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The Tamworth Regional Sports Awards are coordinated by Tamworth Regional Council to recognise outstanding achievements by individuals or teams in the region. 

Tamworth Regional Council established the awards to create a event bringing together all of the region’s sports clubs and associations to acknowledge and celebrate sporting achievements. 

2019 Winners

Sport Development Award
Winner: Tamworth Swans Australian Football Club

The Tamworth Swans have achieved across the board in 2019, with a strong focus on skill development and building a culture around the enjoyment of the game. Their women’s team debuted this season, reaching the preliminary finals after a fantastic season and their senior men’s team qualified for the finals for the first time since 2010. Their extension into two additional competitions (women’s and under 14s) has also promoted the game to a new audience, engaging new players and promoting female participation in the sport.

Ken McKenzie Award for Services to Sport
Winner: Jeff Benson, Tamworth Mountain Bikers

Jeff has been an active member on the Tamworth Mountain Bikers executives committee since 2014 when the Mountain Bike Park opened. Since then, he has been a key contributor to successful grant applications and has volunteered regular and significant time to help maintain the park and at regional and interstate mountain bike races hosted in the Tamworth region. Jeff is also passionate about the cultural significance of the Tamworth Mountain Bike Park, and has worked with traditional owners to ensure respect and recognition throughout the Park’s development.

Cara Hickson Award
Winner: Abbie Peet, multiclass para athlete

In 2019, Abbie has competed in both cross country and athletics events, attending a total of 11 carnivals. She has a number of incredible achievements under her belt including; representing NSW at Schools Sports Australia (SSA) National Cross Country; competing at the SSA National Athletics ; being awarded the Para Age Champion at the Christian School Sports Association Primary State Athletics where she broke three records for 800m Para Athlete, Long Jump Para Athlete and 200m Para Athlete. Abbie has cerebral palsy and is a great advocate for kids with special needs and their inclusion in sport. Abbie won the Local Achiever Award at the 2018 Tamworth Regional Council Sports Awards.

Local Achiever Award
Winner: Mitch Doring, Rugby League

Mitchell was the Captain Coach of the Manilla Tigers, who won the Group 4 reserve grade Rugby League Grand Final in 2019 after not being able to field a side in the competition in 2018. Mitchell was a key part of the club building a team from the ground up, recruiting players from Manilla and surrounds, building local support for the club and encouraging spectators. He is also an accomplished player for the side, making a positive contribution to the Manilla Tigers’ game in 2019.

Coach of the Year
Winner: John Ireland, Coach of Tamworth Thunderbolts Basketball Men

John has been committed to coaching within the Tamworth Basketball Senior program for over 12 years. In 2019, John managed a predominantly young squad, walking away from the Thunderbolts Men’s season with wins for 18 of their 20 games. John’s passion and commitment to the sport includes his work on the local Men’s A Grade competition and his Chairing the Draft Committee. John was also named Coach of the Year by the NSW Waratah Basketball League.

Highly Commended: Jarrod Campbell, Coach and Head Tennis Professional with Northwest Tennis Academy.

Junior Sports Team of the Year
Winner: McCarthy Junior Girls Hockey Team

This team consisted of female hockey players in years 7 to 9 at McCarthy Catholic College, Tamworth. In August, the team were the Junior Girl Champions at the 2019 Combined Catholic Colleges (CCC) State Carnival in Newcastle (this is the second consecutive year the team has won this championship with many players part of both wins). The team has also contributed to the sport off the field, volunteering to coach and umpire. It is coached by Mr Geoffrey Denton.

Senior Sports Team of the Year
Winner: Tamworth Thunderbolts Basketball Men

2019 has been one of the men’s team’s most successful, with wins for 18 of their 20 games played and drawing large crowds to home games. Individuals were also recognised by the NSW Waratah Basketball League with Quayshun Hawkins named Most Valuable Player, Rhys Chillingworth and Quayshun Hawkins names in the Allstar 5 and Coach John Ireland named Coach of the Year. The team provides a pathway for young players from the Junior Representative Program.

Highly Commended: North Tamworth Rugby League Football Club, First Grade Team

Junior Sports Star of the Year
Winner: Kaecia Beattie, Tennis

In 2019, Kaecia competed in both national and international competitions in tennis including the Fiji Open as a member of the Evonne Gooloogong Foundation (where she reached the semi-finals for her age group from an unseeded position), the Rod Laver Asian/Oceanian IC Junior Challenge in Hong Kong and the National Indigenous Tennis Carnival in Darwin (where she was runner-up). Kaecia has made an outstanding contribution to her sport through her participation and proud pursuit of tennis through Indigenous channels and is a role model for her peers, helping to raise awareness of the sport both competitively and socially amongst young Indigenous people.

Highly Commended:
Mikayla Gross, Basketball

Abbie Peet, multiclass para athlete

Senior Sports Star of the Year
Winner: Joshua McCulloch, Muaythai

Josh is an Amateur Muythai fighter at Chaffey’s BlackBelt Academy, training eight times a week. Josh has fought against competitors from all over the world and in August this year, successfully defended his 60kg East Coast Australian title. He aspires to be a World Champion and is an inspiration to other Muaythai athletes in the Tamworth region, having not lost a fight in over two years.

Highly Commended: Brody Blackett-Gregg, Netball

TRC Sports Person of the Year
Winner: Josh McCulloch


Nominations have now closed for the 2019 Tamworth Regional Sports Awards.

Stay tuned for details of the nominees and finalists. 

What categories can I nominate for?

Categories include:

Individual Awards

  • Junior Sports Star of the Year: Open to individuals aged under 18 years at 09/10/2019
  • Senior Sports Star of the Year: Open to individuals aged 18 years and over at 09/10/2019
  • TRC Sports Person of the Year: An overall Sports Star of the Year will be automatically selected from one of the two Individual Award winners
Sports Team Awards
  • Junior Sports Team of the Year: All team players must be aged 17 years and under at 09/10/2019 to be eligible in this category
  • Senior Sports Team of the Year: At least one team player must be aged 18 years and over at 09/10/2019
Coaching Awards
  • Coach of the Year: The Coach of the Year awards an individual coach who has excelled in sport coaching. Factors considered in assessing this award include; achievements, attitude, dedication, knowledge and communication skills.
Development and Achievement Awards
  • Sport Development Award
    The Sport Development Award is aimed at recognising the achievements of clubs and/or associations during the eligible period with regard to elements including sport promotion, growth, facility development, events, administration/service improvement, education etc. 

  • Ken McKenzie Award for Services to Sport
    The Services to Sport Award recognises services by volunteers and administrators for any length of time. This may be cumulative over a number of years or for a significant event/activity during the eligible period. 

  • Cara Hickson Award
    This award is for a special achievement in sport. It is an opportunity to nominate a person who has done something outstanding in their chosen sport, achieved a result under exceptional circumstances, plays or is involved in an out of the ordinary sport. 

  • Local Achiever Award
    This award is open to anyone of any age who has achieved on a local level. This award provides an opportunity to recognise an outstanding performance in one game or over a season, a milestone, a ‘play of the day’ or any other significant achievement in a local competition or event. 

  • Tamworth Olympic Honour Wall
    The Criteria for Tamworth Regional Local Government Area (LGA) Olympians is as follows:
  1. Nominees must have represented their sport at an Olympic level (summer, winter, or Paralympics)
  2. Nominees must have received the majority of their primary and secondary education in the Tamworth LGA
  3. The nominated Olympian’s sports skills must have been initialised and/or developed within the Tamworth LGA. Examples of non-qualification include: a person who was born in the region but left when aged 6 only to later become an Olympian aged 26; someone who came to the region for a short period of time for coaching or sports facilities but was not born or educated in the region.
Please note, in the advent of an appeal, the Sports Working Group would propose a recommendation to the Tamworth Regional Councillors to consider.
  • Tamworth Regional Sporting Hall of Fame
  • The criteria to become a member of the Sporting Hall of Fame is as follows:
  1. Nominees must have represented and/or been selected for Australia in a playing capacity, in a competitive sport at a senior* level that is recognised by the Australian Sports Commission, the Australian Institute of Sport and any other national body.
  2. The nominated athlete must have received the majority of their primary and secondary education in the Tamworth LGA.
  3. The nominated athlete’s Australian sports skills must have been initialised and/or developed within the Tamworth LGA. Example of non-qualification include: someone who came to the Tamworth region for a short period of time for coaching or sporting facilities but was not born or educated in the region.
    *Senior means no age group, no junior, no country level, no veterans, no A teams, no Prime Minister’s selected teams.

    The Sports Working Group reserves the right to include and accept nomination for an individual who might, in exceptional circumstances, have achieved distinction in a sporting activity that may not necessarily be specified in the above criteria.

What criteria must I meet?

Awards Criteria

  • Nominations can be made for individual sports stars, teams, coaches or administrators.
  • The nominee must be a resident of the Tamworth Regional Council Local Government Area (LGA) or must have lived in the area during the qualifying period.
  • Nominations are for achievements in sport (e.g. performances, representative selection, contributions etc.).
  • The performance qualifying period for the awards is from 1 January, 2019 to 9 October, 2019.

Who judges the awards?


The judging panel for the 2019 Tamworth Regional Council Sports Awards consists of:

Our supporters

Events like the 2019 Tamworth Regional Sports Awards would not be possible without valued input from community.

Thank you to the following businesses for their support.