Bendigo Academy of Sport Annual Presentation Evening

The Bendigo Academy of Sport Annual Presentation Gala Evening celebrated the successes of the athletes and coaches for the 2018/2019 year.


The Bendigo Academy of Sport Athlete of the Year went to Piper Dunlop [Individual Athlete]

Piper was awarded the Gary Tierney Memorial Scholarship Award at a Gala Ceremony on Friday 24th May at the All Seasons presented by Margaret Keech Chair of the BAS Board, John McGrath long-time family friend of Gary Tierney and Alistair Donohoe [VIS Athlete, Rio Paralympian and Para-cycling Road World Champion].

Piper achieved the following:

  • Represented Australia in the FIBA U15 gold-medal winning team at the Oceania Games
  • Represented Victoria Country at the Australian Junior Championships in Queensland
  • Australian Country Junior Basketball Cup team that won gold medal
  • Qualified for Victorian Junior Basketball League at Champs level, the highest level in Victoria
  • Selected for Bendigo Youth League team for Women’s Championships in 2019
  • Selected as development player for NBL1 Bendigo IGA Lady Braves

Piper is a talented young athlete who has already been competing for Australia on the International stage now for two years. She was a member of the Bendigo Braves U18 girl’s squad that won the Victorian Country Basketball Championships. She represented Australia in the FIBA U15 Australian Sapphires team that won a gold medal at the Oceania Games, which has now qualified them for the Asia games with Piper herself averaging 11.8 points per game.

Piper is also a talented netballer and was previously in the BAS Netball Squad for two years and has been involved with the La Trobe University Strength and Conditioning program for three years.


Academy Coach of the Year Matt Hicks Matt has been the Tennis Victoria appointed tennis coach to the Bendigo Academy of Sport since 2015. During this time, he has demonstrated an enormous amount of enthusiasm, dedication and enjoyment to all training sessions.

The athletes have excelled under Matt’s guidance and he has even played doubles in tournaments with some – not only does he talk the talk he walks the walks. Matt’s best ranking for an Australian male tennis player was 72 in 2012. He is a 6 times Inter-regional Men’s Open Champion and won the Victorian Grass Courts Championships in 2011. He is the current Mens 35 and over National Champion.

His support at tournaments is outstanding and he develops great team morale and culture.

This year Matt was appointed coach of the School Sport Victoria state tennis team for secondary schools – the Pizzey Cup team which competed in the School Sport Australia Championships.

All athletes have the upmost respect for Matt and this is clear by the way the athletes train and interact with him.


“Frank Roberts’s outstanding service award – Vicki Poyser and Leonie Roberts

Vicki has a long history with the Bendigo Academy of Sport having joined the Board in 2007 whilst she was the Director of Sports at Bendigo Senior Secondary College.

Vicki has always had a passion for sport and the youth of Bendigo thus she was a perfect fit to be a Board Member. Having been involved in elite sport Vicki brought wonderful skills and knowledge to the Board and especially the Programs sub-committee, which she chaired just before her retirement.

Vicki continues her involvement with Hockey Australia and their development of the next generation of Australian representatives.

Leonie has been a stalwart of the Bendigo Academy of Sport since joining the board in 2002. Since then she has undertaken the roles of Vice Chair, Chair of the HR Committee as well as being on the Finance Committee. Her skills as a Principal and recently as a Senior Educational Improvement Leader provided excellent governance especially in the management of young people.

Leonie’s involvement with the Bendigo Academy of Sport was initially through her husband Gary being one of the first academy coaches; later both of her children Laura and Lewis were members of the Bendigo Hire Volleyball Squad gaining state and national selection. Leonie has also recently represented Australian in the World Masters Volleyball event.


Among the special guests attending the evening celebrations were; Maree Edwards MP, Mayor Cr. Margaret O’Rourke, & Alistair Donohoe. Alistair is a Victorian Institute of Sport athlete and is Para-cycling World Champion. In September 2016, Alistair represented Australia at the Rio Paralympics where he won silver medals in the Men’s Individual Pursuit C5 and the Men’s Road Time Trial C5 events.

Alistair’s Career Highlights:


2018/2019 Bendigo Academy of Sport Award winners:


Athlete of the Year – James Humphry

Coaches Encouragement – Ebony Merlo

Clay Target Shooting

Athlete of the Year – Oliver Boucher

Coaches Encouragement – Olivia Ford


Athlete of the Year – Cooper Gentle

Coaches Encouragement – D’Arcy Whyte


Individual Athletes

Athlete of the Year – Piper Dunlop

Coaches Encouragement – Yazmin Hayes

Netball Bendigo

Athlete of the Year – Kasey Conder

Coaches Encouragement – Isabella McIlwain

Netball North East

Athlete of the Year – Sophie Garner

Coaches Encouragement – Elsie Boyer


Athlete of the Year – Olivia Quigley

Coaches Encouragement – Tom Waterson


Athlete of the Year – Scott Johnson

Coaches Encouragement – Isabel St Clair


written by: Mark Perdon