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Congratulations to the 2016 Sports Awards Winners

Congratulations to the 2016 Sports Awards Winners

28 July 2016

The Greater Dandenong Sports Awards recognise the exceptional contribution made by local clubs, teams and individuals, whose outstanding work has made a positive contribution to the Greater Dandenong sporting community in areas such as enhancing performance, improvement, engaging disaffected youth through sport and inclusive engagement of all groups within our community to increase participation.

Congratulations to our 2016 winners. Read about their achievements below.

Project of the Year
Joint winners - Noble Park Junior Football Club and Parkmore Junior Football 

In December of 2014, 3 girls approached the Noble Park Junior Football Club seeking assistance to participate in sport within the community. After much discussion it was identified that the option of offering netball should be investigated so that they themselves and other children could participate in the game of netball while also having the sense of being a part of a club.

An investigation took place and over the following months the foundations where laid for the beginning of the Noble Park Netball club with many hours of work put in to ensure that the foundation club would have the ability to thrive. In 2015, the club entered four teams into competition and following continued growth and support by the end of 2015 team placements for season 2016 had swelled to nine sides in total including seven junior and two senior adult sides.

The objective of the project was to give members of the Noble Park community another avenue to participate in sport that was inclusive and welcoming while also giving them a club within their community they could identify with and be proud of.

Following an approach from three girls who were coming to the end of the eligible age group for mixed competition a need was identified for the establishment of a Youth Girls team for the Parkmore Junior Football. An incredible amount of work was required to implement the project from the ground up including recruiting a whole new team of players who were sought as like minded girls in the local community coming from different cultures, beliefs, backgrounds and abilities to participate and enjoy our great national game.

Becoming the first Youth Girls side in the municipality ensured that three members of our immediate/local community were able to continue playing football. A positive bi-product of the project has been the family members of the players also joining the club helping to enhance the already strong family environment and providing an alternative sporting option to those who were not previously aware or involved in the game of Australian Rules Football.

All Abilities Award
Winner: Bob Tyler – Dandenong Basketball Association

Bob Tyler started working with All Abilities at Emerson School 25 years ago. Bob started as a Volunteer Coach, a position he still holds to this day. Bob coaches and plays in the Emerson School team that plays in the mainstream Domestic DBA Basketball Competition, having done so for the past 25 years.

Bob implemented an All Abilities competition that is conducted at the Dandenong Basketball Association. What began with with two teams has grown to over nine in eighteen months with Bob supporting teams as coach and referring matches.
Bob has been a role model, a mentor and a positive influence on the people with a disability that he works with. Bob continues demonstrating an outstanding commitment and dedication to basketballers with a disability, many of whom would be stuck in care and would not feel the enjoyment and exhilaration that playing sport and being involved in a team can provide.

Not many people can say that they have dedicated over 25 years of their life to work with people that have a disability. In what can be an emotionally challenging environment Bob continues to be the stalwart providing love and care to all those around him.

Team of the Year
Winner: Dandenong Rangers South East Australian Basketball League Women's Team
Highly Commended: Parkmore Junior Football Club Under 17's

After missing the play offs in 2014 season the Dandenong Rangers Female SEABL team came back in 2015 with a determination and a desire to make sure they were again the SEABL Champions. The 2015 regular season finished win a 19 & 3 win/loss record which was capped off by winning the East Conference Championship, and then going on to win the SEABL National Championship. This National Championship victory was the Rangers 4th Championship in 5 seasons, an absolutely outstanding achievement from a team predominantly made up of local Dandenong players.

This success was built around an exceptional group of young women who think team first at all times. The camaraderie shown by this group is amazing and they stuck together through thick and thin. What makes this team unique is that it is predominantly made up of 'home grown' Dandenong talent.  Many of the players have come through Dandenong's amazing pathway program starting at Junior domestic level and making their way all the way through to the elite SEABL level. The team also does not play with any high-profile recruits or import players like many other SEABL teams do, they pride themselves on providing the local talent with the opportunity to play.

Over the past five years Parkmore Junior Football Club’s players currently in the Under 17 competition have won three premierships with the 2015 Division two triumph their latest. Throughout the 2015 season the side went undefeated until the last round, finished two games clear on top of the ladder and then went of to win the Division two premiership.

The key to this sustained success has been the ability to retain the majority of players with over half the side playing together over the previous six years but an even greater strength of the group was the ability to assimilate the four new players into the ‘family’. With the side made up of 18 different ethnic backgrounds the team is referred to as the ‘United Nations’ and as a family the players look out for each other on and off the field.

All the other teams at Parkmore Junior Football Club look up to the Under 17's. They are seen as leaders by the club community, by the other local clubs and the broader community with their ability to asimilate all cultures and create an inclusive environment.

Athletes of the Year
Junior Athlete of the Year: Charis Ulu Peniata – Parkmore Junior Football Club  
Winner Male Athlete of the Year: Adam McMaster – Dandenong Cricket Club
Winner Female Athlete of the Year: Sophie Molineux – Dandenong Women’s Cricket Club

Charis Ulu Peniata began playing Australian Rules Football (AFL) only 18 months ago with the Parkmore Junior Football Club Youth Girls team and in that time has already made it to the highest level as a junior. Charis Following a successful season for Parkmore was selected to play for the South East Junior representative squad, Sandringham Dragons at TAC level, Represented Victoria Metro in the Youth Girls national carnival and recently was selected into the Australian All Stars squad. Despite being in the game a short time Charis happily assists with any festivals or clinics that Parkmore are involved with. Charis is a great role model for all her friends, team mates and family.

Sophie Molineux had a break out 2015-16 cricket season performing at Premier, National and International levels. Sophie captained the Victorian U/18 side and through great leadership and sportsmanship on field led the team to it’s first National title in 15 years where she was also named Player of the Championships for the second year running . This lead to being selected by the Melbourne Renegades in the inaugural Women's Big Bash League. Toping this off was Sophies selection for the Australian Shooting Stars (U/21 side) tour to Sri Lanka playing matches against Sri Lanka and England. Despite her success Sophie continues to display humility and respect at all times and constantly shows leadership and maturity beyond her 18 years. Sophies amazing season has lead to her being selected in the 2016-17 Victorian Spirit squad. Through her on-field success Sophie has created awareness of the possibilities for women and girls playing sport and provides an inspirational role model for young girls to play cricket or indeed sport in general.

Adam McMaster had an amazing season in 2015/16 not only for his club side the Dandenong Cricket Club but he reached the pinnacle as a member of the Under 19 Victorian Country team in the National Championships. Through his performances for his club and at the National Championships Adam was rewarded with a nomination for the Commonwealth Bank Future Star  Award  for which he was successful in winning. Giving back to his club by providing knowledge of elite training practices with club members and setting the required standards in training and sacrifices required to play at the highest level make Adam an inspiration and role model to team mates and the cricket community. Adam has a bright future ahead and the Dandenong Cricket Club hopes there is another James Pattinson or Peter Siddle in their ranks.

Coach of the Year
Winner: Larissa Anderson – Dandenong Basketball Association
Highly Commended: Rodin Tuilotolava – South East Titans Rugby League Club

With over 20 years of experience as a player and coach Larissa Anderson has been a stalwart of basketball in the Dandenong Basketball and Women’s National Basketball Association. In 2015 Larissa coached the Dandenong Rangers Female SEABL team to a 19 & 3 win/loss record, an East Conference Championship, followed by the SEABL National Championship the fourth time in five years the team has won the championship. This success lead to Larissa’s announcement as Head Coach of the Jayco Dandenong Rangers WNBL Team for the 2015/16 season. In her first season Larissa took the team to a semi-finals finishing the season with a 15 & 9 win/loss record, an outstanding achievement for a first year coach.

Creating a culture of excellence with the WNBL team and ensuring that message is passed down through all teams that represent the Rangers name. Larissa is dedicated to the pathways that the Dandenong Basketball Association develops with Junior Rangers Coaches and Players providing many up and coming athletes with the belief that if they dare to dream they could one day represent the Jayco Dandenong Rangers.

It is easy to see the connection Rodin Tuilotolava has with his players and the display of commitment and passion. Rodin works tirelessly for the boys he coaches and offers them more than a coach and winning team but also a good confidante and support on and off the field. Never wanting players to miss out and with a no pay no play policy in place it wasn't uncommon for Rodin to pay fee's for players who would not be in a position to pay. He and his wife would often have a house full of young men on a Friday night because Rodin wanted to ensure they were safe and preparing for their game as opposed to being out on the street getting into trouble.

In 2015, Rodin lead his Under 18 team to Premiership success with six of his players representing Victoria and two also representing Australia. Two representatives were also lucky enough to be drafted to NRL clubs. Providing a positive influence on the community Rodin is a regular at Council events such as Sports Fest to encourage participation in sport in the City of Greater Dandenong. While his coaching is highly respected and valued at the South East Titans it is the humbleness and ability to make people laugh that people refer to when asked about Rodin.

Sports Club of the Year
Winner: Dandenong Basketball Association
Highly Commended: Harrisfield Hurricanes Soccer Club and South East Titans Rugby League Club

The Dandenong Basketball Association continues to be one of the leading clubs in the country and was recently awarded Junior Program of the Year at the Basketball Victoria annual awards night. In 2015 13 Rangers were selected in the Vic Metro and Vic Country State Teams and 3 current and past Ranger juniors were selected to play for Australia at both junior and senior level. Following the fabulous pathway program many of our Junior Rangers have moved on to compete in the VYC, SEABL and WNBL.

The club also hosted the Australia day tournament which is the Largest junior tournament in the world for junior players. The Dandenong site of the 2015 tournament offered 64 competitions which saw 587 teams compete over 3 days, many of the teams travelling from interstate and country areas. Everyday Dandenong Basketball strive to introduce the great game of basketball to as many members of the community as possible and will continue with this into the future.

Harrisfield Hurricanes Soccer Club's message is that 'anyone can have a go irrespective of gender, cultural or religious background, socio economic status, sporting ability or age.This message has definitely resonated with the local community, that in the last 18 months the club has had a 300% increase in participation helping the club to grow to 13 teams with over 200 registered players and over 500 club supporters. Achieving 3 premierships, 3 runner ups and 2 state titles over the last 12 months making it one of the most successful clubs in the Football Federation Victoria competition, an amazing achievement. 

Not only is it providing the local community with an opportunity to participate in soccer, but to be more active in a healthier lifestyle, develop a sense of community and forge strong relationships with fellow team mates and create a stronger sense of self. The club demographic is so multicultural and a strong representation of the mosaic of what a beautiful community and country we live in - where your race, colour, ability, socio-economic status or gender are not discriminated on. It is the love of the game and your desire to try your best for your team and your club.

The South East Titans are a local rugby league club who in the 2015 season had over 300 players ranging from ages of 5 years of age to masters. The clubs main objective is to provide a family focused club that welcomes all to share in club pride and keep our children safe and out of harm focusing on healthy lifestyles and healthy home environments.

The 2015 season saw many successes for the club with 30 players selected for Victorian representative teams and three players recruited to National Rugby League teams. From a team perspective the club celebrated three premierships and three runner up titles. The greatest achievement coming from the women’s tackle side, which was the first ever side fielded by the club made up of many mothers and sisters of current players in the club winning the premiership in their inaugural season. Another success was the inception of the clubs inaugural first grade senior team even though they were defeated in the preliminary final in their first season.

South East Titans are very proud to report to be the first in all of Victoria to remove the sale of Alcohol from all club home venues and takes very seriously it’s role in ensuring participants are provided with a safe and secure environment to play sport and that support and guidance is provided to assist all club member families who may have a need. While Rugby League is the clubs focus, without care for players and their families it cant expect them to strive for the best they can be.

Volunteer of the Year
Joint Winners: Andy Tapatuetoa – South East Titans Rugby League Club
and Luke Sampson - Rosswood Tennis Club
Highly Commended: Cassandra Bassett – Mulgrave Rebels Baseball Club

Andy Tapatuetoa has been the South East Titans Rugby League Club president for 5 years. The year Andy become president, the club was at risk of collapse and possibly about to close. Andy made it his personal challenge to rebuild a family focused club and he has encouraged a team of volunteers to rebuild the club resulting in increased participation, increased achievement and outcomes for the club and with support has made massive contributions to our club community.
While having the official role of President, Andy also acts as coach, assistant coach and a water carrier for many of the club teams. He is clear he does not expect anyone else to do something he wouldn't do and shows our members through his positive and loving attitude the behaviours he wants reflected in the club.

As the backbone of the club with most members having no idea how much time and sacrifice it takes to run a club, it is only through Andy’s and his family taking the time does the work required get undertaken. Andy asks for no acknowledgement or anything in return, simply enjoys the satisfaction of seeing all Titans players play a game they all love. You could argue there has never been anyone more committed and passionate about a club in Community sport and hence he deserves to be recognised.

Luke Sampson
 is the treasurer of the Rosswood Tennis club, a position he has held since 2002. In the last 12 months Luke while continuing as Treasurer has taken on the Secretary role as well. Keeping the accounts up to date, shooting off emails for the club, collecting mail, organising quotes, getting payments sorted and all the rest that goes into being a great treasurer and a secretary. He is the heart of the club and it's amazing to have someone so dedicated for so many years. 

Luke works tirelessly and always with a smile on his face which often attracts and brings on positive energy, new members and a lot of fun. Luke is a giving person and has never asked for anything back. He is more than happy to give his time while juggling full time work, partner, family and his hobbies. The club are so proud of all his work over the past many years and wanted to say a big thanks as he truly deserves it

Cassandra Bassett works across all the major aspects of the Mulgrave Rebels Baseball club including being scoring games, working in the canteen, recruiting junior members, assisting with technical coaching and upkeep of the playing field. The pinnacle of her effort for the 2015/16 season was her scoring effort scoring almost all Junior , Senior and masters games for the year consisting of approximately 80 games lasting two hours each. 

On top of this, Cassandra has been an active recruiter for the club, introducing a number of new players to the game, including those from a different cultural background. Cassandra is very positive and always doing the extra mile and has shown extraordinary commitment and passion for the Mulgrave Rebels Baseball club, above and beyond any volunteer the club have previously seen.

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