Excellence, old and new, celebrated at State Dinner

NSW Swifts midcouter Maddy Proud held off stern competition to be named the Marilyn Melhuish OAM Suncorp Super Netball Player of the Year at Netball NSW’s 2017 State Dinner at the Bankstown Sports Club on Saturday 4 November.

Proud – who was named the best player from the combined rosters of Netball NSW’s two professional franchises; the NSW Swifts and GIANTS Netball – was presented with her award on a night of celebration for the organisation as it reflected on a stellar 2017.

The Marilyn Melhuish OAM Award was just one of eight awards which celebrated the best players, coaches, officials and volunteers in the netball community throughout New South Wales over the past 12 months.

Speaking tonight, the President of Netball NSW – Wendy Archer AM – said 2017 had been another fantastic year for the sport in the State and looked forward to what the future held.

“Netball has been front and centre of not just the New South Wales sporting landscape in 2017, but of Australia’s too,” she said.

“This is something that makes me very proud and is a sentiment which should be shared by everyone in the NSW netball community.

“There have been many highlights over the past 12 months; successful State and State Age Championships, Regional Leagues and Schools Programs, our three-in-a-row National Champions in the NSW Marie Little OAM Shield team, the dawn of the Suncorp Super Netball, the GIANTS reaching the Grand Final in their inaugural year, a new generation of young Swifts showcasing their potential to the country.

“These are just a few of the achievements of the netball community in NSW over the last 12 months.

“Tonight was a fitting time for us to gather and acknowledge all of our hard-working athletes, coaches, Associations, officials,
administrators, partners, volunteers and staff, as without them none of this is possible.

“I would like to congratulate all of tonight’s winners. Their awards were hard earned and reward commitment, passion, excellence and teamwork – the core values which drive Netball NSW.”

As well as the individual awards, nine historical artefacts of memorabilia were inducted into the Netball NSW Hall of Fame under the Heritage category; the Golden Boots won by NSW in the 1980s and 1990s.

Introduced in 2016, the Hall of Fame Heritage category pays tribute to artefacts and events which have significant historical value to the organisation.

Sponsored by footwear company Dunlop, The Golden Boot was the prize awarded to the victorious State at the National Open Championships throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

It was also a tournament that NSW dominated when the State Opens team won an amazing nine national titles under the stewardship of Head Coach Margaret Corbett OAM and Team Manager Marilyn Melhuish OAM.

“Long before Suncorp Super Netball, the Trans-Tasman Netball League and Commonwealth Bank Trophy there was The Golden Boot,” Archer added.

“Not only did the NSW dominate the Golden Boot, players such as Lisa Beehag, Susan Kenny OAM, Nicole Cusack, Carissa Tombs OAM, Keeley Devery OAM, Marcia Ella-Duncan OAM, Sharon Finnan, Wendy Etherington, Natallie Avellino, Cheryl McCormack, Marianne Murphy, Annie Sargeant OAM, Karan Bulloch and Catriona Wagg OAM all became staples of the Australian Diamonds team.

“No matter the weather, come rain, hair or shine – and in an era when Diamonds would star for Australia against the Kiwis one week then play on their local Clubs’ outdoor courts the next, netball in NSW excelled backed then as it does today.

“It was one of our golden periods and we are delighted to induct these nine Golden Boots into the Netball NSW Hall Of Fame.”

The NSW netball community also celebrated the following 2017 Award Recipients:

Anne Clark BEM Service Awards: Carole Field (Hastings Valley Netball Association), Clara Hicks (Randwick Netball Association), Tania Maree Kane (Lower Clarence Netball Association), Christine King (Illawarra District Netball Association), Catherine Nealon (Inner West Netball Association)

Marilyn Melhuish OAM Suncorp Super Netball Player of the Year: Maddy Proud (NSW Swifts)

Marj Groves AM Scholarship: Tayla Fraser (St George District Netball Association)

Nance Kenny OAM Samsung Premier League Player of the Year: Madeline Hay (Sutherland Stingrays) & Madeleine Taylor (Central Coast Heart)

Lynn Quinn OAM Bench Official Award: Alan Melville (Ku-ring-gai Netball Association)

Neita Matthews OAM Umpires Award: Jordan Kiss (Gosford Netball Association)

Margaret Corbett OAM Coaches Award: Jenny O’Keeffe (Baulkham Hills Shire Netball Association)

Judy Dunbar Media Awards: Western Weekender (Community Media Excellence), Adrian Arciuli, SBS (Best Feature) and Mark Kolbe, Getty Images (Best Photograph)