Southern Riverina news
Sarah makes Coly A-grade history
Sarah Hooper has made history as the first Coleambally Netball Club A-grade player to win a league Best & Fairest.
Hooper claimed the Farrer League’s top award last week.
She was also named as the goal attack in the league’s A-grade team of the year, alongside fellow Coly player Lauren Pound as shooter.
It was a family connection that brought Hooper to the club in the first place.
Her fiance Max Hillier’s brother Luke Hillier was already involved in the club.
He encouraged Max, Hooper and her brother Bryce Hooper to come across the border from Victoria to suit up for the Coly Blues this year.
Hooper is not new to the Farrer League, and has also had a storied career in the Riverina League.
She had previously made five teams of the year across both leagues, and this wealth of experience added a new dimension and perspective mentoring a young, talented A-grade side this year.
Having polled the highest number of league votes in A-grade, Hooper was awarded the Marilyn Brooks Medal.
She polled 23 - three clear of the dual runners-up - and achieved a major milestone for her club at the same time.
Choosing to travel each week to play and coach netball was a big one for Hooper, who admits she did not know what to expect.
But she soon realised “the team was so full of young talent”, and praised the side for their “hard work and good game play” which lead to success on the court.
“We all bonded well, and our continual development led to a finals run. But sadly we lost last week in extra time.
“It’s a testament to the girls’ hard work and taking direction on board.
“I couldn’t be prouder of them all.”
Apart from finals, the highlight of the season for Hooper was going in as underdogs and knocking off top of the ladder North Wagga, with a “very unexpected” one goal win.
Hooper was not the only Coly Blues member celebrated at the Farrer League awards.
Damian Manned received the Volunteer of the Year Award, and a number of other netballers and footballers polled well.
B-grade: Hannah Pound, equal third.
C-grade: Bronwyn Aplin, fourth.
Rising Star: Ash Hattwell. Football awards:
Seniors: Luke Hillier, fourth.
Seniors Team of the Year: Luke and Max Hillier.
Rising Star: Liam Horton.