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Newcastle footballers Johnston, Peters inducted into Hall of Champions


It’s been a stellar evening for Newcastle stars at this week’s 2022 rebel NSW Champions of Sport ceremony.

Talented paratriathlete Lauren Parker, who recently won the PTWC crown at the 2022 World Triathlon Championship Finals in Abu Dhabi, claimed the Athlete of the Year with a Disability title for a third time at a gala dinner at Darling Harbour’s International Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Lauren Parker. Photo: Dianne Engesser/Narrative Post

Not to be outdone, fellow locals Craig Johnston and Joanne “Joey” Peters were inducted into the NSW Hall of Champions.

Surfer Stephanie Gilmore picked up the prestigious Athlete of the Year accolade.

Parker, who secured the 2018 and 2019 honours, remains the globe’s top ranked paratriathlete.

She demonstrated her dominance enjoying World Championship success in both short course and long course distances.

The 33-year-old also became the first parathlete in history to hold simultaneous international titles in both World Triathlon and Ironman events.

2022 NSW Hall of Champions inductee Craig Johnston. Photo: Matthias Engesser/Narrative Post

Johnston, who grew up playing football in Lake Macquarie, is a Liverpool legend.

Between 1981 and 1988, he made 271 appearances for The Reds, finding the back of the net on 40 occasions.

He collected the European Cup, five league titles and an FA Cup, scoring in the 1986 final.

2022 NSW Hall of Champions inductee Joanne “Joey” Peters. Photo: Matthias Engesser/Narrative Post

Peters, a central midfielder for the Newcastle Jets in 2008, represented the “green and gold” 110 times from 1996 to 2009, snaring 28 goals.

The 43-year-old had a stint with Brazilian club Santos, too, becoming the first Australian woman to play professional football in South America.

Sport NSW chairperson Chris Hall congratulated all winners and finalists, saying they brought great credit to themselves and their sport.

“NSW is the premier state for sport in Australia,” he said.

“Our brilliant winners and finalists are beacons of inspiration for aspiring athletes, coaches, officials, and administrators.

“We pay tribute to all of them and wish them every success in the years to come.”

Along with Johnston and Peters, Brad Dalton (basketball), Phil Kearns AM (rugby union), Prashanth Sellathurai (gymnastics) and Liesl Tesch AM (wheelchair basketball and para sailing) were named NSW Hall of Champions as well.

The full list of award winners:

  • Athlete of the Year: Stephanie Gilmore (surfing)
  • Athlete of the Year with a Disability: Lauren Parker (paratriathlon)
  • Young Athlete of the Year: Valentino Guseli (snowboard halfpipe)
  • Young Athlete of the Year with a Disability: Jasmine Greenwood (swimming)
  • Masters Athlete of the Year: Janelle Delaney (athletics)
  • Team of the Year: Penrith Panthers (NRL)
  • Team of the Year with a Disability: Para Matildas Cerebral Palsy Women’s Football Team (Cerebral Palsy Football)
  • Administrator of the Year: Baz Wedmaier (volleyball)
  • Coach of the Year: Alex Stewart (athletics)
  • Event of the Year: Netball NSW Senior State Titles (netball)
  • Official of the Year: Claire Polosak (cricket)
  • Organisation of the Year: NSW Rugby League (rugby league)

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