Forbes Sportsperson of the Year Awards

Forbes Advocate Sportsperson of the Year – Tom Drane

Tom Drane has nine Australian titles to his name at just 11 years old.

And on Saturday night, he claimed Forbes’ top sporting honour – the Forbes Advocate Sportsperson of the Year Award – for the second time. 

In the 2017 long-track motorcycle racing season, Tom won four national titles and placed second in another two. 

He also holds nine State titles from the three Eastern seaboard states. 

The young awardee thanked his parents for travelling with him – and indeed it is a big commitment – as well as his sponsors and supporters.

Dad Matt credits Tom’s success to his determination: he trains twice a week and travels miles to compete with rarely a weekend off.

“He’s smart and he’s got a lot of determination,” Matt said. “He’s only got spot where he wants to finish.” 

Forbes Services Memorial Sportsperson of the Year runner up – John Betland

Golfer John Betland was unable to attend due to playing commitments, but was described as Forbes’ best golfer and a great ambassador for golf as well. 

John claimed the Amateur International at Moore Park in Sydney in 2017, and won the Forbes Golf Open with a record-breaking score.

He’s won the Forbes Golf Club division 1 championship a record nine times, last year he also claimed the NSW Golf Open Regional Qualifier at Forbes.

He holds the unofficial Forbes course record at nine under par. 

Gunn’s Menswear Senior Sportsperson of the Year – Peita Coote

Peita Coote, Forbes’ Senior Sportsperson of the Year, ran more than 3500km and climbed more than 50,000m in 2017 in pursuit of her sport of ultra distance running. 

She runs more than 30 hours a week – 80km – in training, travelling to find the hills she needs to prepare her for events.

Peita said she had been shocked by her nomination, and was even more surprised to win. 

“I don’t consider myself a sportsperson,” she said. 

“I’m just a person who sort of fell into running and loves it.”

But as MC Nick Turner said at the presentation, it’s hard to do justice to Peita’s achievements. 

In September she tackled Australia’s hardest trail run, 173km along the Great North Walk from Newcastle to Patonga.  

For first-timers, the goal is to finish the gruelling course. 

With the finish line in sight after 31-and-a-half hours, Peita sprinted 500 metres up the beach to take fifth, missing out on fourth place by 10 seconds. 

In 2017, she also completed the 100km ultra trail Australia run in the Blue Mountains in 13 hours, 56 minutes – sub 14 hours qualifies you for a silver buckle.

Australia Day saw Peita take part in the six-hour Running Wild Knapsack Lap Race, covering 51km wearing a 4kg pack.

She took half an hour off her 2016 time in the Sixfoot Track Marathon – another Blue Mountains event – in March to finish in the top 20 per cent of finishers. 

Fellow nominees were: John Betland, golf; Leisa Burton, lawn bowls; Charlie French, rugby union; Tasha Shaw, netball and Nick Turner, Ironman. 

Junior sportsperson - Jack Hartwig

Red Bend rugby league’s Jack Hartwig had a stellar 2017 on the footy field.

His team won the Under 16s premiership, beating St John’s Dubbo in the grand final at Dubbo.

It was back-to-back wins for Jack: Red Bend had won the Under 14s Lachlan District Premiership in 2016 and Jack was named man of the match in that grand final.

At home, Jack captained the College’s Under 15s team and played with the Red Bend Junior Rugby League and College Under 16s sides. 

He was selected for the Country Catholic Schools 15s team that played against Illawarra, Canterbury and Penrith in a week-long development tour.

Jack also represented NSW Combined Catholic Colleges Southern Country at State trials.

Jack wasn’t at Saturday’s awards night, he was in the NSW Koori Under 16s side playing at Mudgee in the curtain raiser to the Charity Shield between St George Illawarra and South Sydney.

There were a whopping 20 nominees for this award, an incredible indication of the strength of junior sport in Forbes. 

Team Award Forbes Rugby Union First XV

The Forbes Platypi showed small towns can more than mix it with larger regional centres, snatching the Blowes Clothing Cup premiership from Orange Emus in 2017.

The boys ended a 14-year drought when they beat Emus 28-20 on Emus’ home ground last year.

Team members were: Coach Heamani Lavaka, manager Phil Prior, captain Jack Hammond, Charlie French, Jarrod Hall, Kyle Sharpe, Tim Prior, Andrew Hubbard, James King, Tim Anderson, Matthew Coles, Mahe Fangupo, Jeffery Stewart, Henry Willis, Simon Flynn, Nedd Brockmann, Evan Wilson, Cameron Bennett, Jake Cutler, Hugh Dobell, Adrian Cole, Brodie Hodges, Brad McMillan, Jayme Sherritt, Darren Piper, Graeme Hopkins and Greg Moxey.

Accepting the award, Hammond thanked the coach, club executive and members as well as the community for their support.

“We have had a very good season and it’s a great honour to receive this award,” he said.

He added a message for the room’s aspiring young sportspeople. 

“Not every result is going to go your way,” he said. “But if you keep trying and putting the effort in, more often than not you will get the results and you’ll have a lot of fun doing it.” 

Forbes Netball Terry Wade Award - Jack Piercy

Netball umpire Jack Piercy received this award, created in recognition of the countless hours Terry Wade contributed to Forbes Netball Association and other local sporting organisations. 

Jack gained his National C umpiring badge last year and umpired at the West / Central West State League competitions.

He attended workshops and coaching, and went on to the NSW Championships and State Age Championships as an association umpire. 

He’s on the courts every week in local competitions and also travels with our representative teams to regional carnivals. 

Referee official trophy - Aurella White

Referees and officials are as important to the game as the players themselves, and the HelloWorld Travel trophy recognises their achievements.

Netball umpire Aurella White is one of the youngest National B badged umpires in the central west, she’s only the second Forbes Netball member to gain the qualification.

She’s also a talented player, selected in the Western Region Academy of Sport netball squad for 2018.

The squad of 24 players, aged 14 to 16, will receive extensive coaching over the year. 

Phillip Adams Encouragement Award – Darcy Leadbitter

This award is presented to a sportsperson who shows exceptional talent in their chosen sport and is well on their way to achieving excellence. 

Talented young Forbes bowler Darcy Leadbitter certainly fits that description.

He claimed 10 wickets for Western in the Kookaburra Cup to be named the carnival’s best bowler. 

Darcy went on to be selected for a combined Western / Riverina team to contest the NSW Under 14s challenge. This is the highest level of cricket competition in his age group. 

Darcy played with Penrith in the AW Shield and represented Western Zone in the Bradman Cup. 

Coach / trainer award – Heamani Lavaka

Hair set out to coach the Forbes Rugby First XV to greatness in their 50th season – and put in many hours to steer the team to a grand final win in the Blowes Clothing Cup in 2017.

The Platypi broke a 14-year premiership drought and brought the Cup back to Forbes after beating Orange Emus 28-20 in the grand final. 

The award is fitting recognition of the great effort, skills and motivation Hair has brought to Forbes Rugby Club. 

“Last year was very special,” Hair said in accepting the award.

He thanked club president Tracy Prior and the many people who help run the club. 

President’s Award – Sam Mackay

This award is chosen by SOYA President Andrew Norton-Knight from nominees for all categories.

Sam Mackay is only 15 years old but he’s an essential member of Forbes Touch Football Association.

He stepped up as referee convenor last year and arranged for interested members to improve their skills through a Level 1 course he helped organise with Parkes Touch Association.

He obtained his own level 1 and 2 certification for touch refereeing, then organised senior referees to come to Forbes for the local finals series.

Beyond touch, Sam referees junior rugby league for both the Magpies and Red Bend Rugby League juniors, then runs the line for senior grades.

He plays, umpires and scores in the local cricket competition as well. 

Administration award – Tracey Prior

The Neil Morrison Transport-sponsored award recognises the unsung heroes of every sporting club, the administrators. 

This year’s winner, Tracey Prior, is president of the Forbes Rugby Union Club and – along with the rest of the committee – steered the club to a hugely successful 2017 season.

Over the past four years, Tracey has worked with coaches and management to promote rugby in Forbes and an open invitation to the community to be part of the club.

In 2017, in the club’s 50th season, they claimed the Blowes Clothing Cup for the first time in 14 years. 

Tracey was one of the first female club presidents in Central West Rugby.

All Round Sports Achiever – Ellie Mattiske

Ellie has represented her school and region in hockey, cross country, league tag, netball and swimming. 

She’s a perfect candidate for an award that recognises a person who has excelled in numerous aspects of sport. 

St Laurence’s named her their 2017 Award for Excellence in Sport for her many achievements. 

In swimming in 2017, Ellie broke five school records and three cluster records. She missed out on bronze at the State Carnival by 1/100th of a second. 

She also served as captain of her school sports house and displayed sportsmanship as well as talent in all sports.

Forbes Shire Council Fair Go Award - Forbes Walla Rugby

The Forbes Shire Council-sponsored award is presented to an organisation that is inclusive and accepting of all participants.

Forbes Wagga Rugby – particularly the Walla Rugby Gala Day – provides opportunity to young rugby union players to learn and practice their skills.

Fair play and sportsmanship are promoted at all times, and the hard-working parents who assist with training and competitions are to be commended. 

Cahills Footwear School Awards

Local schools are asked to nominate these awards. 

Elysse Girot-Serplet, Forbes High – was age champion at the annual athletics carnival and represented Forbes High in touch football, netball, soccer, volleyball, athletics and cross country.

Tanesha Riddle, Forbes North – was selected in the NSW Echidnas Under 12s netball team for the Australian Indigenous Schoolgirls championships. Tanesha was 11 years girl athletics champion and represented the school in league tag, cricket and netball. She also competed at the PSSA State Athletics. 

Hugh Chudleigh, Forbes Public – received the RH Lytton OAM Award for Sporting Excellence last year. His outstanding achievements included athletics, cross country, swimming, rugby league, cricket, touch football and tennis. 

Ellie Mattiske, St Laurence’s – received the Award for Excellence in Sport after representing her school in hockey, cross country, swimming and league tag. 

Special sports awards

Brad Smith – was most improved horse buggy driver at the Riding for the Disabled School in Young, he’s been part of the program for four years. 

Jed Matheson – is in Forbes High’s cricket and rugby league teams as well as playing in local competitions. 

Blair Barnes – was also nominated by Forbes High for his active and inspiring participation in league tag, playing at Wellington as well as in the Bathurst Multi Sports Disability competition and Blayney inter-school competition. 

Central West Credit Union Junior Sports Achievers

These awards are given monthly throughout the year. They are designed to recognise juniors who contribute to sports in a variety of ways: they may not be the best but give 100 per cent effort. 

Shanika Harpur was named the overall winner of this year’s award, for her outstanding work as a rugby league referee.

Shanika was the youngest person – and the first female – to referee a senior grand final in the Woodbridge Cup competition. 

She thanked her parents for their support of her sporting endeavours. 

The other monthly winners, and finalists for the overall award, were:

Tyrone Clothier, who competed at State Athletics championships in high jump, long jump, 100m and 80m hurdles. 

Darcy Leadbitter claimed 10 wickets for Western Region cricket to be named the Kookburra Cup’s top bowler and was then selected in a combined Western / Riverina cricket team to compete for the NSW Cup.

Harrison Corke, who swam at the State Championship and played rugby for Central West and also plays hockey and is a water skiier. 

Brody Hodges represents both Western NSW Under 13s in soccer and plays for the NSW Western Mariners side. 

Archer Nathan Haley won a national gold medal at the Australian Bow Hunters titles.

Jack Hartwig plays rugby league with the Country Catholic Schools Under 15s. 

Tom Drane won four Australian long-track motorcycle championships in 2017 and placed second in two more. 

Regan Acret was selected in the combined high schools open squash team to compete in the Trans Tasman squash series.

Marcus Hardy broke two records in the 100m State Athletics carnival, covering the distance in a blistering 14.26 seconds. 

Cameron McMillan was named the Western Region Institute of Sport’s golf athlete of the year after a terrific season on the greens.

Jack Piercy gained his National C umpiring badge and umpired at regional state league netball competitions.

SOYA Merit Awards

Merit awards were presented to: Regan Acret for squash; Hugh Chudleigh for athletics, cross country, swimming, rugby league, cricket, touch and tennis; Tyrone Clothier for athletics; Elysse Girot-Serplet for touch, soccer, netball, volleyball, athletics and cross country; Shyeka Griffiths for netball; Marcus Hardy for athletics; Cameron McMillan for golf; and Tash Shaw for netball.