Sport NSW Celebrates Volunteers to Sell Out Crowd at 2017 NSW Community Sports Awards

Sport NSW held the annual NSW Community Sports Awards at NSW Parliament House on Thursday 29 June, celebrating the extraordinary contributions volunteers make to community sport in NSW before an unprecedented crowd.

The event was hosted by the Minister for Sport, the Hon. Stuart Ayres MP, who congratulated the finalists and addressed the audience about the value of volunteers and community sport.  

 “Sport is a vital part of the social and economic fabric of NSW.  Sport brings us together and helps keep our communities fit, healthy and engaged,” Minister Ayres said.

“The local sporting club is so much more than a place to play sport.  It is often the hub of the community and a place where people can extend circles of friendship and build social connections.

“Community sport is almost entirely run by a volunteer workforce – which is unique to our sector. Sport would simply not exist without volunteers.”

Over 500,000 people in NSW volunteer their time every year to ensure that the state’s 2.5 million sporting participants can take the field each week. In NSW alone the value of that voluntary labour would be measured in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

This year 10 winners were named at the 2017 NSW Community Sports Awards across coaching, officiating, teams, events and clubs for their dedication to improving the lives of millions of people through sport. The night also paid homage to 16 Distinguished Long Service recipients for those that have given exceptional long service to their sport.

In paying tribute to the finalists and winners Sport NSW Chairperson Joseph La Posta emphasised the important role sport plays in the lives of so many.

“Community sport is part of our way of life.  None of this can happen without the hard work and dedication of volunteers, of which some of our finest are here tonight. Volunteering in sport builds great friendships and creates stronger and more inclusive communities. The fact that these benefits are so often driven and underpinned by volunteers can never be underestimated,” Mr La Posta said.

The Parliament House event attracted over 275 people with representatives from sports across the state in attendance to congratulate the finalists and award recipients.

* Please see appendix below for a table of all category winners (including their local suburb) as well as information on winners and distinguished long service recipients.



Sponsor Award Category Name Recipient Sport

Young Official of the Year

(Joint Winners)

Shauna Flynn

Chloe Johnston

Australian Football


Valour Apparel Community Official of the Year David Baggio Touch Football
iCare Young Coach of the Year Stephanie Ibrahim Dragon Boats
iCare Community Coach of the Year Peter Crombie Athletics

Community Sport Administrator of the Year

(Joint Winners)

Carole-Ann Hodges

Judy Tolhurst

Pony Club


Office of Sport Community Team of the Year Umina SLSC U19 Female Taplin Team Surf Life Saving
Family & Community Services Community Club of the Year North Rocks Carlingford Little Athletics Centre Little Athletics
Family & Community Services Community Event of the Year Hockey NSW Basil Sellers Regional Challenge Hockey

Information on Award Winners

Young Official of the Year (Joint Winner) – Shauna Flynn – Australian Football

Shauna is a Boundary Umpire for AFL South Coast Senior Division and is part of a regular exchange to officiate at AFL Sydney Premier Division. The 16-year-old boundary umpired at the elite level in an AFLW game in Sydney. Shauna is a member of the Boundary Umpire Leadership Team mentoring and supporting newcomers, playing an integral part in recruiting and retaining new female umpires.

Young Official of the Year (Joint Winner) – Chloe Johnston – Hockey

Chloe regularly umpires at the local association and mentors junior umpires in the Illawarra.  At only 18-years, she has represented NSW at U15 National Championships, Indoor Nationals for U18 and U15 including Gold Medal matches.  In 2016 she was awarded the Women’s Umpire of the Year for the Illawarra South Coast Hockey Association.

Community Official of the Year – David Baggio – Touch Football

David is a Level 6 Referee as well as Presenter / Facilitator and Referee Coach. He officiated at local, state, national and international levels, including the Junior State Cup, Vawdon Cup, Youth Trans Tasman, Trans Tasman and the Touch World Cup. David regularly mentors many referees and assists them through their levels as well as working with elite referees to improve their skills.

Young Coach of the Year – Stephanie Ibrahim – Dragon Boats   

At the 2017 Australian Dragon Boat Championships, Stephanie coached the NSW Junior representative crews to four Gold and one Silver medal. Under her leadership her club has gone from being a school based club to one with broader community involvement. Despite her youth, she has shown she can deal with adults (parents, officials and coaches) in a professional and even-handed manner.

Community Coach of the Year – Peter Crombie – Athletics  

As a Level 4 Coach in Sprints and Relays and a local squad of 18 (including 16 Masters athletes), Peter had great success at the 2016 World Indoor and NSW Masters Championships with numerous Australian and World Records.  He has led senior athletes to achieving Community Coaching level as well as mentoring his Assistant Coach into the role of Women’s Masters Relay Coach.

Community Sport Administrator (Joint Winner) – Carole-Ann Hodges – Pony Club

Carole-Ann is the State Championship Official Scorer for Pony Club NSW. In this role, Carole has initiated the implementation of cloud scoring which has been seen as both cost cutting and time effective. She is also working to develop a new management system to assist Pony Club NSW staff to handle the large amount of entries for the State Championships.

Community Sport Administrator (Joint Winner) – Judy Tolhurst – Gymnastics

Judy is the Regional Supervisor for Hunter Region Gymnastics. In her role Judy has employed an ‘Official Sticker Program’ which acknowledges siblings of gymnasts who volunteer their time to assist at competitions which has proven to be very successful. She keenly promotes programs such as Gym Ability, adapting rules and equipment to ensuring equality to all children and access to the sport.

Community Team of the Year – Umina SLSC Under 19 Female Taplin Team – Surf Life Saving

The Umina SLSC Under 19 Female Taplin Team achieved the National - State double with their combined Australian U19 Female Taplin Relay and NSW Open Female Taplin Relay Championship wins. A flow-on effect of these results has been an increased number of female competitors at the club as well as the size of male competitors in younger groups growing.  

Community Club of the Year - North Rocks Carlingford Little Athletics Centre

North Rocks Carlingford Little Athletics Centre encourages participation for all, believing in the sport’s ability to address economic, gender, cultural and disability barriers.  The Club trialled an initiative to better care for children with disabilities as part of the usual weekly program with great success and have been recognised for their work on social media to engage its members and the community.

Community Event of the Year - Hockey NSW Basil Sellers Regional Challenge – Hockey

The marquee event of Hockey NSW, the Basil Sellers Regional Challenge took place in Bathurst and was attended by 2,000 people. 800 athletes (aged 12-15 years), played in the round robin tournament, across 80 teams. Hockeyroos and Rio Olympians Emily Smith and Grace Stewart were in attendance, offering participants the opportunity to mingle with their heroes.


Information on Distinguished Long Service Recipients

Peter Crombie – Athletics

Peter has been actively involved in athletics for over 57 years – being one of the longest serving athletes in NSW. He first became a member of Bankstown Athletics Club in 1960 and has served as a coach and administrator during that time.  Peter participated as an athlete for only one year before going into management of athletes. He has since undertaken a wide range of administration roles varying from local to international levels whilst still excelling in Masters competitions over 27 years.

Gordon Browne – Cricket

Gordon has been affiliated with cricket for 60 years. Not wholly associated with one particular club or association but a friend to the entire community, he has been Chairman of the Murrumbidgee Cricket Council for the past 25 years as well as being a Life Member at five various organisations. During the 1970’s and 80’s Gordon constructed new training nets and cricket grounds. Whilst being Chairman, Gordon is the curator at three local grounds and has umpired over 400 games.

Cathy Aird – Netball

Cathy has been actively involved with netball for over 40 years, holding many positions throughout the Hills district.  She is a Founding Member of the St. Bernardette’s Netball Club in Castle Hill and now mentors committee members, coaches and umpires of the club. In 2006, she was recognised with the Netball NSW Anne Clark Service Award for her contribution to netball.  Cathy was also the founder of the Hills Relay for Life program, which has become an annual community event over the last 16 years.

John Ioannou – Football

For 34 years, John has dedicated his time to serving the St. Clair Soccer Club.  For many years coaching teams of all levels from Juniors to Premiers, currently coaching the Intermediate Men’s team. John has held a number of positions on the committee and has recently undertaken the role of Director of Coaching whilst being a club official and mentor to many within the club.

David (Charlie) Whetu – Softball

David has demonstrated his softball coaching expertise at state, national and international levels including coach of the Australian Softball Team at the 1996 Olympic Games. His focus however is on the grassroots level and watching children develop.  David spends many hours each week at the grounds at Sutherland teaching players and coaches on the finer art of softball. David has mentored coaches who themselves have gone on to coach softball for NSW and Australia.

Helen Taylor – Hockey

Helen has dedicated 60 years to hockey in which she has played and officiated.  She had an integral role in establishing the North Shore Women’s Hockey competition in the 1960’s.  In 1972, Helen and her family moved to Tamworth where she continued to coach and held positions of Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer, being awarded Life Membership in 1993. She was drawn into the realm of administrating the NSW Women’s Masters, contributing to the Selection Panel and coaching in the National Championships for 16 years.

Bruce Tutty – Pistol Shooting

Bruce has been a member of the Wagga Wagga City Pistol Club for 51 years, holding several positions including, Club Secretary, Club Captain, and Club Vice-President.  He has also been a member of the NSW Amateur Pistol Association Executive for 30 years, holding positions of committee member and Vice President as well as being a member of the NSW State Team for 33 years. Over this time, Bruce has been the Organising Secretary for a significant number of local, state and national pistol shooting titles.

Maria McConville – Little Athletics

Maria has held various positions at Little Athletics centre, zone, region and state levels for over 45 years. First becoming involved with Holyoyd Little Athletics in 1972, she has held the positions of Secretary, Chairperson, Program Manager and Publicity Officer.  Despite now living on the Central Coast she continues to serve at the club, currently as Assistant Secretary and still coaching after 37 seasons. Maria received Little Athletics NSW Life Membership in 1996 and was inducted onto the Little Athletics Australia Roll of Excellence in 2015.

Dennis Garlick – Rugby Union

Dennis has dedicated a significant number of years serving the Parramatta Rugby Club. The popular figure of the Two Blues club has been the first-grade trainer since 1984 after playing 300 grade games. He attends every training session where he retrieves his trolley full of water bottles and distributes them through the session to players so that the team can keep focussed on their next task at hand.

Walter Shelley – Cycling

For over 50 years, Walter has actively served in the sport of cycling. He has displayed his passion by volunteering in various roles including Road Coordinator, Track Coordinator, Racing Committee member, Media Officer and Club Registrar across Sydney and the Central Coast.  In 2002 Walter became Club Secretary which he held until 2016 and continued to ride competitively until his hip surgery in 2009. He has provided exceptional guidance to cycling on the Central Coast to help shape it as one of the largest clubs in NSW.

Kevin Frew – Blind Sports

Kevin has been involved in blind sports for 30 years, holding roles in Blind Cricket NSW and NSW Goalball as well as being active within the Athlete with Disability Futsal League.  He was the driving force behind the development of the Goalball for Schools Program which has since led to the emergence of multiple NSW and Australian representatives. While holding these roles Kevin has represented both NSW and Australia, being selected to represent Australia in goalball for the 1988 Seoul Paralympic Games where was the leading Goal Scorer.

Terry Fuller – Australian Football and Netball

Terry has been involved in Australian Football and netball for 30 years through the Collingullie Glenfield Park Football Netball Club in both senior and junior levels. He first started in the junior section in the 90’s, where he coached many teams and held executive positions. Terry is currently assisting the junior executive and volunteers his time with everything football and netball. While in this role he is also the club’s Treasurer, Game-Day Volunteer, Major Functions Coordinator and is on the club’s Board of Management.

Nick Naughton – Paddle

Nick’s affiliation with the sport of paddling has extended over 65 years, beginning in 1952 on Lake Munmorah. In 1976 he joined the Central Coast Canoe Club and since then has held roles such as Secretary, Treasurer and Handicapper. In 1987 he introduced regular Hadicapped Races for the Wyong Centenary, continuing to present day, forming the backbone of the club’s activities.  His contributions helped the club gain entry into the Hawkesbury Canoe Classic and in 1988 was awarded Life Membership from the club.

Tom Danilidis – Basketball

Tom has been involved with Maitland Basketball as a coach, player and administrator for 50 years.  He has coached at all levels of basketball including domestic competitions, junior representative, youth league, state league and championship league, as well as mentoring other coaches to reach the same level.  Tom’s name is now synonymous with the association with the main court now named in his honour and in recognition of his service.

Warren Smith OAM – Rugby League

Warren has had a long-standing affiliation with rugby league through the St. Marys Rugby League Football Club. He was instrumental in the opening of the Chifley College Dunheved Campus and Mt Druitt College TAFE “Life Skills Classroom”, which helps disadvantaged youth.  Warren also prompted the idea of sending their U13’s Squad to Fiji and New Zealand each year, as well as leading the introduction of a policy for subsidised football boots for St Mary’s Junior players included in their registration fee.

Phyllis Avery – Football

Phyllis has been associated with Hunter Valley Football (HVF) for over 40 years. In that time, she has held the positions of Secretary, Registrar and Fixtures Officer. Phyllis’ role as Secretary has helped bring the association to a more professional level and has also led to an increase in participation numbers across the region.  She has also been the administrator for HVF’s High Performance program, which grows and develops players and coaches, progressing them to higher levels of football.