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Monday, 23 November 2015
Page: 13410


Mrs McNAMARA (Dobell) (16:56): There is no better sign of a healthy and cohesive community than sporting fields filled with players, spectators and volunteers every weekend. Anybody visiting Dobell on any given weekend will see hundreds of players on any given sporting field in colourful uniforms, smiling and energetic. Whether they be playing football, cricket, hockey, netball, oztag, basketball, tennis, swimming or any other sport, they are ready to give their best and, most of all, having fun while they do so.

Sports participation promotes healthy self-esteem and self-confidence, sportsmanship, cooperation and team spirit, dedication and persistence. Playing sport rewards effort and it is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Sport is not only about the participants themselves, for without an army of volunteers, coordinators and parents on deck every weekend the sporting community would not be as strong as it is. Through the contribution of volunteers, sports clubs and organisations are able to facilitate multiple games with referees and umpires, man the canteen, clean facilities, set up and pack up fields and spectator areas, coach and provide first aid and administrative support. And it is not only on game day that volunteers give their time; many give their time during the week to coach teams, look after team administration, coordinate fundraising activities, wash uniforms and make sure that all the parents know where and when their children's game is being played on the coming weekend.

The value of our volunteers should never be taken for granted or underappreciated, for their contribution is invaluable to building a healthy, engaged and cohesive sports community. With two young rugby union players of my own I have a great understanding of the value of volunteers, having personally been involved as a volunteer with the Warnervale Wildcats family. I thank every volunteer and parent on the Central Coast who takes the time to contribute locally to their sporting club and facilitate their children's participation in sport.

Dobell has an outstanding sporting community across all ages, and I am proud of their outstanding successes. I have often shared with the House the fantastic sports achievements and athletes in Dobell, and today I would like to elaborate more on these accomplishments for the benefit of the House. Last Friday I had the honour of attending the 2015 Central Coast Sports Federation 2GO Sports Star of the Year Awards, an annual event that celebrates the outstanding achievements of the Central Coast sports community. The evening recognises and commemorates Central Coast sport coaches, volunteers, events, administrators and athletes in an event that has become an annual Central Coast sporting community highlight.

This year's sport on the Central Coast was not unlike previous years, with outstanding nominees in every awards category, which reflects an excellent standard of sport. I take this opportunity to congratulate the Central Coast Sports Federation for a great awards night and thank them for their ongoing support of Central Coast sport. The chairperson of the Central Coast Sports Federation, Kevin Dewar, said: 'This year's awards night was proof that the Central Coast sporting community is alive and well and is competitive on a world scale.' Winners across the 14 award categories received much appreciated prize money to support their ongoing training and development. The awards are supported by long-term sponsors and sporting advocates in our Central Coast business community.

The Central Coast Sevens were awarded the Central Coast Sports Event of the Year for the international blockbuster 2015 tournament, which was held over the last weekend of October. Hosted at Wyong Rugby League Club, the tournament featured some of the biggest names and strongest teams in the rugby sevens world. It was hailed as a major success by prominent international rugby sevens players and officials, with teams already expressing their desire to return in 2016. Some of the best teams in the world converged on the Central Coast for the tournament, including Fiji, New Zealand, Canada, Hong Kong and the USA. The Australian Thunderbolts mens team defeated the New Zealand team, Tabadamu, to secure the grand final victory, while the Australian Pearls womens team defeated defending champions the Canadian Maple Leafs to secure the grand final victory. Once again, well done and congratulations to the tournament director, Craig Morgan; the managing director of the Central Coast Academy of Sport, Ian Robilliard; and sponsors and players for their contribution to the overall success of a weekend of outstanding rugby on the Central Coast. The Central Coast Sevens should be immensely proud of their outstanding achievement in hosting the tournament and promoting our region so brilliantly. Their success has firmly established the Central Coast as an international destination for sporting tournaments and worthy of a global audience.

Also in rugby union it was great to see the Ourimbah Razorbacks awarded the local Team of the Year, a deserving award to the boys after their outstanding win over Woy Woy in this year's Central Coast first grade grand final. In another category, the Indigenous Sportsperson of the Year was awarded to Dobell resident Melanie Sutton. Melanie is an exceptional sportswoman in rugby league and oztag. This year alone she was one of three women who started the first women's rugby league team on the Central Coast, at Berkeley Vale. She captained the team to win the tier B grand final in the Sydney metro womens competition and was named the best forward at Berkeley Vale. In October she played in the Harmony Nines tournament in a team comprising teammates from Berkeley Vale and Indigenous rugby league players. The team was victorious over Victoria in the grand final to win the inaugural cup. Melanie was recently named in the New South Wales Indigenous rugby league team and will play Queensland on 28 November. Selections for the all-star squad will be made from this game for a February match, and I wish Melanie every success in this upcoming game.

Melanie also plays oztag and touch football in local teams throughout the year as well as league tag. In oztag she played in the state cup earlier this year and her team won the tournament. She subsequently represented New South Wales in the state of origin. Melanie has been named in the senior mixed Australian Indigenous team to play at the world cup in December on the Sunshine Coast. Her team defeated the Australian team in 2012, and they are keenly hoping to retain their title in 2015. I congratulate Melanie on being awarded the Indigenous Sportsperson of the Year. She certainly is deserving of this award.

Margaret Beardslee was presented with the award for outstanding service to Central Coast sport in athletics. Margaret is a seasoned athlete—two times world age champion in duathlon and world champion in the 2009 Masters Games 50 plus half marathon. Margaret coaches middle- and long-distance runners, duathletes and triathletes. She is secretary and coach at Mingara Athletics Club, an outstanding club that continues to excel in track and field. This year the club received three prestigious awards: they won the Athletics New South Wales Country Club of the Year award; they were winners of the Country Championships; and they were the New South Wales Good Sports Club of the Year.

Mingara Athletics Club directly attribute their ongoing success in track and field to the dedication of their team of volunteer committee members, officials, supporters and qualified coaches. This year members of Mingara Athletics Club have been competing at world, national and state events, including the Pan Pacific Masters Games on the Gold Coast, from which they brought home multiple medals. A select number of athletes from the club qualified at the 2015 national masters championships in Sydney for the world titles held in France. Rip Taylor was presented with the Coach of the Year award—a fitting award for someone who has a stellar coaching record in rugby league. Rip has coached for 36 years taking his teams through 30 final series and 23 grand finals and winning 12 premierships. Having only been around for three seasons, the Wyong Roos were at the bottom of the ladder at their debut, but after Rip took over just last year he guided the team all the way through to the Grand Final in the New South Wales Cup for 2015.

The big award, Sports Star of the Year, was awarded to Riley Fitzsimmons for his achievement in kayaking and surf lifesaving. It was an extremely competitive category this year, with many outstanding Central Coast international athletes nominated for this award. The nominees included Matt Dawson, a Killarney Vale local, who is studying to be a personal trainer and who recently joined the Kookaburras hockey squad as one of only two junior players.

Matt Graham was a runner-up in the same category for his outstanding accomplishments in mogul skiing. Matt started mogul skiing at the young age of six, at Perisher Winter Sports Club, and he has been skiing ever since. At age 15, he placed 27th in his debut at the final World Cup qualifications prior to the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. In 2013, he finished seventh at the Sochi Olympics test World Cup event and achieved fourth at his first World Championships in Norway. At the Sochi 2014 Olympics, he placed seventh in the men's mogul finals. Earlier this year, he won bronze at the World Cup in Tazawako, Japan, which followed a silver award in Deer Valley, USA, in January, and a second place in Canada. My best wishes to Matt, who is currently in Finland, and I wish him all the best at the upcoming World Cup season.

Other outstanding finalists in this category included Tim Schofield and Jack Moyes from Surf Life Saving, and James Webster from AFL. My congratulations to all the finalists and award recipients, but also congratulations to every participant in all sports across the Central Coast, because together they make up a wonderful community that we can all share and be part of. I am proud to represent an electorate with such fantastic sports participation and achievements, locally, state-wide, nationwide and even worldwide.