Whitehorse City Council

Whitehorse Sports Awards


The Whitehorse Sports Awards acknowledge the hard work and dedication of local athletes, sporting clubs and their volunteers.

The awards recognise the important contribution that local sporting clubs make to the community and the outstanding achievements of their members. They also acknowledge excellence in club management and the behind-the-scene efforts of club volunteers.

Any individual who lives, attends school or is a member of a sporting club in Whitehorse is eligible to nominate for the awards each year. Unless otherwise stated, nominations should be based on achievements from the past year.

Congratulations to the winners of the Whitehorse sports awards 2016

Sportsperson of the Year

Brooke Stratton, Nunawading Athletics Club

Brooke Stratton has jumped into her chosen sport, boots and all.

The talented long jump star headed to Rio to compete at this year’s Olympic Games. Other events that saw Brooke compete this year included the Seiko Golden Grand Prix in Japan, the Australian Open Athletics Championships and the World Indoor Championships in Portland, USA.

Unlike many elite athletes, who only compete in their chosen event and only compete when the conditions are suitable, Brooke competes for the Nunawading Athletics Club each week of the track and field season gaining many valuable points for the Division 1 team.

Brooke was the winner of the club’s Perpetual Trophy for 2015-2016 demonstrating one of the trophy’s key criteria of “sportsmanship”. 

She was diagnosed in 2013 with coeliac disease and, despite this, qualified for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014. At that time she was experiencing lower back pain and this was subsequently diagnosed as a stress fracture of a vertebra and forced her withdrawal from the team.  Her persistence and dedication to overcome these setbacks has made her a role model for many injured athletes.

Junior Sportsperson of the Year

Julia Hawkins, Nunawading Swimming Club

Swimmer Julia Hawkins, 16, in the has experienced selection for the Australian Junior Pan Pacific team in Hawaii and competition at the Australian Olympic trials.

Julia also placed first in the under 18, 4 x 100 medley and freestyle relays in this year’s  Australian Age Championships and in the 50m and 100m freestyle in her age group at last year’s Victorian Age Championships.

Julia has been part of the Nunawading Swimming Club since 2009 where she has been a role model for other swimmers in her squad. She has taken part in the club’s leadership program over the past three years leading into State and National Championships where the athletes have set the goals and culture for the club.

At competition Julia has always been a positive influence on her peers, supporting them no matter the result and celebrating her own and others’ victories with the same enthusiasm.  


Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability

Grace Dean, Whitehorse Resident who attends Heatherwood School

Grace has represented Heatherwood School at numerous interschool sports over the past year and achieved outstanding results, competing in hockey, netball, Australian Rules Football, cricket, swimming and athletics.

Grace has also demonstrated admirable leadership qualities and was an integral member of the championship Heatherwood School team at the State Basketball Carnival. She represented Heatherwood against mainstream students in the Australian Schools Bench Press Championships. and is eagerly waiting for results to be announced.

Grace has demonstrated outstanding sportsmanship over many years at Heatherwood, leads by example and helps younger students participate in a friendly manner with respect and encouragement.

As well as representing Heatherwood in a wide range of sport, Grace also plays netball and basketball in afterhours in All Abilities competitions. 

Volunteer of the Year

Christine Hanlen, Nunawading Swimming Club

As the Competitions Officer at Nunawading Swimming Club, Christine coordinates all the Nunawading-run meets each year. In the last 12 meets she has run the Nunawading Long Course, Short Course, JX and Club Championships. Each meet involves hours of time to set up the meet, process all entries, complete programs and then running the meet on the day.

Christine has always gone above and beyond to ensure as many athletes as possible have access to competition opportunities. She was an integral part of developing the Nuna JX meet, a new concept in Australian junior swimming giving swimmers opportunities to achieve results at a time of year that no other club offered it.

Christine is an important member of the committee that designed and implemented a new distinctive club uniform that is now recognisable to swimmers and families throughout Australia, and she was awarded the Clubs Official of the Year award this year.

Christine fosters a positive focus on personal development within the club and works on the Personal Best Challenge meets that involve swimmers aged from 7 years that are new to the sport of swimming. Within these meets Chris offers opportunities for these new swimmers to try racing in a non-competitive environment while building their confidence and growing their love of swimming.  


Sports Club of the Year

Nunawading Cricket Club

The club caters for males and females of all ages, with players from diverse cultural backgrounds including Sri Lanka, India, South Africa and Canada.

The Club’s focus is on skill development and enjoyment, particularly at the junior levels with dedicated coaches ensuring that every child had a chance to learn skills and participate.

Nunawading Cricket Club participated in the Box Hill Reporter District Cricket Association (BHRDCA) competition 2015-2016. Every senior team made the finals, with many teams finishing first, second or third. Nunawading is one of the select few clubs in the BHRDCA that has entered a girl’s team in the inaugural year of a girl’s competition.


Team of the Year

Nunawading Swimming Club Olympic Trials Team

The last year has been the most successful in the history of Nunawading Swimming Club.

The 2016 Australian Swimming Championships saw three swimmers – Belinda Hocking, Travis Mahoney and Joshua Beaver - and coach Rohan Taylor qualify for the Australian team competing at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

There was also place-getting success at the 2016 Australian Swimming Championships, the Australian Age Swimming Championships, the 2016 Victorian Age and Open Long Course Championships.2016, while Nunawading was the championship club at the 2015 Victorian Age and Open Long Course Championships.

The Nunawading team spirit and support was evident at the 2016 Australian Swimming Championships with the team staying and travelling as a unit and spending each heat and finals session at the pool supporting one another.

The positive atmosphere and excitement around and within the team was never more evident than when the television cameras captured the whole Nunawading team, athletes, coaches and support staff embracing and celebrating as our athletes qualified to swim in the 2016 Olympic Games.


Coach of the Year

Rohan Taylor, Nunwading Swimming Club

Rohan has been the High Performance Coach at the Club since 2008 and has led the Nunawading team to success at a State, National and International level over the last year.

The last 12 months under Rohan’s leadership have been one of the Club’s most successful.  At the 2016 Australian Swimming Championships held in April, Rohan’s team had a fantastic meet qualifying three swimmers, Belinda Hocking, Travis Mahoney and Joshua Beaver, for the Olympic team to compete in Rio and earning a place on the team himself.

During his time at Nunawading, Rohan has always shown professionalism and commitment to the Club and these are values that he has instilled in his athletes.

One of Rohan’s biggest strengths as coach is that he always strives to make his athletes the best people they can be, both in and out of the water. He encourages them to grow as athletes and as people and to build a life outside of swimming that works hand in hand with training and competing to gain the best results possible. 


School of the Year

Blackburn Primary School

Students at Blackburn Primary School will have a go at anything on offer in the sport arena, from cross country to swimming, from athletics to soccer.

The school has achieved across many sports over the last year at school, district, division, regional and state level. Its sporting program integral to the overall growth and development of the students’ emotional, physical and social well-being and school motto of ‘believe, persevere, succeed’.

The school provides a wide range of sporting activities and events to cater for all students in Foundation to Year 6 including Foundation-Year2 House Sports, whole school House Cross Country Championship and Years 3-6 House Athletics.

The annual school Dodgeball Tournament sees around 200 students participate in a 9 week tournament and finals series. Students are placed in mixed teams and Year 6 students are given roles as captains of their team.

In 2015 students participated in the Jump Rope for Heart campaign and the students and wider community raised more than $12,000 to support the Heart Foundation.

The school also has a supportive Volunteers Sports Committee, set up five years ago to engage our community to be a part of the decisions and events that go on in our sporting program.


Chairperson's Award

Mark Steiner, Nunawading Spectres Basketball and Surrey Park Panthers

Be it basketball or football, Mark Steiner plays in the true spirit of the game. He never questions officials and respects team mates and opposition players alike.

The 15-year-old can often be seen celebrating excellence for the sake of the sport regardless of whether that’s gained by team mates or opposition players.

Mark’s success in the past year includes member of the Under 16 Victorian Metro basketball national championship team with Mark the highest scorer. He has also been a member of Oakleigh Chargers AFL development squad, team member of U/15 Surrey Park Junior Football Club – Division 1 YJFL, runner-up best and fairest footballer under 14 at Surrey Park Junior Football Club.

Mark is a quiet achiever who always leads by example. He is an inspiring player and recognises the value of leadership both on and off the sports field. He is a natural leader of the younger players in his team and encourages everyone to work together to achieve success. He is also an exemplary clubman, always assisting with fundraising activities.


For more information, call 9262 6333 and ask to speak to the Administration Officer in the Arts and Recreation Development Department.