MOMENT OF THE YEAR
Ashleigh Barty snares the French Open
June 9, 2019 In a stunning win that made the entire nation proud, Barty showed what true champions are made of when she snared the 2019 French Open, becoming the first Australian to win at Roland Garros in 46 years, since her idol Evonne Goolagong Cawley. The victory made Barty only the second Aussie woman ever to hit #1 on the world tennis rankings, rising from #623 to #1 in just three short years, after taking a break from her sport.
Ellyse Perry hits 1000 runs in T20I
July 29, 2019 In mid-2019, all-rounder Perry showed yet again why she’s one of the world’s most exciting players, when she became the first Australian (either male or female) to reach the all-round milestone of 1000 runs and 100 wickets in T20 International cricket.
Sam Kerr’s historic hat trick, Jamaica vs Australia
June 19, 2019 Matildas captain and football superstar Sam Kerr scored all four of the team’s goals in this hard-fought match, leading the team to victory and becoming the first Australian – male or female – to score a hat-trick in a final at the 2010 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.
Stephanie Gilmore’s seventh world title win
Nov 27, 2018 On the verge of making history, Stephanie Gilmore thrilled the crowd (and the world) when she rode in and took out her seventh ASP/WSL world surfing title, to equal Layne Beachley's long-standing record, in November last year. Gilmore clinched the title in an exciting Maui Pro event after American Lakey Peterson made an early exit.
Tayla Harris takes a stand against sexism in sport
March 2019 It’s been called the kick that stopped the nation. But with one Instagram post, “My hamstring is okay, but sexist and derogatory comments aren’t”, AFLW player Tayla Harris’s powerful response to trolls (after a picture of Harris in full flight attracted offensive remarks) ignited an important conversation around sexism in sport. The importance of this moment was highlighted in September, when a bronze statue of Harris was erected in Melbourne’s Federation Square, with a plaque that read “More than a kick”.
Tia-Clair Toomey takes out the CrossFit Games
August 2, 2019 This formidable competitor and all-round inspiration made history this past August, by becoming the first athlete to snare the 2019 CrossFit Games title to be declared “Fittest on Earth” three years in a row. No other woman has won as many, let alone consecutively, cementing her place in this multi-discipline sport.
LOCAL SPORTING CHAMPION
Ashleigh Fong, rugby 7s and XVs
As a fellow player and manager of the Gordon's Women's Rugby Program, Ashleigh is supportive of her fellow players on and off the field, and continually gives 100 per cent in every aspect of her training and development. She won player of the match against East Rugby Club in a 10s game at the Women in Rugby Festival, held in August. She has also volunteered her time to help grow and support children’s programs within the Gordon Rugby Villages. She’s attended several kids training sessions helps coaches teach basic skills. She was recently selected for the NRC Sydney team after her first season of XVs, where she has been selected amongst numerous state and national level players. This also puts her in contention of being selected for a Waratahs spot for the 2020 Super W season.
Emily Duggan, supercar racing
This rising star of the motorsport world became the first female driver to race in the V8 Touring Car Series - now called the Super3 – in 2016, and also competes in the Toyota 86 Racing Series, clocking speeds of up to 230km an hour. On a mission to shatter stereotypes in a sport that’s still heavily male-dominated, she’s a fierce advocate for equality and female empowerment and believes passionately that every girl has the right to chase their dreams. She regularly speaks at events, such as the Royal Automobile Club Awards and Business Chicks “9 to Thrive” to raise the profile of women in sport. She’s recently become an ambassador for non-profit organisation Dare to be Different, an initiative to encourage more girls to follow a career in motorsport through workshops and events in schools and communities around Australia.
Lucy Grills, polocrosse
Lucy played in the 2019 world-cup winning Australian Polocrosse Team and won overall champion female player. She started polocrosse365.com.au where she launched Girl Talk, a three-day Polocrosse workshop for girls aged 12-16. The aim of the workshop is to enhance and enrich the lives of young girls and develop skills to become the happiest and healthiest versions of themselves. This includes mental health, body image, social media, physical health, nutrition, sports psychology, confidence and specialised Polocrosse coaching, including video analysis.
Pamela McClelland, boxing and physical culture
Pamela has carved a solid name for herself in boxing, winning state titles and being selected on state teams, and recently turning pro. As a mother of two with a third on the way, she also runs a boxing and fitness gym, and a charity called The Red Laces Foundation, which she started after losing her dad (an amputee) a couple of years ago. Pam also dances (participating in physical culture) and teaches in a mostly volunteer role three days a week. Her dedication to her students sees her training them outside of the dance environment for fitness and health, in order to help them achieve their goals.
Tamieka Garcia, boxing
At only 20 years old, Tamieka is an amateur boxer, and a qualified Boxing Australia coach, who runs her own gym iBox Fitness in Shellharbour/Warilla. She’s accomplished all this while being Type 1 diabetic, having been diagnosed as legally blind when she was younger, and told she would never be able to play sport again. After having cataract surgery and gaining 20/20 vison, she took up boxing and is now encouraging more people to do the same through her inspiring story. She’s also supported charities through her boxing matches, such as raising money and awareness for Juvenile Diabetes.
Daniela Di Toro, Paralympian
At the age of just 13, this game-changer was at a school swimming carnival when a brick wall collapsed, her body bore the brunt and she lost the use of her legs. But she didn’t let that define her and went on to defy the odds who went on to become the 2010 French Open doubles champ, a singles world number one and competitor at Wimbledon. Now a six-time Paralympian, she's the current captain of the Australian Paralympic Team and works as the Athlete Engagement and Wellbeing Officer at Paralympics Australia with a strong focus on mental health.
Erin Phillips, AFLW
Two days after co-captaining the Adelaide Crows to the AFLW premiership, this star player and leader capped her outstanding AFLW season by winning the league's Best and Fairest award and being named skipper of the All-Australian team. She’s also an outspoken advocate for equality, a role model for young people around Australia, and has three children with her wife, Tracy Gahan, who she previously played basketball with in the WNBL.
Liz Cambage, basketball
Cambage’s list of accolades is a long one: Commonwealth Games Gold Medallist. Olympic Champion. And current WNBA record holder, having scored the most points in a single game. She’s spoken out on a range of important issues over the past year, including body diversity, the unrealistic expectations the media place on women, her own battles with mental health and the push for gender equality. She also highlighted sexism in sport when she showed public support for Tayla Harris with her famous feminist meme on how she deals with negative comments: “Don’t tell me to get back into the kitchen. Honey, I can pay you to make a sandwich for me. I turn that negative energy into my own power.”
Meg Lanning, cricket
The Australian captain has lived up to her nickname, “The Megastar”, from becoming the youngest Aussie - male or female - to score an international century at a One Day International (ODI) back in 2011 and smashing a world record unbeaten 133 as the Australia’s women made their best-ever Twenty20 score, hitting 3-226 at England’s favourite ground in July. She broke another record in September, when she became the first player to score 13 ODI centuries when Australia played against the West Indies
Stephanie Gilmore, surfing
Over the past 12 months, this seven-time world champion has been one of the most high-profile advocates for pay equality for women in surfing (and also in the wider sporting world), regularly speaking out about this issue in the media and, as a result, becoming one of the most high-profile faces of this global movement. Now, as a result of her work (and the work of many others) progress has finally been made in a win for all female athletes. As of 2019, male and female surfers will receive equal prize money on the WSL circuit moving forward.
ONE TO WATCH
Hannah Green, golf
On June 24, 2019, this 22-year-old Perth local (then ranked 114 in the world, now 19th) made global headlines when she came out of nowhere to claim a shock victory, and win our first golf major in a women’s tournament in 13 years, taking out the women’s PGA Championship at the Hazeltine National Golf Club. Green is only the third Aussie woman ever to win a golf major. Hannah also captured her second victory this season, winning the Cambia Portland Classic in September.
Hayley Wilson, skateboarding
One of Austalia’s brightest prospects, Hayley started skateboarding at seven years old, and won her first competition at the age of eight. She recently represented Australia at Exposure, the largest all-women’s skate competition in the world. She was the youngest woman to qualify in the street division of the X Games at the age of 15. And now has her eyes firmly fixed on Tokyo 2020, with skateboarding being one of five new sports at the upcoming Olympics.
Isabelle Kelly, rugby league
In the past 12 months, the Sydney Roosters centre was named the best female player at international level when she was awarded the RLIF Women's Golden Boot award, off the back of being named the 2018 NSW Women’s State of Origin Player of the Year. Jillaroos coach Brad Donald predicts big things from her, telling NRL.com, “I can't think of anyone who has been more influential at representative level in the last year and she has potentially got 10 or 12 more years ahead of her.”
Lani Pallister, swimming
This 17-year-old is one of Australia’s most exciting new swim talents, signalling her arrival by logging a new personal best in the women’s 1500m freestyle at the 2019 Aussie World Swimming Trials, establishing a new Australian Age Record in the process. In August, this Sunshine Coast schoolgirl won four individual medals (three of them gold) in an eye-catching Junior Pan Pacs in Fiji. She was also named the world’s best junior female swimmer in the same month after she won four individual medals, including three golds in the 400, 800, and 1500 metre freestyle, as well as a silver as part of Australia’s 4 x 200 freestyle relay, at the 2019 FINA World Junior Championships.
Zitina Aokuso, basketball
The Townsville Fire prodigy is one of Australia’s most promising basketball players having played in the Australia under-20 National Championships as a teen to playing an impressive 2018-19 season this year with an average 10.6 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. Her performance has impressed basketball legend Suzy Batkovic, who told Fox Sports, “Z’s just been phenomenal. From last year to this year, that kid has made leaps and bounds … I have no doubt down the track she’s definitely going to be in the Australian team, but the ball’s in her court.”
COMEBACK OF THE YEAR
Hayley Raso, football
In 2018, Matilda #16 Hayley Russo broke three vertebrae in her back during an on-field collision playing in the US women’s league and faced the prospect of potentially never walking again. But thanks to incredible determination, less than a year later after intense rehabilitation, she was back playing at elite level, representing her country at the FIFA Women’s World Cup, after what she calls the most difficult challenge of her career, with her mum as her biggest supporter.
Lauren Parker, paratriathlon
Having been a successful triathlete, coming second in the gruelling 2015 Ironman World Championships, her career crumbled in one five-second moment in 2017, when two weeks out from a race she was an accident that left her instantly paralysed from the waist down. Less than a year later, she was back doing the sport she loves, taking the bronze at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. She was recently recognised at the NSW Sport Awards and, in September 2019, Lauren secured her own piece of para-triathlon history, winning the PTWC World Championship in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Rebecca McConnell, cross-country mountain bike
This Australian Cross Country Mountain Bike Champion and two-time Olympian and Commonwealth Games Bronze Medallist almost gave up her sport after a turbulent three years since her contract with her pro-team ended unexpectedly in 2016. But with the support of her team, husband Dan and family, Bec committed to another year of professional racing, which is proving to be an amazing comeback. She has had her best ever World Cup result (2nd), several other top 10 World Cup results and is currently ranked 5th overall in the world rankings. She is now gunning for a spot in the 2020 Olympics and is inspiring mountain biking fans all over the world.
Sally Fitzgibbons, surfing
In June 2019, Sally Fitzgibbons rode her way to victory, taking out the World Surf League Pro in Rio and snaring the world #1 position on the WSL Women’s Championship Tour in the process. After fracturing her shoulder in 2018, Fitzgibbons admitted she basically had to learn to paddle again and, as a result of these challenges, came back to her sport reinvigorated after a tough few years. She now has her eyes on the prize, with surfing set to take centre-stage at the Tokyo 2020 Games, with the addition of surfing to the Olympic roster.
Sarah Klau, netball
Earlier this year, NSW Swifts defender Sarah Klau was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Sarah had dreams of one-day representing Australia and keeping her place in the ultra-competitive world of Super Netball wouldn't be easy either, especially with a chronic disease to manage. Despite this, the 2019 season has seen her excel and dominant performances in Super Netball saw Sarah gain selection in the Diamonds' World Cup Squad which contested the World Cup in England. Instead of giving up she played a World Cup Final. Not only that, she became an inspiration to young kids and everyday people also dealing with diabetes: if a prime athlete like Sarah could manage her condition and succeed, then they could too.
A-TEAM OF THE YEAR
Adelaide Crows, AFLW
A crowd of 53,034 fans watched the Adelaide Crows make history at Adelaide Oval when they won their second AFLW premiership in three years.
University of Canberra Capitals, basketball
The WNBL 2018-2019 championship was taken out by the Canberra Capitals – their eighth win – when they beat Adelaide Lightning in the grand final series in February.
The Matildas proved why they’re one of Australia’s most talented (and most-loved) teams when they claimed the Cup of Nations in March with a 3-0 win against Argentina sparked, once again, by captain Sam Kerr.
Ocean Respect Racing, sailing
The first all-female professional crew in the history of the Sydney to Hobart yacht race. The crew on the Wild Oats X was skippered by event regular and round-the-world racer Stacey Jackson, and the Wild Oats X crew of 13 was comprised of eight Australians and five internationals. Mentored by Julie Bishop, the crew scored second place overall, sixth in line honours, and took home the Jane Tate Memorial Trophy for the first female skipper to finish.
Australian Women's Cricket Team, cricket
Thanks to this dominant team of female athletes, Australia is currently the number one cricket team in the world in both One Day International rankings and T20 International. They recently retained the Women’s Ashes after a draw in the one-off Test match in Taunton gave the Southern Stars an unassailable 8-2 lead in the multi-format series.
SPORTSWOMAN OF THE YEAR
Ashleigh Barty, tennis
One of Australia’s biggest assets, Ash Barty was always destined for sporting success, winning the Wimbledon girls’ singles title in 2011 at age 15. Currently ranked #1 in the world singles by the Women’s Tennis Association, hers is one of the greatest (and most inspiring) sporting stories of recent times. At the age of just 23, this year Barty became the first Australian to win at Roland Garros in 46 years, since her idol Evonne Goolagong Cawley. This incredible achievement (undertaken with grace, dignity and professionalism) made her only the second Aussie woman ever to take top spot on the world tennis rankings, rising from #623 to #1 in just three years.
Ellyse Perry, cricket
There’s no escaping Ellyse’s incredible sporting prowess and the fact she’s already considered one of the game’s greats. Just take the recent Ashes tour, where she scored the best-ever bowling figures for an Aussie woman in the one-day international format (a cool seven for 22), became the first cricketer, male or female, to rack up 1000 runs and 100 wickets in Twenty20 Internationals, and (surprising no one) was declared player of the series. Making her debut in international sport at just 16, playing in World Cups for both the Matildas and the Australian women’s cricket team. She later hung up her football boots in 2014 to focus on bat and ball.
Jessica Fox, slalom canoe
There aren’t many athletes who can lay claim to being the greatest of all time by the age of 25. Jess is the most successful paddler (male or female) in history, and one of Australia’s best gold medal chances for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Representing Australia since 2009 in canoe (C1W) and kayaking (K1W) singles, in the past 10 years has won 29 World Cup Gold medals, 7 World Championship titles, and 2 Olympic medals. In March, Jessica was named the 2018 World Paddle Awards – Sportswoman of the Year award, the second year in a row she’s received the honour. She also sealed her third consecutive overall C1 as well as her second consecutive K1 world cup title at the ICF Canoe Slalom World Cup Final in Prague this September.
Sam Kerr, football
Since making her international football debut at the age of 15 and 150 days, superstar striker and Matildas captain Sam Kerr has blazed a trail across the football world. One of the most exciting players on the global stage, she proved it by winning two ESPY Awards in July 2019, in addition to being named Best International Women’s Footballer and best player in the US Women’s Soccer League. Sam is the leading all-time goal scorer in the NWSL in the United States with 69 goals. This year, Kerr became the first Aussie athlete (male or female) to score a hat-trick in a FIFA World Cup Final, and is also fronting Australia’s bid to host the 2023 Women’s World Cup on home soil.
Stephanie Gilmore, surfing
Dominating the surf since her first world championship win in 2007, this incredible athlete is on the verge of making history having won seven world titles. In November 2018, she claimed her record-tying seventh ASP/WSL World Title during the final event of the season at the Beachwaver Maui Pro.
Tia-Clair Toomey, CrossFit
After making an impressive debut at the 2015 CrossFit Games – where she came second and won the title of Rookie of the Year – Tia-Clair Toomey has dominated the sport at an international level. The next year, she followed up that performance finishing second again at the Games, and representing Australia in weightlifting at the 2016 Rio Olympics. She went on to win a gold medal in the 58kg weightlifting category at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, and this year, made history when she became the first female athlete to win the CrossFit Games and the title of World’s Fittest three years in a row.