2017 continues to be a year of recognition for the Matildas with the women’s national team among seven nominees for the Sport Australia Hall of Fame “The Don” Award.
The Don Award is widely regarded as Australia’s leading contemporary sporting award and is named in honour of Australian sporting legend and first Sport Australia Hall of Fame Inductee, the late Sir Donald Bradman AC.
Drawing from a long list of 20 potential candidates, the Matildas have joined Sally Pearson (athletics), Jeff Horn (boxing), Erin Phillips (AFL), Emily Seebohm (swimming),Johnathan Thurston (league) and Tyler Wright (Surfing) as being recognised as Australia’s best performers over the past year.
It follows a year in which the number six ranked Australia claimed victories over several top 10 nations including the Netherlands, Japan, Brazil and a first ever win over reigning world champions the United States – finishing fourth at the Algarve Cup and taking out the Tournament of Nations.
Sport Australia Hall of Fame selection committee chair Rob de Castella AO MBE said ‘The Don’ is awarded annually to the athlete or team who, through their performance and example over the past year (September 2016 – September 2017), has most inspired the nation.
The criteria for the award is inspired by the words of Sir Donald at the time of becoming the first inductee in the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 1985.
“The Don Award is not an award for the most popular or the best performance of the year, but much more,” de Castella said
“The Don Award seeks to capture, celebrate, recognise and reward the individual or team who has ‘most inspired the nation’ through their performance.” Rob de Castella
The Matildas were the only national team nominated in 2017.
The Don Awards gala will also see eight Australian sporting icons, from on and off the field, inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame.
The Don Awards gala will be on 12 October 2017 at the Palladium at Crown, Melbourne.