By Nick Creely
The Greater Dandenong council recognised some of the city’s sporting elite at the annual awards night on Wednesday 10 October, with winners coming from all across Dandenong.
Now in its fourth year, the awards are aimed at recognising the contribution of people within the Dandenong sporting community, including those who provide opportunities for others to participate in sport.
Dandenong Thunder’s superstar striker Brandon Barnes was crowned the Male Athlete of the Year, in a season that will again push his name up in lights for a lucrative A-League contact.
Barnes – who also re-signed with the Thunder for next season – scored 22 goals this season in the top flight of Victorian soccer (the most in the competition), to completely dominate, and is building an enormous reputation that is only going to continue building.
Among the other awards on the night, Dandenong Casey Titans’ Jessica McCulloch took home the Female Athlete of the Year, which is a huge achievement for the Special Olympics program, while youngster Jennifer Audy from St Anthony’s Primary School in Noble Park was awarded the Junior Athlete of the Year for her superb year in athletics.
Greater Dandenong mayor Cr Youhorn Chea congratulated the winners in all 11 categories.
He said the awards, held at Dandenong Basketball Stadium, recognised everyone from local athletes to volunteers, clubs and coaches.
“Sport is a great equalizer in our community. No matter your age, gender or cultural background sport is something everyone can participate in,” he said.
“I congratulate everyone recognised at last night’s awards. You are all positive role models, making a positive difference in our community.”
Full list of the award winners:
Athletes of the Year
Male Athlete of the Year: Brandon Barnes – Dandenong Thunder Soccer
Winner Female Athlete of the Year: Jessica McCulloch – Dandenong Casey Titans
Winner Junior Athlete of the Year: Jennifer Audy – St Anthony’s Primary School, Noble Park
Masters of the Year
Winner: Marcela Necas – Carrum Rowing Club
Volunteer of the Year
Winner: Peter Keyaerts – Lyndale Cricket Club
Team of the Year
Winner: Noble Park Junior Football Club U12 Team – Noble Park Junior Football Club
Club of the Year
Winner: Silverton Cricket Club
Coach of the Year
Winner: Michael Carlsson – Noble Park Football Club
Positive Engagement Award
Winner: Michael Palma – Parkmore Junior Football Club
Sports Achievement Award
Winner: Balloon Football-Southern League – Scope
Outstanding Contribution to Sport
Winner: Jack Ferro – Keysborough Soccer Club