Sports stars John Skandalis and Botille Vette-Welsh at the Magpies Sports Awards.

The Magpie Sports Awards returned to Western Sydney on Friday after a three-year forced hiatus due to the pandemic. The awards, a 61-year tradition, celebrates and rewards sporting organisations, champions and volunteers in the local community. 

“We are proud of this longstanding tradition that recognises the incredible achievements of these dedicated athletes and volunteers,” said Simon Cook, CEO of Holman Barnes Group which comprises Wests Ashfield Leagues Club, Croydon Sports Club, Markets Club and the future Balmain Leagues Club. HBG also has representation in Wests Magpies and shareholding at Wests Tigers.

“The Magpie Sports Awards highlights the importance of community involvement and inspires the next generation of athletes and sports enthusiasts.” 

Each of the recipients and their respective sporting organisations received a share of $20,000 in prizemoney, with the Magpie Team Award players receiving an exclusive tour of the Wests Tigers Centre of Excellence in Concord. 

The winners in each category are: 

  • Magpie Award: Hektor Giotopoulos Moore, Sydney Figure Skating Club 
  • Magpie Junior Award: Harper Stewart, UNSW Wests Water Polo Club 
  • Magpie Volunteer Award: Mark Norris, Western Suburbs District Cricket Club 
  • Magpie Team Award: UNSW Wests Magpies, UNSW Wests Water Polo Club and Wests Boomers Peaches Junior League Baseball Team, Wests Boomers Baseball Club 
  • Directors’ Encouragement Award: Qixuan Sun, UTS Fencing 

The black-tie event was held at Wests Ashfield Leagues Club and featured a panel discussion with sports stars John Skandalis of Wests Tigers, Captain of Melbourne City and APIA Club Rhianna Pollicina and Botille Vette-Welsh of Wests Tigers NRLW.

HBG has dedicated more than $2 million to fund sporting groups for the 2023 season so far. 

“While we get to support many local teams and organisations throughout the year, the awards provides a special platform for local sporting clubs and their dedicated members to celebrate one another, with nominees chosen by their peers and community members,” Cook added.

In other club sport news, Bankstown Sports Group has congratulated Baulkham Hills Sports Hockey member, Ash Thomas, who will debut for Australia as goalkeeper in the Kookaburras squad heading to Europe for the FIH Pro League. 

Thomas has been playing for Baulkham Hills Sports Hockey Club, a Bankstown Sports Group club, for 15 years. The games against the Netherlands and Belgium will be a warm-up to August’s Oceania Cup, which will determine qualification for the Paris Olympics. 

“Ever since I started playing sport, I’ve dreamed of playing for Australia,” the 27-year-old says of his dream come true. “After years of hard work, I’m really excited by this opportunity, and I can’t wait to make the most of it and enjoy the new challenges.”

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