West Auckland sporting excellence celebrated
The west's best athletes, volunteers and administrators were recognised on Saturday night at the The Trusts Sport Waitakere Excellence Awards 2016.
The awards evening was held for the first time at a packed Te Atatu Peninsula Community Centre.
Following their Gallaher Shield winning season, Suburbs Rugby Football Club edged out the likes of Waitakere City and The Western Magpies Softball Club for team of the year.
Head coach Charlie McAlister took the opportunity to thank the club's old boys and behind the scenes staff and says the team's success is already paying dividends for the club.
"You can see the effects already," he says.
"Just player-wise, at this time of year we would typically get 10-15 down to trainings. We had about 30-40 last week and that is a direct result of the hard work the club put in last year and the years prior which is just awesome."
McAlister was also nominated for coach of the year, but lost out to Western Magpies premier women's coach, Tua Raroa.
Raroa, who is also the club's chairman, lead his side to the national club championships and also picked up New Zealand Softball coach of the year at their recent awards night.
In the secondary schools field, the national champion Kelston Girls College Waka Ama team beat out their brother school, Kelston Boys High School, for team of the year with lead rower Grace Lui also winning secondary schools sportsperson of the year.
In the evening's other major awards, olympian Mahe Drysdale picked up sportsman of the year while sportswoman of the year was shared between football ferns Amber Hearn and Erin Nayler.
Performances by local musicians rounded off the evening before Drysdale was awarded the Sport Waitakere supreme award.
The late Sir Graeme Douglas was also acknowledged with the legacy award, for his services to local sport.
FULL LIST OF WINNERS:
Lorna Manu – Netball
Stephen Fletcher – Football
Neree Wright – Diving
Nikolai Gordon – Surf Life Saving
Suzanne Strangward – Roller Sport
Gary Donovan – Rugby
Sport Volunteer of the Year – Paul Misslebrook, Special Olympics West Auckland
Administrator of the Year – Deb Collis, Auckland Waitakere Roller Sports
Youth Leadership in Sport Award – Shanae Jansen, Rutherford College
Secondary School Team of the Year – Kelston Girls College Waka Ama
Secondary School Sportsperson of the Year – Grace Lui, Kelston Girls College.
Junior Sportswoman of the Year – Gabrielle Fa'amausili, Avondale College.
Junior Sportsman of the Year – Byron Chivers, Oliver MMA.
Pacific Island Achievement Award – Gabrielle Fa'amausili.
Maori Achievement Award – Byron Chivers, Oliver MMA
Coach of the Year – Tua Raroa, Western Magpies Softball
Club of the Year – Bethells Beach Surf Life Saving
Team of the Year – Suburbs Rugby Premier Men
Sportswoman of the Year – Amber Hearn and Erin Nayler, NZ Football Ferns
Sportsman of the Year – Mahe Drysdale
Legacy Award – Sir Graeme Douglas
Supreme Award – Mahe Drysdal