2023 Victorian Sport Award Winners

Congratulations to the below individuals, organisations, clubs and Local Government Authorities, winners of the 2023 Victorian Sport Awards!


This award recognises Victorian coaches who have achieved outstanding coaching performance/s with Victorian athlete/s or teams during the 2023 year.

Peter McNeil - Skiing

Coaching the Olympic Winter Institute of Australia mogul skiing program, Peter McNeil mentored Matt Graham and Jakara Anthony to a combined 13 World Cup medals in 2023 that included a double-gold medal performance at the FIS World Cup. Individually, Matt also won two medals to become just the second Australian to achieve the feat while Jakara finished the 2023 season ranked number one in the world to earn her third Crystal Globe trophy. Peter spends countless hours working on the mogul skiing pathway, upskilling the next wave of coaching talent as well as running training camps and events.


This award is open to Victorian community coaches who have made a significant contribution to their club and/or association/district during the 2023 calendar year, with a particular focus on improving community sport through encouraging participation, fairness, integrity and making sport more welcoming and inclusive.

Tina Keown - Tennis

Managing director of the Victorian Tennis Academy (VTA), Tina Keown coaches and oversees operations across four tennis clubs and centres that provide programs for all ages, standards, abilities and backgrounds. Following a collaboration between the Victoria College for the Deaf and VTA, Tina and her team learnt Auslan so coaching sessions could be offered without an interpreter and she helped set up Nexus Young Veterans for returned servicepeople to focus on their health and re-enter their local community. A ‘Sponsor a Child’ program provided a free term of lessons for lucky participants and Tina is also a Tennis Australia Women and Girls program ambassador, implementing recruitment drives and fostering connections with stakeholders.


This award recognises Victorian officials who have demonstrated excellence in their role as an official of their chosen sport during the 2023 year.

Clare Taylor - Short Track Speed Skating

Facilitating the Regional Officials Seminar in conjunction with the National Championships each year, Clare Taylor trains officials from around Oceania and Asia in a combination of theory and practice with additional skill development opportunities also offered. As an International Skating Union Official, Clare assists with training via online seminars that are often run on European time and she also travels to international seminars, ensuring she is up to date on the latest rules and interpretations which she can then relay to fellow Victorian and Australian officials.


This award recognises Victorian sporting officials (umpires/referees/judges) who have made a significant contribution to their club, and/or association/district in 202 with a particular focus on improving community sport through fairness, integrity and making sport more welcoming and inclusive.

Russell Turner - Cricket

Umpiring at a number of cricket associations across several levels, Russell Turner also serves as Victorian Womens Cricket Association (VWCA) Historian and has authored ‘VWCA Umpires Association 80-year History’. Russell has taken on roles as a Premier Cricket on-field umpire mentor where he focuses on developing young talent, passing on his years of expertise and fostering a positive environment for cricket officiating. His mentorship has not only benefitted individual umpires but contributed to the overall improvement of officiating standards in cricket throughout the state.


This award recognises a Victorian junior team who has achieved outstanding results with respect to their performances at a national, international level during the 2023 year.

Katie Jackson & Lucy Richardson - Rowing

Rowing together for Ballarat Clarendon College, Katie and Lucy competed in coxed fours, with much success, from Year 9. During Year 12, in addition to rowing for their school, they combined in a new boat class, the coxless pair, for Wendouree Ballarat Rowing Club. They won the Victorian U21 and then the national U19 pair titles under the guidance of coach Jamie McDonald and were subsequently selected to represent Australia at the World Rowing U19 Championships in Paris. The girls had a fantastic regatta, held at the 2024 Olympic course, winning their heat and semi-final, before racing strongly in a fast-finishing final to win the bronze medal.


This award recognises a Victorian team who has achieved outstanding results in respect to their performances at a state, national and/or international level during the 2023 year.

Victorian State Women's Side - Lawn Bowls

The Bowls Victoria Open Women’s side headed to Perth in October to contest the Australian Championships, following a series loss to NSW in August and another loss to WA in September where they recorded just a draw and three losses. However, the Victorians reset and steeled themselves, completely turning around their fortunes at the national tournament to win six out of seven matches. That included victories over NSW and WA, sending them to the top of the table to claim the Marj Morris Trophy. This was their first national title since 2004 and it ended a two-decade NSW and QLD stronghold.


This award recognises an outstanding community sporting event that has been delivered successfully and benefitted the local community in 2023.

Annual Primary Schools Twilight Tournament - Sale United Football Club

Linking with Wellington Shire Primary schools, Sale United Football Club held games every Monday for seven weeks during Term 4, covering four age groups and catering for all skill levels. 700 kids took part in 2023, with 67 teams an increase of 15 from the previous year, and the interest has flowed into the club’s winter season with member registrations increasing by 30%. The large number of participants has garnered the interest of sponsorship from local businesses, a grant was sourced from Wellington Shire Council for new fencing to keep players safe from the road while referees are sourced by training youth members of the club.


This award recognises the outstanding contribution made in 2023 by a community sporting club and/or association who has demonstrated a strong commitment to supporting participation in sport and active recreation. The club will have demonstrated actions that break down barriers so that anyone, regardless of their age, cultural background, ability, gender identity, religious belief or sexual orientation, feels welcome in sport.

Burwood Cricket Club - Cricket

Unique for Victorian cricket, Burwood Cricket Club have both a female President and Secretary and the club’s female cohort grew by 35% in 2023, following the sponsorship of a Zimbabwean cricketer who played and coached. She inspired Burwood to create a second senior women’s team, comprised of middle-aged women who had never played cricket before. A 'Fix the Mix' information session tackled gender inequity within cricket on the back of a Change Our Game activation grant while external education was provided on mental health, wellbeing and 'Healthy Masculinity'. Burwood also introduced a 'Walk & Talk' session after training, giving teammates the chance to openly connect and check in with each other.


This award recognises Victorian sports administrators who have demonstrated an outstanding level of achievement during the 2023 calendar year at the SSA, RSA, LGA or NSO (Victorian based) level. The recipient’s contribution has provided benefit to, or had a positive impact upon, an individual sport or the industry as a whole, and their standards of excellence has distinguished them from peers.

Jennifer McIntyre - Calisthenics

Focusing on fostering child safety, inclusion and diversity within her sport, Jennifer McIntyre’s notable accomplishments in 2023 as CEO of Calisthenics Victoria included enabling males aged 14+ to remain in the sport, the establishment of working parties dedicated to advocating for First Nations and LGBTQI+ participants and implemented an Inclusion and Diversity Action Plan to promote a culture of equality throughout the calisthenics community. She also launched the CaliStars competition, a dedicated platform tailored for performers with physical and/or intellectual disabilities seeking to compete in solos.


This award recognises a Local Government Authority who has made a significant contribution to sport in 2023 through the development of a participation program or facility.

The Home of Table Tennis - Latrobe City Council

In a first for regional Victoria, Latrobe City Council signed a partnership agreement with Table Tennis Victoria and Destination Gippsland to host the Victorian Country Championships and Victorian Open Championships in Traralgon for the next eight years. The long-term investment was strengthened with the construction of a storage facility for 60 new tables and equipment that is also now accessible for local table tennis associations. In 2023, over 800 players and families helped generate more than $400,000 to the local economy and by embracing a non-traditional sport, the initiative has pioneered a model for inclusive and dynamic community engagement in the Latrobe Valley.


This award recognises the exceptional contribution made by a volunteer to the Victorian sport and active recreation community during the 2023 calendar year. The recipient's contribution will have provided benefit to, or had a positive impact upon, an individual sport or the industry and their contribution and commitment will have distinguished them from their peers.

Hayden Eastwood - Tennis

Hayden Eastwood’s goal as President of Castlemaine Lawn Tennis Club is to use his sport as a vehicle to connect all aspects of the community. Initiatives have included an LGBTIQ+ Pride event and Rainbow Sets which provides weekly tennis specifically for the LGBTIQ+ community. A Future Stars program allows children to play tennis the way they want, an Acknowledge of Country sign was added to the club, ‘Smashing the Patriarchy, one ball at a time’ focused on increasing female participation, ‘LoveAll’ strengthened ties with marginalised sections of the community and ‘Art of Winning’ consolidated ties with Castlemaine artistic communities as the Club truly proved they were open to all.


This award recognises the work of individuals, clubs, teams, groups or organisations (including SSAs) who have succeeded in enabling more people to participate in active recreation during the 2023 calendar year. This could be through a single initiative, event or longer-term initiative (i.e. program, project or campaign) which has provided significant benefit to Victorian sport during 2023.

Positive Starts - Wyndham Netball Association

Aiming to arrest declining participation rates post COVID-19, Rebecca Johnstone pitched an idea to Netball Victoria (NV) to partner the Department of Education and Training’s Positive Starts Netball Grants with Wyndham Netball Association (WNA). Offering participants complimentary ‘Train Like a Vixen’ skills sessions, Rebecca secured funding beyond the Net Set Go program for primary schools, aligning with WNA’s target audience by also obtaining funding for secondary school participation. She recruited ten coaches to support the program and ensured transportation expenses were covered to eliminate schools’ financial concerns. In all, 2,161 students participated across 12 schools and 20 year levels, leaving a lasting impact on the Wyndham community and revitalising the local netball scene.


This award recognise Victorian Masters athletes or teams who have achieved outstanding results in respect to their performances at a national and/or international level during the 2023 year.

Nadene Gole - Golf

Nadene Gole achieved sporting history in 2023 by becoming the only golfer ever, at any age level, to win both the Australian National Championship and all six State Championships in the same year. She scored nine victories from 15 starts at world ranking events, on her way to collecting National Championship titles in three countries (Australia, New Zealand and Scotland). Nadene became the world number one senior amateur golfer in February, maintaining that ranking every week throughout 2023. The 55-year-old then topped the Australian Senior Women’s Order of Merit and capped her history-making year by being named Australian Captain at the Senior Women’s Trans-Tasman Trophy.


This award recognises Victorian junior athletes who have achieved outstanding results in respect to performance/s at a national and/or international level during the 2023 year.

Cameron Gatt - BMX

Hailing from Geelong BMX Club, Cameron Gatt’s hard work and dedication to the sport paid dividends in 2023 as he began the year with a State Championship victory. He then travelled to Glasgow in August and finished first in the 15-16 Challenge Cruiser event to be crowned World Champion. Returning home, Cameron attended the Auscycling BMX National Championships in November and recorded three more wins from three events; Junior Superclass, 15-16 Boys cruiser and 15 Boys. He was the only Australian rider to finish first in all of his entered events and did so as the youngest in his age class.


This award recognises the coverage of elite and community sport to the wider public via various online, digital, broadcast and/or print media platforms in 2023. Through positive and inspiring media coverage, the sport has benefited from an improved public-facing image, increased participation, inclusivity and/or greater exposure.

Bowls Victoria - Lawn Bowls

Live-streaming 14 rounds plus a finals series, Bowls Victoria broadcast the complete Metropolitan Pennant Premier Division in 2023-24. Featuring up to three commentators per match with high-end graphics and scoring, clubs were provided at least one streamed game on a rotating basis throughout the season. Showcasing Victoria’s elite bowlers as well as grassroots players demonstrates the sport at its most diverse with all genders playing alongside each other at an elite level and all ages competing on a level playing field, helping to dissuade the notion of the sport being only for older people.


The Peter Norman Inclusion Award recognises an individual or organisation that has made a significant contribution to safe, fair and inclusive sport in the 2023 calendar year. The recipient would have demonstrated actions that break down barriers for people accessing sport so that anyone, regardless of their age, cultural background, ability, gender identity, religious belief or sexual orientation feels welcome in sport.

First Nations Calisthenics Club - Calisthenics

The brainchild of Rebecca Taylor, the First Nations Calisthenics Club is the first of its kind in Australia, focused on providing a safe place for Indigenous children and their families to explore the sport. Elders are invited and mob-feed nights held to promote healthy lifestyles. In the club’s first six months, more than 40 children have passed through the doors. Their performances have helped to improve understanding of traditional music, dance and art among the calisthenics community. Rebecca has been a constant advocate for First Nations inclusion in calisthenics and is constantly working at addressing barriers that can cause disengagement.

This award recognises a Victorian individual athlete who has achieved outstanding results in respect to performance/s at a national/international level in the male category during the 2023 year.

Scotty James - Snowboarding

Starting the year with a silver medal at the Laax Open in Switzerland, where poor visibility resulted in the final being cancelled, Scotty James then led a double podium for Australia at the X-Games in Aspen where he claimed his sixth victory at the prestigious event. He then headed to China in December for the World Cup and entered the finals in first place before recording a score of 91.25 in the first round of finals to take home gold. The victory was his eighth career World Cup win, placing him third all-time in terms of wins for male snowboard halfpipe riders as he continues to cement an incredible legacy in the sport.

This award recognises a Victorian individual athlete who has achieved outstanding results in respect to performance/s at a national/international level in the female category during the 2023 year.

Jakara Anthony - Mogul Skiing

Coming off a 2022 campaign that was, statistically, the most successful season by an Australian winter sport athlete, Jakara Anthony continued that sparkling form with nine World Cup medals in 2023. The highlight came in a double gold medal performance alongside teammate Matt Graham at the FIS World Cup in February, becoming the second Australian mogul pair to achieve victory on the same day at the same event. Recording the most successful month of December of all-time by an Australian winter sports athlete with six victories from seven events, Jakara finished the year ranked number one in the single mogul standings to earn her third Crystal Globe trophy.

The Victorian Outstanding Contribution to Sport Award is presented to an individual or organisation in recognition of outstanding achievement in, or contribution to, sport in Victoria. Based on their significant role in te Victorian sport and active recreation sector, the winner of the Outstanding Contribution to Sport Award will be recommended by a panel of expert industry representatives to the Vicsport Board who will determine the final recipient. It is the only award presented at the Victorian Sport Awards which is not decided upon by the judging panel.

Dr Peter Brukner OAM

A medical doctor and specialist sports and exercise medicine physician, Peter has treated thousands of elite and community level athletes through involvement with five Australian national teams (swimming, hockey, athletics, football and cricket), 50 years of service to the Melbourne University Football Club (MUFC) along with significant contributions to the Toorak East Malvern Hockey Club, Powerhouse St. Kilda Hockey Club and athletics at a state and national level.

Playing a key role in the development of sports medicine as a medical specialty in Australia, Peter founded the two largest clinics of their kind in this country with the Olympic Park Sports Medicine Centre in 1987 and Imaging @ Olympic Park in 2010 which focuses on musculoskeletal radiology.

His involvement at a national team level began in 1991 with Athletics Australia when he attended the World Track & Field Championships as Australian Team Doctor. He did the same in 1995 while also serving at the 1992 World Cup and 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. Peter then transitioned to Australian Athletics Team Manager for the 1998 Commonwealth Games, 1999 World Track & Field Championships and 2000 Olympics in Sydney.

His contributions to athletics continued as a national selector from 2006-08 and on the High Performance Committee where he currently resides. Alongside athletics, Peter was Australian Team Doctor at the World University Games in 1983, 1985 and 1987.

He was Team Doctor for the Australian Swim Team (Dolphins) between 1986-87 which included the World Swimming Championships, Australian men’s hockey team (Kookaburras) from 1994-95, Australian men’s football team (Socceroos) from 2007-10 including the 2010 FIFA World Cup and the Australian men’s cricket team between 2012-17 that included victory at the 2015 ICC World Cup.

A passion that has developed in the past few years following personal health issues, Peter has become an advocate for improved nutrition and founded SugarByHalf, a not-for-profit aiming to reduce sugar-related diseases and improve education around living healthier lives.

He published ‘A Fat Lot of Good’ in 2019 and ‘The Diabetes Plan’ in 2023, two of 16 books he has authored in addition to 117 research papers and what many consider the ‘bible’ of sports medicine, ‘Brukner & Khan’s Clinical Sports Medicine’. On the academic side, Peter was Associate Professor in Sports Medicine at University of Melbourne from 2001-06 and a Lecturer in Sports Law for 17 years. The Foundation Chair of the La Trobe University Sport & Exercise Medicine Research Centre, Peter now currently holds the role of Professor of Sports Medicine at La Trobe.

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