2016 State Dinner: Anne Clark BEM Service Award


Netball NSW held its annual State Dinner on Saturday 5 November at Bankstown Sports Club to celebrate the incredible team and individual achievements that have occurred throughout the 2016 seasoncheck out highlights from the evening thanks to NetballNSWTV.  

Throughout the following days we will bring you highlights of the evening; but today, we will begin proceedings by acknowledging our 2016 Anne Clark BEM Service Award recipients.

One of Netball NSW’s most prestigious awards, the Anne Clark BEM Service Award is presented in acknowledgement of volunteers who give endlessly to our sport and whom, through their generosity, have made netball the most successful women’s sport in Australia.

LESLIE SMITH – Charlestown Netball Association
Leslie ‘Les’ Smith has had a long association with Netball, which dates back more than 50 years. Les’ commitment began in 1961 when he helped establish Lakeside Netball Association (then known as Lakeside Women’s Basketball Association Inc.) with his mother.

Over the course of the next 25 years, Les worked tirelessly in a variety of roles – including marking the courts – before joining Newcastle Netball Association ahead of the 1985 season.

For the next two decades Les would fill many roles within the Association, including sitting on the Judiciary Committee, three years as Junior Vice-President before a further three years as Vice-President, as well as many years as Umpires’ Convenor at both Club and Association levels.

Les’ love of umpiring goes further than acting as convenor; in 1992 he was awarded his National A Badge – at the time becoming the second male to achieve this level in NSW – and has been umpiring throughout his career; from State Age Championships to Regional State League, right through to Club Grand Finals. Les has also passed on his years of experience and knowledge by coaching umpires over the years.

In 2001 Les received the Service Award for service tendered to Newcastle over many years, and became a Life Member of the Association three years later. Les also finds time to be active in the Central Coast community, with his efforts recognised with The Shortland Award for contribution to the community.


KEN EBERBACH – Ku-ring-gai Netball Association
Like many fathers, Ken’s association with Netball began when his daughters signed up to play with Wahroonga Netball Club. Volunteering to coach the young team in their first year, Ken has remained a loyal and dedicated servant of the Club to this day.

Ken’s love of the rules has seen him volunteer for the Ku-ring-gai Umpiring Committee since 1990, in which he is still involved today, and in 1993 he was one of three umpires awarded their National A Badge – one of the first Ku-ring-gai umpires to achieve this level.

Ken is also passionate about sharing his knowledge and experience, helping coach and mentor umpires across a variety of competitions, such as State Age and State Championships, State League and Night Interdistrict, as well as travelling to Orange Netball Association to assist in coaching umpires during their Grand Final days.

As well as an active umpire himself, Ken also helps present courses and workshops to budding umpires. In 2006 Ken was awarded Life Membership to both Ku-ring-gai and Wahroonga Netball Club, and was named Patron of the latter this year.


JUNE HAYNES – Northern Suburbs Netball Association
June was a founding member of the Willoughby United Netball Club, which first played in the Manly Warringah competition before Northern Suburbs Netball Association was formed in 1969. From 1971, June has held many Club positions including Coach, Selector, Club Registrar and General Member of the Executive.

June has also been highly active at Association level, including 17 years as either Senior or Junior Registrar, a decade as either Senior of Junior Vice-President, and has been Northern Suburbs’ NetSetGO Convenor since 2011.

June has also been a long-time coach, both at Club and Association level, and has always been willing to chip in for a variety of odd jobs – whether it is assisting team selection, uniform changes, to setting up trophies on Grand Final Day and everything in between.

In 1981 June was awarded with Life Membership of Northern Suburbs, and was awarded with the President’s Award for Exceptional Service in 1988. Ten years later June also received the Joan Burge Award for Outstanding Club Volunteer.


STEPHANIE BORTKEVITCH – Newcastle Netball Association
Stephanie has been involved with West Leagues Netball Club for over three decades, and has been the Club Secretary since 1992. Her service to the Club has been invaluable, and as such Stephanie was awarded with Life Membership in 2002, as well as being the recipient of the Club Person of the Year Award (2008) and Continued Service award (2013).

Having been an active member of the Newcastle Netball Association Executive for the last decade, Stephanie has held many positions including Registrar which she holds today; her valued efforts recognised with Life Membership of Association.

Those who know Stephanie describe her as a compassionate person, which is seen through the work she does with Sudanese refugees and people with a disability. Stephanie has been both the Coach and Manager of the West Leagues’ Players with a Disability Team for the last 14 years, and has also assisted many young girls form the local Sudanese community to play netball with Club – often transporting the girls herself, and organising uniforms and shoes to play in.

Whatever needs doing – whether it’s presentation days, coaching clinics, umpiring clinics, registrations, etc – Stephanie is there to put up her hand.


ANN O’MARA – Sutherland Shire Netball Association
Ann has been actively involved with netball at both Club and Association level for the better part of four decades. A long-time Coach, Ann has also held a number of Executive positions with St Joseph’s, MIC and Magpies Netball Clubs, as well as Sutherland Shire Netball Association.

Ann sat on a number of committees between 1988 and 1998, including the Sutherland Shire coaching committee, Night Interdistrict and Players with a Disability (PWD).

It is the latter that Ann is most passionate about; engaging athletes with a disability to enjoy playing netball. She has helped set up PWD teams at both MIC and Magpies Netball Clubs, and has been involved with PWD Netball at Sutherland Shire since 1986.

Ann has been the sole PWD coordinator at the Association for more than 20 years, and has helped not only coached players but upskill them by organising several players to attend a beginners umpiring court and participate in a number of clinics.

Her devotion to netball has seen Ann awarded with Life Membership of Sutherland Shire (2002), as well as a number of awards including the Coaching Service Award (2005) and acknowledgement in Parliament by State MP Eleni Petinos for her involvement in the PWD competition.

Click here to view full list of 2016 Award Winners.