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Kerr hits rare air with third WA Sports Star Award

Matilda’s superstar Samantha Kerr has taken her place among the greats of Western Australian sport, claiming the coveted WA Sports Star Award for the third time at the 2023 WA Sport Awards at HBF Stadium last night.

Kerr becomes just the fifth product of the WA sports system to claim WA’s most prestigious sports award on three or more occasions, with the last sportsperson to notch a third crown being Ric Charlesworth in 1986.  Others to have claimed the WA Sports Star Award on at least three occasions include Dennis Lillee, Rod Marsh while Margaret Court became the only woman to achieve the feat some 50 years ago in 1973.

It was a year in which Kerr cemented her place in sporting greatness both at home and abroad, and her influence extended through the game and beyond.

Kerr scoring in big matches go hand in hand, and the 2023 year started at club level, where she played a starring role, as Chelsea claimed the Women’s Super League title. She backed it up as Chelsea’s only goal scorer in the FA Cup semi-final and final, with both finishing with 1-0 Chelsea wins courtesy of Kerr’s scoring prowess.

The scoring continued at international level when Kerr delivered a long-range strike that levelled the scores against England at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in August.

She followed the World Cup with 5 goals in three AFC Olympic Qualifiers, including a stunning hat-trick in front of almost 60,000 fans at Optus Stadium.

Kerr rounded out the year with a runner-up for the Ballon d’Or Feminin, awarded to the best female footballer in the world.

In other awards, swimmer Iona Anderson received the rebel WA Junior Sports Star Award after being a finalist for the third straight year. Her performances were noticed by the swimming world, after the rising star of Australian swimming made her senior team debut at the World Aquatics Championships in Doha last month, bringing home one gold and two silver medals.
Adam Voges claimed a second successive Coach of the Year crown after the 2022/23 season saw the WA Men’s Cricket Team and Perth Scorchers defend their Big Bash, Sheffield Shield and Marsh One-Day Cup titles.

Voges stands unrivalled for steering all three formats to back-to-back trophies, with no other coach achieving the feat twice, with current Australian Men’s Coach Andrew McDonald the only other coach to claim the title across all three formats in one season. The results also saw the WA Men’s Cricket team named Team of the Year for their victories which included an undefeated 2022/23 March One-Day Cup season.

Summary of Results – 2023 WA Sport Awards
WA Sports Star – Samantha Kerr (Football)
Samantha Kerr is now well and truly entrenched in the echelon of Australian sporting greatness following a landmark year of individual and team successes and captaining her country at a home FIFA Women’s World Cup. Kerr continues to create history on and off the field for Australian football. Kerr was named the second-best women’s footballer on the planet after coming runner-up in the prestigious Ballon d’Or Feminin at a star-studded ceremony in Paris. During Kerr’s time in Perth with the Matildas, she was bestowed the honour of the newly constructed State Football Centre in Queens Park being officially known as the Sam Kerr Football Centre.

rebel WA Junior Sports Star – Iona Anderson (Swimming)
Iona Anderson firmly established her place among the new wave of Australia’s emerging talent in the pool when she claimed gold in the 50 metres backstroke at the World Junior Championships in September. Her performance came in at a personal best time and followed her impressive silver medal result in the 100 metres backstroke earlier in the meet. These performances and her growing status earned Anderson a place in Australia’s World Championship squad that competed in Doha earlier this month.

Team of the Year – WA Men’s Cricket Team
The WA Men’s Cricket team became just the second in the history of Australian domestic cricket to win both the One-Day and Sheffield Shield titles in consecutive seasons. They went undefeated through the One-Day season, trouncing South Australia by 181 runs in the Final. They also finished on top of the Shield table and enjoyed a dominant nine-wicket victory against Victoria in the Final, led by a brilliant 128 runs from middle order batsman Ashton Turner and a superb all-round performance by the whole WA bowling unit.

Coach of the Year – Adam Voges (Cricket)
Adam Voges guided WA Men’s cricket to claim every possible piece of silverware available in Australian domestic cricket, with his teams crowned Sheffield Shield Champions, One-Day Cup Champions and BBL Champions. Just one other coach in the history of Australian domestic cricket has completed the trifecta – current Australia Men’s Head Coach Andrew McDonald, but Voges now stands alone as the only coach to achieve the feat twice – remarkably in successive years after winning all three corresponding titles the previous season.

ActiveXchange Official of the Year – Tim Kennedy (Lacrosse)
As Australia’s number one ranked lacrosse referee, East Fremantle Lacrosse club official Tim Kennedy climbed every mountain before him in the sport over the past year. Kennedy officiated at the Lacrosse Under 18 National Championships in April, including the final between Victoria and WA. But Kennedy wasn’t done there, in June he headed to San Diego for the World Championships as Head Referee and Chief Bench Official. He officiated 10 World Championship games including a high-stakes finals playoff match between England and Japan.

Organisation of the Year – WA Cricket
WA Cricket has enjoyed the most successful year in the organisation’s history, both on and off the field. WA Cricket was the first Australian cricket organisation to initiate a Pride-themed match, celebrating members of the LGBTQIA+ community during the Women’s and Men’s Big Bash seasons. Additionally, the WA Cricket Foundation is driving change in the lives of young women, fostering connections with Aboriginal communities, and creating safe spaces for young people of all abilities.

Sport Initiative of the Year – Team Connect (Cricket)
Team Connect is a free community engagement program that supports teenage girls from traditionally low participation groups to play cricket at their local club. This unique program connects local schools, clubs and communities in a simple model that has the potential to reduce social and emotional isolation for the participants and their families and, in turn, potentially improve educational and wellbeing outcomes.

Department of Local Govt, Sport & Cultural Industries Administrator of the Year – Troy Kirkham (WA Football Commission)
In his role as Executive Manager Game Development & Community, Troy Kirkham continues to be an industry leading innovator that develops programs and initiatives that have a substantial impact on the AFL community. In addition to his day-to-day role, Troy sits on several committees and working groups , these include; Women of Sport Network Advisory Group, Mental Health Sport Advisory Group, True Sport Advisory Group, Concussion in Sport Advisory Group, Australian Sports Commission Expert Project Working Group and the West Australian Institute of Sport Stronger Pathways Steering Group.

Service to Sport – May Campbell Medal

Jan Cooper (Australian Rules Football)
A trailblazer for women and girls in Australian Rules, Jan Cooper has played an instrumental role in the growth of the game in WA and across Australia. In 2023, Jan became the first female inducted into the WA Football Hall of Fame in recognition of her decades of contribution. Her passion for Australian Rules and the lack of opportunity to participate as a young female saw Jan drive with commitment and energy into a position that will leave a legacy for the current and future generations of female footballers.

Tony Ball (Swimming)
After first taking the plunge as a member of the Kwinana Swimming Club in 1972, Tony Ball has maintained his strong connection to the sport both in and out of the pool for more than 50 years. His dedication and passion for swimming are unmatched, and his knowledge base is a cornerstone of the swimming community. Tony has served the club as Club President for 21 years, on top of two years as vice-president. Ball has been recognised as Swimming WA’s Volunteer of the Year on four occasions and in 2023 was a recipient of Swimming Australia’s Local Legend Award.

David Neesham (Water Polo)
With over half a century of involvement in the WA Water Polo scene – David Neesham has had involvement as a player, coach, referee and administrator at club, state and national level. With almost 300 games for Australia, David competed at four Olympic Games from 1968 to 1980 and was captain of the team over the final five years of that period. In 1977 he campaigned strongly for a Water Polo venue in Perth, and in 1979 the Bicton Polo pool became the first custom-built water polo facility in the southern hemisphere.

Community Sporting Event of the Year – SunSmart Busselton Festival of Triathlon
The SunSmart Busselton Festival of Triathlon, is owned and run by Triathlon WA. The event hosted more than 2,000 athletes from beginners to elites and thousands of spectators in the three-day celebration of sport. The 2023 Festival hosted for the first time the Oceania Cup Busselton, an elite World Triathlon race in the exciting super sprint eliminator format. The 2023 event brought an estimated 7,300 visitors and an estimated $3.3 million positive economic impact to the region.

RSM Australia Community Sport Volunteer of the Year – Connor Clarke (Kendo Renmei)
Re-elected to the voluntary State Development Officer role in 2023, Connor Clarke led the process for the sport of Kendo Renmei to be recognised as a State Sporting Association. A goal that was achieved on 17 October 2023 when Minister for Sport, confirmed the recognition after 50 years of activity in WA. Connor was also the driving force behind Constitutional reform for the organisation, formally adopting new Rules in June 2023. Both achievements have built a strong platform from which the sport can grow in the future.

revolutioniseSPORT Community Club of the Year – John Gilmour Medal – Swan Districts Football Club
Swan Districts Football Club is a proud and passionate community club that has been a fixture of the WA football landscape for almost 90 years. The club is committed to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities. In the past 12 months, the club has gone above and beyond to support its members and the wider community.

Healthway Healthy Club Award – Kwinana Tigers Hockey Club
Kwinana Tigers Hockey Club have been making significant efforts to increase the healthy food and drink varieties at their club. The club was awarded Healthway’s Healthy Sports Grant in late 2022 which allowed them to make deliberate choices aimed at enhancing the club’s facilities and educating members through the promotion of healthier practices.


For more information
Please contact SportWest Member & Partnerships Manager, Matt Bamford on mobile 0419 287 024 or mattbamford@sportwest.com.au, or Communications Manager Bronte Vause at brontevause@sportwest.com.au

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