a key role in the recruitment, training, assessing and mentoring of new and current officials.

Anna Lewer – Lacrosse

Anna officiates both women’s and men’s lacrosse competition. Anna received the 2017 Official of the Year Award at the competition’s end of season function. Anna showed the lacrosse community that gender doesn’t matter when officiating the men's top level competition, receiving praise and recognition from her male counterparts throughout the season.

This award recognises Victorian teams who have achieved outstanding results in respect to their performances at a state, national, international, or elite level during the 2017 year. This award is open to men’s, women’s and mixed teams.


Victorian Vikings - Hockey

The Victorian Vikings are the National Hockey champions after defeating Queensland in the 2017 Australian Hockey League (AHL) final in Perth to make it back to back National Championships for the first time in history. The Victorian Men's Hockey team, lead by Head Coach and National Hockey Legend, Jay Stacy have had a sustained period of success with two National Championships and a bronze medal over the past three years.

Commonwealth Bank Victorian Bushrangers - Cricket

In March 2017 The Commonwealth Bank Bushrangers won the Sheffield Shield for the third season in a row. Victoria were bowled out on the final morning for 323, leaving South Australia an almost-impossible target of 524 from 69 overs. The Sheffield Shield is Cricket Australia's first-class men's cricket competition. The competition is a breeding ground for Australian Test cricketers. The 2016/17 Bushrangers has since seen several squad members selected to represent Australia in T20 and One-Day International cricket.

Melbourne Storm – National Rugby League

Melbourne Storm continued their rein as National Rugby League (NRL) premiers in 2017 by defeating the North Queensland Cowboys 34-6. By the end of the season, Melbourne Storm were sitting on the top of the ladder with 20 wins and 4 losses. The team also received a plethora of accolades on an individual level, including 10 Dally M Awards.

Melbourne University Blues Volleyball Women's Team - Volleyball

In 2017 the Melbourne University Blues Volleyball (Uni Blues) Women's team achieved their 5th straight gold medal in the Australian Volleyball League. The team went through to the 2017 season, dropping only two matches in a tough road trip to Mandurah, WA. Excluding these matches, the team only dropped one set for the rest of the tournament. With this win, the Women's Uni Blues team broke their own Australian Volleyball League championship record winning their sixth overall championship.

This award recognises Victorian junior (male, female or mixed) eams who has achieved outstanding results with respect to their performances at a state, national, international or elite level during the 2017 year.


Victorian Western Metros U15 Lacrosse Team - Lacrosse

The Victorian Western Metros U15 team went undefeated throughout the 2017 National Lacrosse Tournament held in Perth. It was the team’s second consecutive national title. The Western Metros is made up of teams from Altona, Footscray, Williamstown and Wyndham.

Victoria U19 Netball Team - Netball

The 2017 U19 Victorian Netball team achieved outstanding success at the 2017 National Netball Championship. They defeated Queensland 25 - 17. The team trained together at the State Netball Hockey Center for just 14 weeks in the lead up to the competition.

Junior Aerodance Team – Gymnastics

The Victorian Aerodance team consists of 13 years old’s, Brooke, Lucy, Sophie, Mila, Celeste and Ruby. The team have been successful at almost every level of AeroDance competition during 2017 at State, National and International Championships. 2017 saw the Junior Aerodance team compete at the Association of National Aerobic Championships in Phoenix, Arizona.

Victorian U14 State Tennis – Tennis

The Victorian U14 State tennis team consisted of Cooper White, Amor Jasika, Luke Vuletic and Darcy Nicholls. They were third seeds going into Australian Team Championships but this did not stop them from easily defeating Western Australia and South Australia. This resulted in U14 State Tennis Team meeting top seeds Queensland in the final and defeating them 2-1.

This award recognises a Victorian individual male athlete who has achieved outstanding results in respect to performance/s at a national, international level during the 2017 year.


Cameron Smith – National Rugby League

Cameron Smith was the 2017 captain for the Australian Rugby League team and currently holds the title of captain for the Melbourne Storm. In 2017, Cameron won the National Rugby League’s (NRL) Player of the Year award, the Dally M Medal, and also captained the Australian Kangaroos’ win against England in the Rugby League World Cup. Cameron holds the record for the most matches played and career wins of any player in the NRL. He also holds the record for most appearances in a State of Origin and was the highest point scorer at the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.

Dustin Martin - Australian Rules Football

Dustin Martin is a well-known name in the Australian Football League (AF). In 2017, Dustin claimed the AFLPA MVP Award, and won the Jack Dyer Medal in Richmond’s B&F in 2016 along with being selected for the All-Australian team in 2017. Dustin also won the Brownlow Medal polling 36 votes and claimed the Norm Smith medal in the 2017 AFL Grand Final. Martin became the first player to win a Brownlow Medal, a premiership, Norm Smith and the AFLPA MVP in a single season.

Scotty James - Snowboarding

Scotty James was the leading snowboard halfpipe athlete in the world in 2017 taking out all major titles available in his sport. Scotty won the World Championships in Sierra Nevada, Spain and also took out the World Cup title in PyeongChang, Korea in 2017. In February 2018, Scotty won the bronze medal at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang.

John Peers – Tennis

In 2017, John won the following major events; Australian Open Men's Doubles Championships, the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) World Finals Men's Doubles Championships in London and the World Masters 1000 Shanghai. All the above was won with partner Henri Kontinen from Finland and in the same year, they were also were named the No.1 Men's Doubles pair in the world. John was also a Finalist for the 2017 Newcombe Medal.

This award recognises Victorian individual female athletes who have achieved outstanding results in respect to performance/s at a state, national, international, or elite level during the 2017 year.


Stephanie Catley - Football (Soccer)

Stephanie Catley captained the Melbourne City Football Club in back to back W-League Championships in both the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons, defeating Perth Glory in the 2017 Grand Final 2-0. Stephanie is an integral member of the Matildas Australian national team, totaling 61 appearances to date. Further to her on-field success, Stephanie also dedicates her time to promoting female football. Stephanie She was the first female player to appear on the cover of EA Sport’s FIFA 16 alongside Lionel Messi, and is also a National Ambassador for ALDI MiniRoos.

Britt Cox - Winter Sports - Mogul Skiing

In 2017, Britt Cox had one of the greatest seasons in Australian winter sport history. Britt won an incredible seven out of eleven World Cup events and podiumed in two others to take out the Mogul Skiing and Freestyle World Cup overall titles. Britt finished her amazing season in the best possible way with gold at the World Championships in Sierra Nevada, Spain, the second World Championship medal of her career.

Amanda Reynolds - Para Sprint Canoeing

Amanda Reynolds is an Australian Para-canoe sprint champion. In 2017, Amanda won championship gold medals in the PARA KL3 200 metres, 500m & 1000m events. At the World Canoe Sprint Championship held in September 2017 in Moscow, Amanda won the KL3 200m gold medal - clear 1.434 seconds of her nearest rival. Amanda’s success as an athlete has been consistent since her professional debut in 2014. Amanda has competed in every Australian and Victorian Championships since 2014.

Abbie Burgess – Lacrosse

Abbie Burgess had an excellent 2017. Abbie represented Australia at the Lacrosse World Cup, where Australia finished 4th. Abbie represented Victoria at the Nationals, where she was a key part of the undefeated team. Abbie also was part of the undefeated Footscray team that won the Women’s State League Grand Final. To complete Abbie’s amazing year, she became the first Victorian woman to be drafted to the professional lacrosse league in the USA.

BLK Sport

This award recognises Victorian junior athletes who have achieved outstanding results in respect to performance/s at a state, national, international, or elite level during the 2017 year.


Daniel Cave – Swimming

Daniel Cave has come quickly through the Australian Swim Team ranks making the transition from the Australian Junior Team in 2016 to senior team the following year at the age of 18. He was selected for his first senior team in 2017 after winning the 100 breaststroke at the 2017 National Championships, followed by a gold and silver in the 100m and 200m breaststroke events respectively at the 2017 Australian Age Championships. Daniel competed in the 100m breaststroke event and won silver in the 4x100m mixed medley relay at the 2017 FINA World Championships in Budapest.

Isis Holt - Para-athletics

IsIsis Holt was extraordinary at the World Para Athletics Championships held in London on July 2017. In the T35 W 100m sprint, Isis ran it in 13.43 sec securing the gold medal and establishing a new world record. Similarly, in the T35 W 200m sprint, Isis also won the gold and set a new Championship Record. Isis is an incredibly focussed and resilient athlete. Despite being hospitalized only 3 weeks prior to competing in the Championships and being unable to train for 1 week in the lead up, Isis still won back to back World titles (100m and 200m), and broke her own WR in the process.

Destanee Aiava – Tennis

Destanee Aiava is an Australian professional tennis player and become the first player born in the 2000s to play at a Grand Slam at the age of 16. Her accolades in 2017 include winning the Perth and Mornington Pro Tour events, and being selected to make her Fed Cup debut in Serbia. Destanee also succeeded in the Australian Open 2018 as a Wildcard in the playoffs in December 2017. Destanee’s outstanding season has seen her recognised in the Victorian Tennis Awards when she won the Junior Athlete of the Year.

Tess Coady - Snowboard Slopestyle

In 2017, 16-year old Tess Coady was crowned dual gold medalist in the Junior World Championships at the Czech Republic, landing on the top of the podium for snowboard slopestyle and snowboard big air. Shortly after, Tess achieved her first ever top-10 result at a senior international event, placing sixth at the Mammoth Mountain Grand Prix in February. At her debut World Championships in Sierra Nevada, Spain in 2017, Tess contributed to Australia’s most successful World Championship campaign ever with an 11th place in the slopestyle event narrowly missing the top-10, despite being the youngest athlete on the Australian Team.

Involve Group

This award recognises Victorian masters athletes (male or female) who have achieved outstanding results in respect to their performances at a state, national, international, or elite level during the 2017 year.


Allan Wood – Track and Field (Athletics)

Allan had great success in the following events in the Australian Masters Games Tasmania in 2017 winning gold in the 60m, 100m, 200m, 400m, long jump, high Jump, triple jump, javelin, and in the track and field pentathlon. Allan also won silver in the Australian Masters Athletics in Darwin in the pentathlon and bronze in the triple jump.

Linley Frame – Swimming

At the FINA World Masters Championships in Budapest in 2017, Linley won gold in the 50m, 100m & 200m breaststroke in the 45-49 age group. Linley set a world record and championship record in the 50m breaststroke and a championship record in both the 100m and 200m breaststroke. Linley represented Australia in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona placing 15th in 100m breastroke.

Marilyn Luck – Tenpin Bowling

Marilyn has had a colourful career to date. At state level, Marilyn won Bowler of the Year World at the tenpin Championships (blind & vision Impaired) as well as winning the Australian tenpin Championships. Marilyn was invited by the Japanese Paralympic Committee and Japanese Bowling Congress to compete in Japan in recognition of her world status as a blind bowler ranked No.1 at the time. Marilyn is the only B1 (blind) bowler in the world to bowl without the assistance of a guide rail.

Glenn Busby – Tennis

Glenn is ranked No.1 in the World Men's Seniors in the 60+ age group. Glenn’s accolades include winning the Men's Singles 60+ in Shenzhen China in October 2017. Glenn won the Men's Singles 60+ Oceania Regional Tournament at Kooyong in March and was runner up in the German Seniors Open Championship in Essex in July 2017.

Victorian Government

This award recognises a member of the Victorian sport and active recreation community who has made a positive difference to the opportunities and experiences available to others over a long period of time. They could be a paid or volunteer administrator, official, umpire or coach or otherwise involved in the sector, who has provided support, encouragement or inspiration through hard work; often through self-sacrifice and without personal gain.


Rob McIntyre – Cricket

Rob continues to ensure the growth of sport in his community. In a decade with the Gisborne & District Cricket Association, Rob has seen the Association grow from 15 to 22 clubs and has worked to change the structure of the Association’s management from a 'delegate-based decision making system' to a Board of Management which has improved governance practices and professionalism. With Rob’s focus on junior participation and development will see the first full girl’s competition begin this season. The junior competition has also grown rapidly to 73 teams. Rob has dedicated 35 years to cricket in Victoria and is currently the President of the Gisborne and District Cricket Association for a second year, following eight years as a secretary with the club.

Barbara Lewis – Softball

Barbara has been a long serving member of the softball association in Victoria. She has held various positions on the committee and always volunteers to assist teams at every opportunity. Barbara continues to play softball regularly at masters (over 35s) level. In 2017, Barbara participated in the Victorian masters, as well as participating in the World Masters Games in New Zealand. Barbara is a tireless community volunteer of twenty years and continues to dedicate her time and commitment to furthering the game of softball.

Alexander (Sandy) Frame - Swimming

Sandy first became involved in swimming as a Technical Official in the 1980’s, when his daughter Linley (world champion and Olympian) was 10 years old. Sandy has spent 35+ years on the pool deck as an active voluntary Technical Official, ranging from club, district and national meets. Sandy’s involvement in swimming as a Technical Official, committee member and general club person has seen him rise to a leadership level in the sport among not only his peers, but the whole swimming community. Sandy’s Leadership as an official has seen him train and assess a very large number of officials, increasing the pool of volunteers available to help run swimming in Victoria.

David Stobart – Tennis

David saw significant changes to tennis in Victoria throughout his tenure. There were many highlights during his leadership, but one of his greatest achievements was the joining of Tennis Victoria and the Victorian Country Tennis Association. This partnership has seen country tennis become the biggest grass court tournament in the southern hemisphere. David served as the delegate to Tennis Australia in this time and represented Victoria proudly. When David completed his tenure, he did so leaving Victoria in a strong position, with fantastic growth clearly demonstrated by the 49% increase in registered participants in 2013/14 alone. David's contribution to tennis spans many decades. David Stobart was on the Tennis Victoria Board from 2000 – 2015, and was President for 11 years (2004 – 2015).

Southern Cross Trophies

This award recognises the exceptional contribution made by a volunteer under the age of 35 to the Victorian sport and active recreation community.


Alana Baldi - Cricket and Special Olympics

Alana has volunteered her time to run weekly cricket training sessions for people in Shepparton with a disability as part of her role as a Cricket Australia A Sport for All Community Ambassador. These clinics run each year in February and November. The clinics held in November lead up to the GV Harmony Cup, which is a Cricket Gala Day for Cricketers with a disability. Alana is also on the organising committee of this event. The impact of these clinics is fostering and encouraging people with a disability in the Greater Shepparton area to participate in cricket and to integrate them into main stream sporting clubs. Alana's tireless work as a volunteer and advocate for people with a disability has had a profound impact on the broader community. Promoting and fostering participation in sport and community groups for people with a disability as well as raising awareness and educating others about people with a disability and how to help make their community group a friendly and welcoming place for all members of society.

Luqman Latif - Tennis

Luqman Latif has been the visionary that has driven the La Trobe University Tennis Club to become very successful. Luqman sourced sponsorship from Prelli Tennis, Tennis Australia and local cafes within the La Trobe University. Since Luqman's induction as President , the La Trobe University Tennis club has grown from 12 members to 152 members over the past two years.

William Hammersla – Climbing

Will Hamersla has volunteered in many roles in Sport Climbing. In 2017 he held a position on the Sport Climbing Victoria (SCV) board of directors after holding the president position for two years prior. William was also National Head Coach (volunteer position) from 2015 -2017 and ran state-level coaching workshops over that period of time too. William provided leadership in establishing the organisation and is mostly known for his climbing ability at both national and state levels competitions. Williams technical skills are also integral in running all SCV sanctioned competitions and many national-level Sport Climbing Australia sanctioned events.

Danielle Johnson – Netball

Danielle has a heart so big, being a volunteer comes naturally. As well as treasurer, Danielle is the junior team’s coordinator and Member Protection Officer. Danielle also helps with secretarial duties, uniform design, ordering of club equipment, drink bottles and bumper stickers. Danielle bakes hundreds of cakes and slices and donates all proceeds to the club at events. At training, Danielle sits on the door monitoring and organising a scan in/out system on her tablet so kids are kept safe when they leave the stadium. On game days, Danielle minds the children waiting for their parents to pick them up and knows every single member’s name and who their parents are. Danielle's contribution to child welfare is the reason why so many of the kids are happy at the club.

Victorian sports administrators who have demonstrated an outstanding level of achievement during the 2017 year at the State Sporting Association, Regional Sports Assembly or National Sporting Organisation (Victorian based).


Steven Reaper – Australian Rules Football

Upon the arrival of the new AFL Victoria CEO, Steven Reaper’s vision became: To be the most accessible sport for all Victorians. Under Steven's leadership, AFL Victoria has grown the number of teams in Victoria playing Australian Rules Football to over 700 teams. Steven has also been instrumental in the reform of the Victorian Country Football League, in addition to being a driver of AFL Victoria's extensive approach to government partnerships. Under Steven’s leadership, AFL Victoria has also achieved the highest levels of staff engagement and satisfaction of any AFL state body or head office in the 2017 calendar year.

Dean Anglin – Basketball

Dean Anglin has been at the helm of Basketball Geelong as CEO for over four years, during this time the quality of the programs have lifted in performance and professionalism across the board. By the end of 2017, Dean delivered a brand new six court basketball facility to the Geelong community; a facility which now allows the sport of basketball to continue to grow and providing the Association with an asset which enables re-investment into the sport of basketball. Extending his passion outside of his role in Basketball, Dean is also Head Coach of the 2017 Victorian Women's Baseball Team which he led to a National Title Championship in April 2017.

Belinda Kleverlaan – Tennis

Belinda is the General Manager of Participation at Tennis Victoria and responsible for the increase in in participation across a variety of programs such within schools and clubs. School partnerships with tennis in Victoria increased from 543 to 720 Victorian schools thanks to Belinda’s dedication and commitment. Belinda had remarkable success in increasing the number of students enrolled in the ANZ Tennis Hot Shots program. Belinda has contributed many years of commitment to the developed of tennis from early days as a player to her role at Tennis Australia leading the Hot Shots program before moving to Tennis Victoria to lead the participation team.

David Cannizzo – Australian Rules Football

As CEO of a community Australia Rules football and netball League, David Cannizzo led Australia’s first ever dedicated themed Pride Round of Sport (football and netball) to celebrate diversity and inclusion in 2017. The impact and outcome of David’s leadership for the Pride Round initiative meant that the entire organisation was advocating and demonstrating a fun, safe, fair and inclusive environment for not just football and netball, but sport in the country. David has also significantly contributed to the development of women’s football, with a focus on building women’s football and ensuring its sustainability and prosperity through culture change. Through David’s leadership, the League has grown from 31 Member Clubs in 2012 to 36, and the netball competition has increased from six teams in its inaugural season (2012) to 81 in 2017.

This award recognises a Local Government Authority who has made a significant contribution to sport in 2017 through the development of a participation program or facility.


Active Maribyrnong Spring into Summer Series

Maribyrnong City Council’s Spring into Summer Series (SISS) has had an extremely positive impact on the Maribyrnong Community with over 1,750 registered participants engaged in the program. The SISS is a completely free program designed to be a catalyst to help improve the health and well-being of the Maribyrnong community as well as link participants into ongoing opportunities at local sports clubs and other community facilities. Program delivered throughout the SISS included; AFL Active, Rock-Up Netball, Junior Netball, Swing Fit, Disc Golf and many more. The SISS program had a range of positive impacts on the community as was evident through the results of our participant surveys, completed at the conclusion of the program. Positive impact from the SISS were 1,753 registered participants across all activities and 86% became more active due to participating in the program. The SISS also demonstrates innovation and creativity as the program combined direct physical activity with the option for participants to continue with low-cost physical activity at the conclusion of the program.

Community Pathways Program - Partnership between City of Yarra Youth Services and Melbourne City Football Club

Partnership between City of Yarra Youth Services and Melbourne City Football Club has provided the community with a pathways program that allows young soccer players aged between 12-18 the opportunity to be coached by professional soccer coaches in a professional environment. By participating in the program, the hope is that young soccer players will be given the chance to play for a club (local, NPL, State or A-League). Twenty young people aged 12-18 years participated in the City of Yarra/Melbourne City Soccer Pathways program in 2017. Through their participation in the program, participants were linked with soccer clubs at all levels and assisted the teams to foster a sense of belonging and connection to the City of Yarra community and Melbourne City Football Club family. Through participation in the Soccer Pathways program, participants were introduced to other programs and opportunities such as art, music and skill development programs. T

Glen Eira City Council Recreation: Water Play, Open Space

The Glen Eira Council Recreation’s driving vision is to raise the standard of public spaces across Glen Eira. The municipality has the lowest amount of public open space of any metropolitan municipality and combined with strong residential growth means that developing high quality, accessible and engaging public spaces is a must. Booran Reserve was a unique project which saw the former 1.6Ha Caulfield Service Reservoir which was decommissioned in the late 1970’s, transformed into a sustainable recreational space for use by the whole community. The project’s major drivers were to create open spaces which provides leisure, recreation and well-being opportunities for the whole Glen Eira Community irrespective of age, ability and to create a reserve which achieves excellence at a national level. The reserve now provides a unique experience where children can use their senses and develop their motor skills and engage in a sporting area that provides a range of active pursuits and including a basketball ring, soccer goals, wall targets, netball ring and a cricket pitch.

The Wyndham Sports Strategy 2045

The Wyndham Sports Strategy 2045 provides a comprehensive evidence-based approach to the delivery of sport and active recreation facilities, guiding the direction for facility development over the next 5 years, with the growing long-term population and facility demand firmly in mind. Wyndham is a rapidly growing (currently 236,00 people, growing to 435,832 by 2036) and diverse population, and are faced with the challenge of planning to build sporting facilities long before the population increases. The development of this strategy considers the 168 sport and active recreation pursuits identified by the Australian Sports Commission, ensuring the community will have access to a diverse range of sporting facilities and an opportunity to participate in a sport that interests them. This is a 27-year strategy, which will be checked and updated every 5 years.

This award recognises the work of clubs, teams, groups or individuals who have succeeded in enabling more people to participate in outdoor and active recreation through a single initiative, event or longer-term initiative implemented within the past 2-3 years which has provided significant benefit during 2017.


Richelle Olsen (Escaping Your Comfort Zone) Hiking/Bushwalking

Escaping Your Comfort Zone Inc. is a hiking and adventure group aimed at plus size women who are currently beginners to the sport or are not physically active. The focus is not on weight loss or fitness, rather about connecting like-minded women and exploring the outdoors in a non-judgemental, safe environment. The group operates across Melbourne, Geelong, the Bellarine Peninsula. In 2017, 250 hiking and adventure events took place with 930 participants in total, with 230 unique individuals who attended at least 1 event every week. This initiative identified that plus size women are most commonly targeted by sports and fitness groups with the "you need to be fixed" mentality of weight loss and fitness. Instead, the approach was to promote movement as a fun and positive experience with new friends. This creates a positive experience for attendees when there is no pressure of fitness or weight loss. The inclusive nature of the group and the representation of all body sizes is designed to make participants feel welcome, understood, not judged, and above all, feel like they are part of a community. Many of the participants have started out as beginners who have never walked 1km and advanced onto multi-day hikes, half marathon events, triathlons, 1 million steps in 1 month and even climbing Mt Kilimanjaro.

Wheel Women - Cycling

Tina McCarthy and Wheel Women Cycling are commendable for changing the face of women’s recreational cycling. Tina displays the attributes of an authentic, honest and realistic role model and her commitment to help women of all shapes and sizes choose an active lifestyle through cycling is outstanding and well recognised. As a group, Wheel Women has changed the face of how to engage women in cycling. Throughout 2017, Tina and Wheel Women have contributed greatly to the increased participation of women in recreational cycling. With no aims of competition or racing, the focus at Wheel Women is to engage women in cycling from a purely recreational and non-competitive level. This then builds the landscape for future development of riders should they wish to pursue competition. In 2017 over 300 women across Melbourne engaged in Wheel Women cycling initiatives in different ways: skills sessions, group rides and cycling events. Wheel Women has successfully entered the largest all-women team into the 'Around The Bay in A Day' ride since 2013 and assembled an 80 women strong women’s ride at the Tour Down Under event in January 2017.

Geelong Touch Football Association – Touch Football

Geelong Touch (Football) Association has been running at maximum capacity over a one-night competition for many years with 25-26 teams in total. Throughout 2017, the Geelong Touch Football Association successfully ran a second night of competition that saw a number of new teams participate and also transition over to their preferred night of competition. They also worked with their State Sporting organisation (Victouch) to run the first Junior State Cup at the Geelong grounds, a venue seen as the best Touch Grounds in Victoria, and have coordinated a round of Victoria's premier VT League to be run at their own home grounds. Through discussions and meetings with local council, the Geelong Touch Football Association secured a temporary ground to run their first winter competition. Approximately 200 juniors participated in the first Junior State Cup held in Geelong in February 2017 and hundreds of other players have participated in the Senior State Cup, Western Affiliates Cup and local competitions. Geelong Touch Football Association attracts a very diverse group of members with data showing approximately 40% of members have stated their nationality to be other than Australian.

This award recognises outstanding community sporting initiatives that have been delivered successfully and benefited the local community.


I Speak Football” – Soccer

“I Speak Football” was developed to address the issue of social exclusion and isolation for young people newly arrived in Australia from CALD backgrounds using the global language of football. Young Leaders were trained and empowered to run the programs. The objectives of the program were for participants to build relationships, learn new skills and improve their confidence. The Young Leaders and participants come from more than thirty cultural backgrounds and ten schools have been involved and the I Speak Football Cup, a match dedicated to showcasing the I Speak Football program. Match day experiences allowed the participants to play on the AAMI Park pitch at half time and join in fun activities pre-match with the fans. Free tickets were provided for participants and their families.

Wheelchair Rugby Union Program – Rugby Union

Disability Sport & Recreation has proudly partnered with the Victorian Rugby Union (VRU) to strengthen the community support of wheelchair rugby. Through this formal partnership, the four top rugby clubs in Melbourne are now aligned with the four Victorian wheelchair rugby teams. Through media sharing and support by VRU and mainstream rugby clubs, the profile of wheelchair rugby has rapidly increased by 40% since 2015. For individuals who want to play wheelchair rugby, this initiative has highlighted a clear pathway from a developmental grassroots level through to the elite.

“Book a Court” Initiative - Tennis

Book a Court is an online court booking and payment platform that connects with pin pad technology placed on a club’s gate. The implementation of the ‘Book a Court’ system has meant that tennis clubs are more accessible to the public than ever before. The impact of this initiative has been substantial with 15,966 bookings being made with 7,884 players booking a court, since the program commenced. There are 47 active 'Book a Court' venues across Victoria now, all giving access to members of their club as well as casual users of the courts across their community.

Special Olympics Gymnastics – Gymnastics

In 2017, Gymnastics Victoria launched a partnership with Special Olympics Australia to create systemic inclusive change within gymnastics to open pathways for people with intellectual disabilities. The number of gymnastics clubs in Victoria offering Special Olympics Gymnastics increased from 3 to 12 clubs in 2017, with over 500 people with intellectual disabilities participating in the program in the last 12 months. The program is being introduced successfully across the state with a view to be introduced nationally.

My Sport Live

This award recognises the outstanding contribution made by a community sporting club, team or group who have demonstrated a strong commitment to encourage and support participation in sport and active recreation, including breaking down barriers that may be created by age, cultural diversity, ability, gender, religious belief or sexual orientation.


The Itiki Sporting Club - Netball

The Itiki Sporting Club, based in Melbourne’s northern suburbs, provides a diversion for young adults away from the youth justice system using netball as a lever. The Club celebrates the culturally diverse backgrounds of its 200 participants and removes barriers to participation including no participation fees and the complimentary provision of uniforms. The Club was awarded Netball Victoria's 2017 Inclusive Netball Community of the Year Award.

Malvern Marlins Masters Swimming Club

As the largest masters swimming club in Australia, the Malvern Marlins increased participation by 3% in 2017. The Club has developed policies and processes to service their members, including a New Member’s Officer. Member engagement is strong with flexible participation times to meet the needs of varying demographics and a busy social calendar. Registrar Beth Ashwood’s voluntary contributions were recognised at the 2017 Higgins Electorate Community Service Awards and Member Deryn Thomas was recognised with an Masters Sport Victoria 10 Years’ Conspicuous Service Award in 2017 for her contribution as an Official.

Boroondara Tennis Centre (aka “The Centre”)

Booroondara Tennis Centre, known as ‘The Centre’ is ranked number seven in Tennis Victoria’s top 50 clubs based on participation. This has been as a result of an increase in social competitions, particularly ladies as well as participants in ANZ Hot Shots. The Centre engages the local community through a multicultural program, inter-generational tennis challenge and a program at the local primary school involving approximately 400 students. The tournaments offered throughout the year cater for different levels – from participation to non-ranking, ranking and prize money tournaments.

Casey Gymnastics

Managed by the YMCA, Casey Gymnastics is registered as an Inclusive Club Leader with Gymnastics Victoria. Casey Gymnastics has delivered the Access All Abilities Gymnastics Program to reduce the barriers of participation for children and young people with high support needs to participate in their sport. Partnerships with local community groups has provided positive learnings and referrals to the program. With over 2,000 participants, a key component to the success of the club has been engagement in local events to connect members and their families with their local community.

My Sport Live

This award recognises an outstanding community sporting event that has been delivered successfully and benefitted the local community in 2017.


Eltham-Dandenong Junior Basketball Tournament – Basketball

Growing annually, the Eltham-Dandenong Junior Basketball Tournament is the largest of its kind in the world, attracting 1,209 teams to the event in January 2017. This includes 11,500 junior participants registered to play, plus 1,170 coaches, nearly 500 referees across approximately 120 basketball courts throughout Melbourne. It is currently the largest tournament of its kind in the world, to the knowledge of organisers. An All Abilities grade of competition, the only of its kind in Australia to run alongside the mainstream competitions from New Zealand and from every state and territory of Australia. Local business throughout Melbourne has benefitted significantly by hiring school facilities particularly in the north-east providing them and other community groups (scouts, sports clubs etc) with the opportunity to run BBQ's and other stalls at the stadiums so they can also financially benefit from the event and keep community groups functioning at a low cost for participants.

Southern Football Netball League Pride Round (12-13 August 2017) - AFL/Netball

The Southern Football Netball League became the first community football and netball league in Australia to celebrate diversity and inclusion with a dedicated league-wide Pride Round. As part of the celebrations, every one of the 20 football grounds in use over the weekend (12 – 13 August) featured rainbow 50 metres arcs painted on them, while every senior men’s and women’s footballer and netballer took to the field or court with rainbow laces in their boots or runners. All up, close to 4000 participants from over 100 football teams and 32 netball finals teams took part in these celebrations, in what was a tremendous show of solidarity with the LGBTI+ community. The SFNL was announced as one of winners of the 2017 Australia Post One Netball Community Awards for our work in creating a safe, inclusive and welcoming environment through the game of netball. The SFNL was advocating and demonstrating a fun, safe, fair and importantly inclusive environment for not just football and netball, but sport in the country. Over 100 people attended the Pride Cup social function last year with many wonderful organisations activating at the game, including beyondblue, Connect Health & Community, Headspace, Minus 18 and Proud2Play.

Under 11’s Lacrosse Lightning Carnival - Lacrosse Victoria

The Altona Lacrosse Club did an excellent job at hosting the largest U11 lightning carnival to be held in Australia. The event required Altona and their volunteers to set up grounds and supply officials for 20 teams. In June 2017, the U11 Lightning Carnival had over 180 players participate, the largest amount recorded of U11’s participating in the one event of lacrosse in Australia. The Lightning Carnival was divided into four divisions based on each team’s performance through the first half of the season.

2017 Federation University Australia South West Games - South West Sport

South West Sport's vision is to be 'a leading organisation in the sport and recreation sector that is pivotal in developing healthier, more inclusive and active communities in the South West of Victoria’. The 2017 Federation University Australia South West Games is one of many activities that supports volunteers, develop clubs and strengthen sport. The Games aim to promote an active lifestyle and build local community. To facilitate this event, South West Sport worked with around 50 grassroots clubs and local government (Corangamite Shire) to facilitate around 60 event during and around the month of November 2017.The impact on local community was great with over 4000 direct participants and 2000 spectators attend the event from approximately 50 clubs in 60 events. The event also brought revenue to the region approximately $300K to $400K in direct sports tourism benefits for the South West.

Victorian Government

The Victorian Outstanding Contribution to Victorian Sport Award is presented to an individual or organisation in recognition of outstanding achievement in, or contribution to, sport in Victoria. Winners of the Outstanding Contribution to Sport Award are nominated by the Vicsport Board and selected by a panel of industry representatives and are chosen based on their significant role in the Victorian sport and active recreation sector.

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