Winning an individual award for a player of a team sport is always a tricky proposition.
All the same, the Matildas enjoyed a great year in 2017, such that Samantha Kerr was awarded the ABC Sports Personality of the Year accolade at the AIS Sport Performance Awards ceremony in Sydney.
The Australian public votes on the recipient of the award, which may not sit well with those who think they have a better grip on performance that does the public, but others feel that a public vote is less subject to the subjectivity that so-called experts often exhibit.
Kerr won from Aussie Kangaroos’ skipper Cameron Smith in a year when anyone named Cameron seemed to enjoy a decided advantage. She also beat out Dustin Martin of the AFL and Paralympic champion Curtis McGrath.
Kerr is accumulating quite a haul. She won the Julie Dolan Medal as the best of the W-League, to go along with the AFC Women’s Player of the Year, the Professional Footballers Australia Women’s Player of the Year and the Women’s Health Women in Sport Award Sportswoman of the Year.
Kerr was denied the FIFA Best Women’s Player, of the year or any other time period, even though she topped the list of scorers in the National Women’s Soccer League in the U.S.
The Australian public also picked the Matildas for the Public Choice Team of the Year over the NRL’s Melbourne Storm, the AFL Richmond Tigers and the Australian Diamonds netball team.
Women’s sports in Australia is enjoying a nice surge in popularity and the Matildas were prime beneficiaries, taking home the Team of the Year nod at the Women in Sports awards.
Matildas’ Coach Alen Stajcic was the recipient of the AIS’ Coach of the Year award.
The Matildas were finalists in six award categories, but they were not mentioned in any of the winter sports categories, but on reflection, that seem appropriate and fitting. The number of awards seems to be growing almost faster than the sports on which they are based, although we have yet to see an award for participation or perfect attendance.