Water Polo and AFL clubs the big winners at Blues Dinner

29 May 2019
UNSW Sydney Sport Blues winners

It was a night of celebration and excitement as the new Blues were inducted and awards were handed out to very deserving winners.

“You need to remember that in our community, sport is the glue that binds and unites us all,” said UNSW’s Head of Sport and Community Mark Wright as he welcomed guests to the 2019 Blues Dinner and Sport Awards. These words proved true throughout the evening, as the entire UNSW sporting community celebrated as one.

First to be presented was the Doug Crawford Sports Recognition Awards for club members who provide continuous outstanding contributions to sport at UNSW. Doug Crawford, who has been a passionate contributor to UNSW Sport since 1952, was on hand to present the awards to the winners: Chris Lewis (Underwater Club), Janina Veri (Waterski and Wakeboard Club), Michael Pickford (Rowing Club), Jemma Still (AFL Club), Gonzalo Serna Diaz (Underwater Rugby Club).

The UNSW Sports Awards followed, starting with a tie for the Academic Excellence Award shared between Kookaburras Hockey representative Tim Brand and elite swimmer Jordan White. The Administrator of the Year was awarded to President of the UNSW-ES Bulldogs AFL Club, Stephen Dunkley, who has been instrumental in the incredible successes the club has seen in recent years.

Coach of the Year was a hotly contested category, with several premiership winning coaches among the nominees. Tim Hamill, who coached the UNSW Killer Whales women’s water polo to a national league win in 2018, was the winner among many deserving candidates.

Australian Rugby 7s representative Triston Reilly took out the Indigenous Athlete of the Year, following up his Jennifer Mar Young Elite Athlete Award at the Nura Gili Awards in late 2018.

The Male and Female Student Athlete of the Year Awards were won by Tim Brand, taking his second award of the night, and Hobart Hurricanes cricketer Georgia Redmayne.

The Killer Whales capped off an incredible night with a win in the Team of the Year category, while Stephen Dunkley came back to stage to claim the Bulldogs’ award for Club of the Year, after their teams won four premierships in a fantastic 2018 season.

The highpoint of the night was the induction of the new Blues. The awarding of Blues for university sport dates back to 19th century sporting contests between Oxford and Cambridge and is an extremely high honour for student athletes. This year’s Blues included:

  • Britney Carlson – Volleyball
  • Daniel Swinnerton – Water Polo
  • Fiona Walsh – Water Polo
  • Georgia Winkcup – Athletics
  • Graham Brennan – Hockey
  • Marcus Atallah – Cricket
  • Lucy Copeland – Sailing
  • Paul Darmanin – Sailing
  • Paul Rozenbroek – Rugby Union
  • Ned Hanigan – Rugby Union
  • Tom Banuelos – AFL

The night included recognition of medals and premierships won throughout 2018 across the UNSW Sport community. A panel discussion featuring Wallabies and Waratahs player Ned Hanigan, Olympic water polo representative Lea Yanitsas and Hobart Hurricanes cricketer Georgia Redmayne was a highlight of the event – the group sharing their experiences of competing in elite sport while at university and the challenges and advantages of balancing the two.

The annual Blues dinner is a much-loved tradition at UNSW and is a great way to recognise all the incredible contributions to sport made throughout the year.