2018 Victorian Sport Award Finalists

Congratulations to the below individuals, teams, organisations, clubs and events for progressing through to the finalist stage of the 2018 Victorian Sport Awards

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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 2018 year.


John Hart - Gymnastics

Throughout 2018, John Hart has coached his athletes at state, national and international events. He coached the Waverley Gymnastics Centre Team at the Victorian State Championships and was selected as a Victorian Team Coach for the Australian Championships. John mentors and leads a team of fifteen elite gymnastics coaches in addition to volunteering his time to be the Coach Representative on the High Performance Gymnastics Advisory Panel.

Craig Jackson – Swimming

In 2018, Craig was the National Coach of the 2018 Commonwealth Games Team on the Gold Coast and the Pan Pacific Championships Team in Tokyo. Craig is the coach of Olympic Gold Medalist Mack Horton who won two Gold, Silver and a Bronze Medal at the Commonwealth Games and a Silver Medal at the Pan Pacific Championships. Craig won Victorian Coach of the Year at the 2018 Swimming Victoria and Australian Swimming Coaches and Teachers Association Awards in June. In 2018, Craig opened up his high performance training program for emerging Victorian distance swimmers and their coaches.

Samantha Lukey - Calisthenics

Samantha (Sammi) coached Calisthenics Victoria's Intermediate team, winning all six entered items at the 2018 Australian Calisthenics Federation and National Championships in July 2018. Sammi is the Head Coach of the Avonde Calisthenic Club Senior, one of Australia’s longest running premium clubs. Sammi was a guest coach and mentor for the Queensland Calisthenics Future Stars program, and has commenced a mentoring program in preparation for the 2019 season.

Dean Vickerman - Basketball

Dean Vickerman is the current Head Coach of the Melbourne United Basketball team. In the 2017/18 season, Dean led the team to win the National Basketball League Championship, taking the title in a five game grand final series against the Adelaide 36ers. Dean also won NBL Coach of the Year for the 2017/18 season. Dean's contribution to the wider community is an essential part of his role with Melbourne United; to develop the coaches of the future and he also runs several coaching seminars throughout the year for basketball coaches at all levels.


This award recognises the exceptional contribution made by a Victorian community sporting coach during 2018, 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.


Wes Canny - Rowing

Wes coaches rowing at Corowa Rowing Club on the Murray River. He coaches across all levels, from beginners to national champions. Wes is a tireless worker and is involved in all aspects of the rowing club, from on water activities to the day to day running of the club. Wes is committed to setting up appropriate training programs for rowers of all abilities and regularly undertakes professional development training, understanding the great value this has on all athletes.

Amy Johnson - Triathlon

Amy created TriChicks to promote women’s participation in triathlon at the community level. Starting with a 10-week beginner course through to Ironman coaching, Amy has supported women to develop swim, bike and run skills, gain confidence in their abilities and tackle a triathlon. Amy always shows an unwavering belief in athletes, seeing their potential often before they can see it themselves, creating an achievement mindset that gives the athletes confidence that they can achieve whatever they set their minds to.

Vicky Lee - Tennis

Vicky is the head coach at Doncaster Tennis Club and is a leader in the inclusion coaching space. Providing coaching to partnership schools within the area, Vicky makes it a priority to create a welcoming space for people of all abilities, believing sport has no barriers socially, physically or otherwise.

Taylah Palmer - Gymnastics

At 21 years of age, Taylah Palmer is an Intermediate Women’s Artistic Gymnastics coach at Casey Gymnastics and has been coaching community gymnastics for five years. Taylah has a passion for working with children and adults with intellectual disabilities. In 2018, Taylah created an all abilities gymnastics event in a fun, social and judgement-free environment. The event attracted over 125 families, with some travelling over 60km to attend.


This award recognises Victorian officials who have demonstrated excellence in their role as an official of their chosen sport during the 2018 year.


Jessica Haintz - Gymnastics

Jess Haintz is a Level 2 Women’s Artistic Gymnastics Judge and has officiated at numerous gymnastics competitions throughout 2018 at international level including the 2018 Commonwealth Games and the Pacific Rim Championships in Columbia. Jessica also officiated at numerous national Gymnastics events including the Australian National Championships and the Victorian Championships. Jessica runs several competitions at Waverley Gymnastics Centre and volunteers on the Women’s Artistic Gymnastics Technical Committee and Advisory Group.

Brian Hurley - Netball

Brian Hurley officiated gold medal matches, semi-finals and round matches at the 2018 Commonwealth Games as well as the International Fast 5 Series Grand Final. In 2018, Brian officiated the national Suncorp Super Netball competition, the Deakin University Australian Netball League and the Victorian Netball League. Brian is also acts as a mentor for bench officials and regularly attends training and development programs run by Netball Australia to further his development and accreditation.

Jacqueline Madden - Swimming

Jacqueline commenced officiating in 2005 and officiates at club, district, state, national and international meets every year. In the 2017/18 season, Jacqueline officiated at the Commonwealth Game Selection trails, the Australian Age Championships and the State Team Short Course Championships. Jacqueline is also a mentor and is currently Chair of the Swimming Victoria Technical and Officials Development Committee.

Andrew McGuire - Triathlon

Andrew has been involved in Triathlon since 2006 and was the president of the Casey Cardinia Club from 2011 to 2012. Andrew gained a Level 2 Officials Qualification in 2014 and Level 3 Official in 2017. Andrew officiated his third World Championship at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast and has officiated over 6000 international athletes. Andrew is an avid volunteer and has supported local sporting clubs in developing their officials for over 16 years.


This award recognises the exceptional contribution made by a Victorian official in 2018 with a particular focus on improving community sport through fairness, integrity and making sport more welcoming and inclusive.


Phillip Craig - Confederation of Australian Motor Sport (CAMS)

Phillip officiates across all levels of motor sport from club to the Australian Formula One Grand Prix. Phillip is involved in many aspects of training motor sport officials, including educating officials in fire extinguisher training and emergency fire and rescue practices.

Peter Cramp - Touch Football

Peter Cramp officiates across state and national competitions including the Victorian Touch Football League and the Western Australia and New South Wales Cup. Peter runs several referee courses for new referees and focuses on upskilling new and young referees.

Jenny Forssman - Gymnastics

Jenny Forssman is an advanced women’s artistic gymnastics judge and began officiating in 2007. For the past 11 years, Jenny has served the community through officiating at local, regional, state and national level events and in 2018, Jenny began mentoring young gymnastics officials at local community clubs. Jenny is an advocate for inclusion and is an active member of the Barwon Region Special Olympics and has played a significant role in the development of the Special Olympics Gymnastics in Geelong.

Nicole Lopes - Little Athletics

Nicole officiates at regional and state levels and typically performs the role of 'Computer Chief' where she oversees the electronic results and the coordination of the photo-finish electronic timing equipment. In 2018, Nicole officiated at the Regional and State Relay Championships, Track and Field Championships and the Victorian Cross Country. Nicole is also a member of the Southern Metropolitan Regional Committee, and a Life Member the Waverley Little Athletics Centre.


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 2018 year. This award is open to men’s, women’s and mixed teams.


Melbourne Ice Women - Ice Hockey

The Melbourne Ice Women's Team won the Grand Final of the Australian Women's Ice Hockey League in March 2018. This was the team’s sixth title winning the Joan McKowen Trophy. The Melbourne Ice Women's team is Victoria's representative team in the Australian Women's Ice Hockey League. This is an amateur National League sanctioned by Ice Hockey Australia and is the highest level of women's ice hockey competition in the country.

Melbourne United - Basketball

Melbourne United defeated the Adelaide 36ers 100 to 82 in Game 5 of the Championship Series, in front of a sold out crowd at Hisense Arena in March 2018. Coached by Dean Vickerman, the triumph victory was the first for Melbourne United, winning the series 3 -2.

Melbourne Victory - Football (soccer)

The 2017/18 season saw Melbourne Victory win the premiership title against the Newcastle Jets in a thrilling 1-0 match. Under the guidance of senior coach Kevin Muscat, the grand final triumph gave Melbourne Victory their fourth championship, moving them in front of Sydney FC as the most successful club in A-League history.

Western Bulldogs - AFL Women's

In their second year together as an AFL Women’s team, the Western Bulldogs secured their first premiership in 2018. After a disappointing inaugural season in 2017, the Western Bulldogs players worked tirelessly to uphold elite training and playing standards, ultimately resulting in the ideal success – an AFLW Premiership.


This award recognises Victorian junior (male, female or mixed) teams who have achieved outstanding results with respect to their performances at a state, national, international or elite level during the 2018 year.


Victorian Age Diving Team - Diving

The Victorian team for the 2018 Australian Age Championships won State of the Year after taking home 24 gold medals, 20 silver medals and 18 bronze medals. At the Diving Australia awards, the Diver of the Year is awarded to 10 separate age groups. Of these 10 age groups, Victoria won 7. Additionally, a Victorian club won Club of the Year and a Victorian coach tied for Coach of the Year

Victorian Indoor Cricket 14 and Under Girls State Team - Indoor Cricket

The Victorian Indoor Cricket 14 and Under State side consisted of 10 junior female talented all-rounders and were undefeated throughout the eight day tournament in March 2018. The team also made history by winning a record 3rd consecutive national title at the 2018 Championships.

Victorian 19 and Under Netball Team - Netball

The Victorian 19 and Under Netball Team competed in the 2018 National Netball Championships in Adelaide last year. The team were undefeated winning comfortably 32-25 against NSW in the semi-finals. The Victorian team went on to win the championship defeating South Australia 31-26.

South Melbourne Seahorses - Rescue and Resuscitation Team - Life Saving

The South Melbourne Seahorses have competed at the Victorian State Championships and at the Australian Surf Life Saving Youth Championships, winning every event they entered. Competing at both state and national events, the South Melbourne Seahorses are young female athletes and role models for lifesaving communities with a major focus on rescue and resuscitation drills.


This award recognises a Victorian individual male athlete who has achieved outstanding results in respect to performance/s at a state, national, international, or elite level during the 2018 year.


Dylan Alcott - Tennis

One of the most recognisable faces of Australian tennis, 2018 was a great season for Dylan Alcott as he won his sixth Grand Slam title, and finished second at the US Open, with victory over long-time rival David Wagner in the quad wheelchair singles final at Flushing Meadows. The 27 year old from Melbourne is a multiple Australian Open quad Singles Champion.

Chris Goulding - Basketball

Chris Goulding is the team captain of Melbourne United and led the team to a Championship in March 2018 in the 2017/18 National Basketball League. Chris won the Grand Final's Most Valuable Player for the five game grand final series. Chris was also part of the successful gold medal winning Commonwealth Games Basketball Team and represented the Australian Boomers in various FIBA qualifying games. Chris is highly engaged with the community and is ambassador for various charities, such as Helping Hoops and Camp Quality.

Mack Horton - Swimming

At the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in April, Mack claimed gold in a season’s best time of 3:43.76 and formed part of the winning 4x200m freestyle relay team. Mack also brought home a silver medal in the 200m Freestyle and a bronze medal in the 1500m Freestyle. 2018 also saw the Australian Dolphins compete at the Pan Pacific Championships in Tokyo where Mack claimed silver in the 400m Freestyle.

Scotty James - Snowboarding

At the age of 23, Scotty James created history as the first Australian male to win a snowboard Olympic medal at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang. Scotty claimed a bronze medal in the halfpipe and was also selected to be the Australian flag bearer at the Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony. 2018 continued to be a stellar year for Scotty winning a a silver medal at the 2018 Winter X-Games in Aspen, Colorado. Scotty James capped off his standout performances year by taking out the prestigious Victorian Institute Award of Excellence in November 2018. Scotty plays an active leadership role within the newly structured National Park and Pipe Program in the US targeting athletes up to the age of 12 years old with the potential to be medal contenders for the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games.


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 2018 year.


Carla Krizanic - Bowls

Carla claimed her first gold medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in the Australia's Women's Fours lawn bowls team, the first Commonwealth Gold by any Australian team or individual lawn bowler since the Melbourne Commonwealth Games in 2006.

Jemima Montag - Athletics: Race Walking

At the 2018 Commonwealth Games, Jemima won a gold medal in the 20km walk with a time of 1:32:50. Jemima also won a silver medal at the Oceania Racewalking Championships with a time of 1:31:26.

Melissa (Milly) Tapper - Table Tennis

2018 was a standout year for Melissa Tapper winning Australia’s first table tennis Commonwealth Games gold medal in front of her home crowd on the Gold Coast in the women’s singles TT6-10 (pronounced TT6 – Ten). Melissa also won a bronze medal at the World Para Table Tennis Championships in Slovenia in October last year.

Lucy Stephan - Rowing

In March 2018, Lucy started her domestic season by winning the Queen’s Cup Women’s Interstate Eights race at the Australian Rowing Championships in Sydney. On the 2018 International stage, Lucy won a gold medal as part of the Australian Rowing Team for the Women’s Coxless Four in Austria. At the World Rowing Championships in Bulgaria, Lucy raced again in the Women’s Coxless Four and won a silver medal behind the USA.


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 2018 year.


Destanee Aiava - Tennis

Destanee is the no. 1 ranked female in Victoria and has represented Australia twice in 2018, playing in the Fed Cup in February and April. At the Victorian Tennis Awards, Destanee won the Victorian Junior Athlete of the Year award and also took home the Australian Junior Athlete of the Year (Newcombe Medal) award at the Australian Tennis Awards.

Jakara Anthony - Mogul Skiing

Jakara achieved her career best result placing fourth at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang. 2018 also proved to be a standout year for Jakara, winning the silver in the Women’s Mogul Skiing event at the World Cup in Thaiwoo, China.

Alexandra Eade - Gymnastics

At the 2018 Commonwealth Games, Alexandra won a gold medal for her floor routine and was also a part of the Australian women’s team claiming a bronze medal. Earlier in the year, Alex won a gold medal for floor at the Gymnastics World Cup in Melbourne.

Harry Garside - Boxing

This 20 year old from Mooroolbark claimed a gold medal in the 60kg division at the 2018 Commonwealth Games after defeating India’s Manish Kaushik. Harry has also competed at state, national level competition.

Jemima Montag - Athletics - Race Walking

At the 2018 Commonwealth Games, Jemima won a gold medal in the 20km walk with a time of 1:32:50. Jemima also won a silver medal at the Oceania Racewalking Championships with a time of 1:31:26.


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 2018 year.


Glenn Busby - Tennis

Glenn is ranked No.1 in the ITF World Men's Seniors in the 60+ age group. He won the Men's Singles 60+ in Shenzhen China in October 2018, and won the Men's Singles 60+ Oceania Regional Tournament at Kooyong in March. Glenn was runner up in the German Seniors Open Championship in Essen in July 2018.

Sally Cumming - Surf Life Saving

Sally won a gold medal in beach flags at the 2018 World Masters Surf Lifesaving Championships, demonstrating incredible resilience and strength to fight back after injury to win the title.

Anna Davis - Cycling

In 2018, Anna won her 3rd UCI (Union Cyclist Internationale) World Road International Time Trial (ITT) in Italy. Back in Melbourne, Anna set a new world hour record on track with a distance of 44.4km. On the road, Anna won the Victorian Elite Individual Time Trial before winning the National Road Masters Championships in all three disciplines of criterium, ITT and road race.

Patrick Galvin - Swimming

Patrick achieved a new world record in the 100m Breaststroke of 1.49.64 in his 85-89 age group. Patrick also competed in the Australian National and State Masters Championships, Pan Pacific Games and South African National Championships. Achieving gold medals and setting National, State and Games records.


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.


Barbara Schembri - Swimming

Barbara contributes not only to Eastern Sirens Synchronized Swimming Club, but to all synchronized swimming clubs in Victoria as treasurer of both Synchro Victoria and the Eastern Sirens. Despite Barbara's retirement, she continues to devote hours of her time each week to the behind the scenes management of the sport. From January to December 2018, Barbara has volunteered her time as treasurer, and regularly makes trips to the pool to talk to young swimmers, giving them advice to help them excel in both sport and life.

Gary Barclay – Swimming

Gary has involvement at grass roots, state, national and International level in a variety of sports. As CEO of the Nunawading Swimming Club (NSC), Gary has been passionate about working with staff to support and encourage them to grow as professionals and as individuals, often in his own time. Gary has grown the Swim School to record numbers of children learning to swim - currently over 4500 each week, plus 8000 school program kids each year. NSC currently has over 300 competitive swimmers and in Gary’s time as CEO, the club has experienced its best results at a state and national level.

Andrew Guerin – Rowing

Andrew has been a life member of Mercantile Rowing Club since 1974 and was instrumental in recruiting a large number of good quality rowers and coaches. Andrew has also embedded professional coaching at the club and been a Team Manager for Victoria and Australian Crews at various World Championships and Olympic Games. Andrew’s accolades include 44 years at the World Rowing Federation (FISA), and 8 years as Director of Rowing Australia. Additionally, Andrew is one of the founders and main voluntary contributor of Australian Rowing History, a comprehensive history of Australian Rowing.

Elaine Duyvestyn - Softball

In 2018, Elaine Duyvestyn celebrated 50 years of involvement with the Melbourne Softball Association. During that time, Elaine has been part of club, association and state level committees, wearing many hats including a player, coach, secretary, vice president, president and board member. Elaine is a Life Member of the Wingers Softball Club, Melbourne Softball Association and Softball Victoria.


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.


Josh Barila - Swimming

At the young age of 17, Josh has already held many executive positions at club and district level of the swimming community. Josh has been a member of the Mildura Swimming Club (MSC) for over seven years and was instrumental in the growth and sustainability of MSC over the past three years. Josh created Facebook pages for the MSC and Sunraysia District and currently maintains both pages, posting information, updates and results in addition to encouraging new members to join. Josh has written and submitted a grant application for funding to secure new starting blocks for the Mildura Swimming Pool in order for Sunraysia District to meet infrastructure criteria to host the Victorian Country Long Course Championships.

Catherine Phillips - Ultimate Disc and Australian Football League

Catherine Phillips is currently the president of the Elite Ultimate Club ‘Ellipsis’ and has held this position since founding the club in 2015. Catherine also sits on the board of the Australian Ultimate League as Treasurer. As the President of Ellipsis, Catherine promotes involvement particularly towards female athletes in elite level sport and is passionate about providing development opportunities for female athletes and clear pathways to becoming elite players.

Joe Pignataro - Australian Football League

In 2018, Joe Pignataro joined the Victorian Amateur Football Association (VAFA) as the “For The Love Of The Game” (FTLOTG) VAFA Podcast host and producer. Joe creates the run-down for each week’s episode, organises the weekly guests, records the program and conducts all post-production editing. Joe’s involvement in VAFA began with his playing career, and is now the Media Director at St Bernard’s Football Club. In that ongoing role, Joe hosts and produces the St Bernard’s podcast which is centralised on engaging current Snow Dogs players, interviewing club greats in the “Legends” series, as well as giving an insight to the weekend games ahead.

Aaron Stewart - Ultimate Disc

Aaron Stewart founded the Ballarat Ultimate Club in 2011 and was president of the club from 2011-2018. In 2018, Aaron has taken up the role of Events Manager at Ballarat Ultimate. Aaron currently sits on Ultimate Disc's Events Sub-committee and in October 2018, Aaron successfully directed one of Australia’s largest ultimate tournaments, the Division 1 Australian Mixed Ultimate Championships.


Victorian sports administrators who have demonstrated an outstanding level of achievement during the 2018 year at the State Sporting Association, Regional Sports Assembly or National Sporting Organisation (Victorian based).


Grant Cosgriff - Triathlon

Grant is an ambassador not just for triathlons, but for all sports. Grant regularly meets with and shares his insights and experiences on how to identify and attract Victorians to participate in sport. In his role as Executive Director, Grant delivers on organisational goals to build an engaged, connected and inclusive multisport community to inspire and grow participation. The sport of Triathlon in Australia has been working towards becoming a federated model for a number of years, which has not yet progressed beyond state based issues. Recently, after meetings that were held in Melbourne, Grant identified many of the challenges facing triathlon, and the need for a clear organisational alignment strategy. Grant proposed that he lead/drive this project given his over 20 years’ experience in sports management across sport associations and state government.

Rosie King - Netball

Rosie has been instrumental in the funding of the State Netball & Hockey Centre (SNHC) in the 2018/19 budget. Rosie has worked across all levels of government and with a wide range of stakeholders to elevate netball and the needs of the netball community to advocate for the redevelopment of SNHC to become a true home of both netball and hockey in Victoria. The new centre will be able to co-locate netball and hockey programs currently inefficiently dispersed across metropolitan Melbourne. This will enable an additional 1,000 netballers to access the game each week, addressing wait lists and removing double byes. The redevelopment will assist in reducing the court shortage in the Inner-city area.

Christian Hamilton - Golf

Christian has developed a significant system that supports people from marginalised communities across Victoria and Australia to access the sport of golf. Through building partnership with internal golf stakeholders, external partners and international organisations, Christian has enabled Golf Australia to develop a participation and competition pathway. Christian signed up Golf Australia to the European Disabled Golf PGA and established the Australian All Abilities Championship within the Emirates Australian Open including an All Abilities event within the international World Cup of Golf.

Karen Pearce - Basketball

Karen Pearce commenced at Basketball Victoria in 2000 and spearheaded a number of programs including Hoop Time - which now has over 40,000 participants, programs for people with an Intellectual Disability, wheelchair basketball and managing the Women’s program. Karen has worked extensively on the Basketball Victoria Strategic Plan, Aussie Hoops, Schools programs, Association Development, Disabilities and Government Funding. As the current Manager of Strategy and Inclusion, Karen manages inclusion projects and staff in addition to strategic development.


The 2018 inaugural award, the Peter Norman Inclusion Award, recognises an individual or organisation that has made a significant contribution to safe, fair and inclusive sport.


Erik Denison - Rugby Union

Erik has driven advocacy within gay and inclusive rugby and advocates for inclusion, particularly for LGBTI kids. Erik took six months of unpaid leave to lead the first international study on homophobia in sport and completed a PhD leading world-first research at Monash to find solutions to discrimination in Rugby, AFL, and Hockey. In 2018, Erik led multiple world-first studies in Victoria, testing programs to end discrimination and investigated how to stop girls leaving sport due to homophobia and sexism. Erik’s research provides evidence which leaders like St Kilda’s Matt Finnis, use to support advocacy and government to justify funding LGBTI inclusion.

Karen Pearce - Basketball

Karen has championed a number of projects across 20 years at Basketball Victoria including: Building community Basketball and developing a Reconciliation Action Plan, creating the U14 Indigenous Program, assisting with Crime Prevention through Basketball and The Black Rhinos basketball program, spearheading a Women’s leadership program and developing basketball’s future female leaders and board members. Karen worked tirelessly with wheelchair basketball, athletes with intellectual disabilities, inclusion training and education, and walking basketball.

Matthew Shawcross - Cricket

The Sunshine Heights Cricket Club prides itself as an inclusive club, emphasizing access and equity by including people within the sport of cricket from over 35 different cultural backgrounds. In a time of significant negative media, the club welcomed over 26 South Sudanese Australians playing Cricket in the 2018-19 season and has had over 135 in the last decade. Matthew Shawcross has been at the forefront of this recruitment. The club has been recognized as Inclusive Club of the Year by Brimbank Council on four occasions, Good Sports and Club of the Year by the Victorian Government.

Raise the Bar Academy - Athletics Australia and Melbourne University

Raise the Bar Academy is a joint initiative between Athletics Australia and Melbourne University Sport to provide Indigenous school students from around Australia with a chance to discover the pathways to studying and participation through high performance sport. Launched in 2015, Raise the Bar Academy received close to 150 applications from rural and regional Indigenous teenagers, often from deprived communities which has grown significantly in the proceeding four years. 35 students are selected to spend a week in January on campus, where they receive professional coaching, academic mentoring and positive psychology training from a number of professionals that include elite athletes and staff members.


This award recognises a Local Government Authority who has made a significant contribution to sport in 2018 through the development of a participation program or facility.


Fit N Fun Program (All Abilities) - Mornington Shire Council

The All Abilities Day is held annually by Mornington Peninsula Shire in partnership with a range of agencies, for people with a disability to try out a range of sporting opportunities. This has lead to the spin off of the highly successful Fit N Fun program that was launched in 2018 to provide a weekly opportunity for adults with a disability to participate in various sports and to learn more about Health and Wellbeing through a range of guest speakers from a wide range of backgrounds. Physical activities regularly include basketball, dance, table tennis and gymnastics with an additional 4-6 weekly blocks of training in sports including cricket, soccer and tennis.

Casey Wolves BMX Track - City of Casey

Casey has delivered an outstanding Regional BMX Track and Sports Cycling pavilion available to over 333,000 residents and provides a full body workout. The community facility contains a large flexible community space and commercial kitchen, accessible public toilets, a purposely designed registration room and amazing spectator areas. The newly established Casey Wolves BMX Club affiliated with BMX Victoria and BMX Australia has already been able to host its first State Level event in February. The first-class event was a huge success, drawing strong participation. Casey have received sensational feedback from local residents stating they are living the Casey community life.

Activities and Outings for Seniors - LEAP Program

LEAP stands for 'Let Everyone Actively Participate'. The LEAP Program provides a wide range of opportunities to make friends, learn something new, and participate in physical activity for elderly people. Participation opportunities through the LEAP program include: Day trips by bus to places of interest in Victoria; the 'Twilight Club', a weekly social evening that provides weekly activities and opportunities for friendship; seniors golf, held weekly at the Growling Frog Golf Course and includes social and competition golf where lessons are also available; and exercise classes and walking groups conducted by qualified instructors held at a range of venues.

City of Ballarat - Sport & Active Living

Within the municipality of Ballarat, the Active Women and Girls Strategy has had significant impact in a variety of ways by introducing a Gender Equity Plan. The City of Ballarat's Active Women and Girls Strategy has prompted a call for change across the Central Highlands Region and other LGA catchments with a Council committed approach to increasing women and girl’s physical participation in sport and active recreation. The initiative also increases female participation at the leadership level on boards, committees, coaching, umpiring positions and more.

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 2018.


DonateLife Female Football Showcase

The DonateLife Female Football Showcase featured female footballers of all ages (6-43 years) at the same venue – a first for the area. While female football continues to grow, this event was aimed at building a link between junior and senior teams making it more welcoming and less daunting to transition into women’s football and demonstrating the pathway to elite football which is now available locally. The Showcase involved 215 participants with approximately 20 girls, 80 teenagers and 45 women participating in the 4 games of female football as well as 70 volunteer officials. The crowd on the day was estimated to be over 400 spectators. The day also raised awareness of the importance of organ donation where 100 organ and tissue donor registrations were completed on the day.

Rock Up Netball Train

Approximately 110 women have engaged in the Rock Up Netball Train sessions since the programs infancy. The program encourages women who haven’t played or who’ve dropped out of netball due to children, time constraints, injury etc., to re-engage with the sport. Rock Up Netball focus’ on the social aspects of netball, allowing women to feel comfortable in the environment with strategies including no uniform, friendly coaches and the flexibility of rocking up when they can. Rock Up Netball requires no membership, with participants only paying when they participate. Women participating in Train range between 30-60 years of age with the program offering appropriate sessions for all women no matter their fitness level or ability.

Escaping Your Comfort Zone

Escaping Your Comfort Zone increases the physical activity levels of inactive, or somewhat active Victorian plus-sized women through participation in accessible hiking and adventure activities without focus on weight loss or fitness. Escaping Your Comfort Zone builds friendships and a sense of community whilst also increasing confidence, mental health and a sense of "self-care". The program features 6 hikes per week across Melbourne, Geelong, Mornington Peninsula, the Bellarine Peninsula, Gippsland and Bendigo. In 2018, the initiative grew to over 800 members.

Victorian Wheelchair Football League (VWFL)

The VWFL exists to provide Victorians with a physical disability the opportunity to play Australian Rules Football at a competitive level. The league promotes fitness, fun and a sense of belonging. The 10 Round competition was based at Boroondara Sports Complex, and ran from May to August, culminating with the Grand Final in early September. Teams that took part this year were: Collingwood Magpies, Hawthorn Hawks, Essendon Bombers, St. Kilda Saints and the Richmond Tigers. The teams were managed by Disability Sport & Recreation and AFL Victoria.

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


Bowling with Babies

Bowls Victoria created Bowling With Babies to address two challenges for the sport: Increasing the participation of women, and increasing the engagement of a bowls club as a generational hub of local communities. Bowling With Babies is a participation program providing a safe, comfortable environment for new parents to get out of the house, meet other parents, enjoy a gentle game of bowls with optional coffee. The family-friendly environment of bowls clubs is a perfect location for a non-competitive physical activity specifically designed to fit the needs of new parents.

Learn Support Lead: Activating Female Leaders in Sport

Learn Support Lead: activating female leaders in sport' is a leadership program designed to activate the untapped skills and experience of local women in north east Victoria. Initiated in 2017, the 12 month program brings together established and emerging female sporting club leaders with local leadership experts for monthly leadership workshops. The mentor-mentee relationship between the established and emerging leaders has created a strong, supportive and growing network of female leaders across the region to share experiences, knowledge and ideas. Women representing 29 sporting clubs across 12 sports have participated in the program so far.

Walking Netball

Walking Netball originated in England in 2016. It is a slower, modified version of the game of netball, designed for older or injured participants to remain active and/or in the community. The Walking Netball Competition was introduced to the Frankston and District Netball Association (FDNA) by Sharen Reygers in early 2018. Since the concept was piloted, FDNA have been successful in application for a VicHealth Active Club Grant to assist with equipment acquisition and promotion for the sport, and have introduced a regular, weekly competition, seeing an increase in participation numbers from 0 to 32, and growing. Walking Netball keeps people active and social in a safe and welcoming environment, improving health, physical and mental wellbeing.

Women in Sport Good Governance Program

The Wimmera Regional Sports Assembly created the Women in Sport Good Governance Program after receiving funding from a Change Our Game Community development grant. This program was developed after research came from the Female Administrators Network, created to assist and develop females in leadership roles with our sporting associations and clubs. The research showed that women didn't have the confidence to nominate for board positions due to the lack of knowledge in the governance and strategic planning area.


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.


Collingwood Basketball Association

Collingwood Basketball Association has been an important presence in Melbourne’s inner north since the 1970s, sitting on the doorstep of public housing estates in Collingwood, Fitzroy, Richmond and Carlton. The local community is home to families with many diverse backgrounds, incomes, lifestyles, cultures and ethnicities. The Club has a long standing commitment to ensuring as many young people in the community as possible can participate in basketball and enjoy the many benefits of team sport. The club has approximately 940 players in their junior domestic program, 265 in the junior representative program, 90 in beginners and 50 their Big V Teams. Of these, many are ‘supported’ players from the local community with refugee, migrant and / or public housing backgrounds.

Melbourne Frontrunners

Melbourne Frontrunners is a Melbourne based LGBTQIA+ all abilities running and walking group, with four organised training runs per week. The club welcomes people from all cultures, background, gender, religion, sexuality and politics. Key objectives of the program are to promote healthy lifestyle choices, celebrate diversity, promote community participation, and provide a safe and supportive environment for members to improve their health and meet new friends.

South Gippsland Bass Swimming Club

The South Gippsland Bass Swimming Club (SGB) attended Gippsland Swimming Child Safe training and has child safe related information on their noticeboards and promotes child safe messages via various social media channels. The SGB conducted compulsory child safe training with coaching staff and committee members as separate workshops. SGB funded a year-long program where the head coach supported the Bass Coast Specialist School to run a swimming program at the YMCA. The club received a grant from Bass Coast Shire to purchase fins to be used to support its All Ability Swim Program. SGB now share this equipment with the YMCA. SGB also won Victorian Club of the Year in June and Swimming Australia Club of the Year in November with their inclusive club culture and focus on the development of its members as the key reason for their award recognition.

Werribee Bowls Club

The Werribee Bowls Club (WBC) participated in the Wyndham Weerama Festival, Children's Picnic at Werribee Park and Multicultural Festival - all outdoor community festivals. WBC successfully established a close working relationship with the City of Wyndham over the past 18 months to support the growth of active participation at the club. The club have been able access increased funding, staff support and interactions with Team Leaders from the Council's Community Hubs Project and their respective programs. By visiting the hubs, WBC have been able to introduce bowls to new and various migrant communities, many of whom had never experienced the game.


My Sport Live

This award recognises an outstanding community sporting event that has been delivered successfully and benefited the local community in 2018.


Australian Lacrosse Association 15 and Under National Tournament

Altona Lacrosse Club hosted the Australian Lacrosse Association Under 15 National Tournament in October 2018. This was the biggest event in its history, attracting 19 teams from Australia and New Zealand. For the volunteers, the amount of work done was enormous with the event running for seven days. The event focuses on upskilling junior players and allowing them to test themselves in a large event environment. As it is a tournament and not a state team championship, more teams can enter and therefore more juniors can participate. It doesn't just impact growth in Lacrosse but also in member retention and promotion for the club.

Tennis Victoria Country Week

Previously managed by the Victorian Country Tennis Association, Tennis Victoria took the reigns of Country Week in 2018. Over 1200 players and 200 teams participated. The impact to the community saw a greater awareness of Tennis not just at the tennis club, but neighboring clubs and schools. The number of children registered at the club grew by 45%. There were market days with local retailers bringing produce to sell and the Skin and Cancer Foundation were involved for skin and cancer messaging. Swan Hill Council were also a key partner, supporting the event and assisting to ensure there was enough accommodation for participants. Additionally, many local accommodation and restaurants partnered with the event. The economic impact to the town is upwards of 1.5 million for the week.

Melbourne International 3 Day Event (MI3DE)

Melbourne International 3 Day Event (MI3DE) is an annual Victorian-run equestrian event which was first held in 1957 and has since developed into the ultimate annual proving ground for some of Australia’s best riders and horses. The event attracts 250+ competitors from around the country and internationally. It is run by a volunteer event committee with the support of 300+ additional volunteers, officials and event staff. In 2018 the event attracted over 8,000 community and interstate spectators and it has become the pinnacle event for the Wyndham Shire enabling the showcasing of the Werribee parklands through the running of the cross country phase of the event.

The Victorian Senior Aboriginal Football and Netball Carnival (The Carnival)

The Victorian Senior Aboriginal Football and Netball Carnival (The Carnival) is a statewide celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and pride. The Carnival was led by the Victorian Aboriginal Community Services Association (VACSAL) and Ballarat and District Aboriginal Cooperative (BADAC). The event was supported by an outstanding organising committee which included representatives from health, community and sporting organisations. The Carnival demonstrated true partnership, showcased by a strong collaborative approach to event planning and coordination.


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 who are chosen based on their significant role in the Victorian sport and active recreation sector.

Click here to view previous winners of the Outstanding Contribution to Victorian Sport Award

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