newsdog Facebook

The Don award: Winner set to be announced; nine athletes in running

The Advertiser 2019-10-09 15:05:00

Two tennis players, a footballer, a pair of Ashes-winning cricketers, a swimmer, a motorsport great, a cyclist and a surfing champion walk into Crown Palladium.

There’s no punchline — but on Thursday night one will leave as a first-time winner of The Don award.

Melburnian Dylan Alcott is a finalist for the esteemed award for a second time and said he had been heavily inspired by the sportsman it is named in honour of, Sir Don Bradman.

“Growing up, I think to a lot of people he meant inspiration and hope,” Alcott said.

“I didn’t know what I wanted to do at that time, but I knew whatever it was that I wanted to be great at it. He was a big part of inspiring that.”

The award seeks to honour an individual or team that in their achievements and example over the last year are considered to most inspire the nation.

Stream over 50 sports live & anytime on your TV or favourite device with KAYO SPORTS. The biggest Aussie sports and the best from overseas. Just $25/month. No lock-in contract. Get your 14 day free trial >

Tennis star Ash Barty — who this year claimed her first major, at the French Open — will be at Crown for Thursday night’s event and said the nomination was “a huge honour”.

“I hope I can follow Sir Don’s example and do Australia proud,” she said.

Cooper Cronk — fresh from Sydney’s back-to-back NRL premiership on Sunday — is a nominee, while cyclist Caleb Ewan is also in contention after claiming three stages at this year’s Tour de France.

“Like Sir Donald Bradman, I also hail from Bowral but maybe that’s where the similarities end, particularly on a cricket field,” Ewan exclaimed.

“To me he was a person that was not only the very best at his chosen sport cricket, but a person that represented Australia with such distinction and integrity at all times despite the circumstances and it seems to me that it was as important to him as his on-field deeds.”

Lucky number seven victories have resulted in nominations for surfing star Stephanie Gilmore — a three-time finalist after claiming her seventh world title — and Supercars great Craig Lowndes following his seventh victory at Bathurst last year.

Cricket stars Tim Paine and Ellyse Perry are also in contention after their respective Ashes performances, with Paine recognised for leading Australia to retaining the Ashes and his captaincy in the face of adversity over the last 12 months.

Young swimming world champion Ariarne Titmus said she had been completely humbled by the nomination.

“I swim because I love it, and representing our country is an honour I hold very high,” she said.

“As little as two years ago, I never thought I would be in this position nominated alongside some of Australia’s greatest athletes. To me, being nominated means that not only am I doing myself and my family proud, I am inspiring the people of Australia which completely humbles me.”

Seven sporting figures are set to be inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame, with Matt Cowdrey, Dennis Cometti, Russell Mark, Robbie McEwen, Stephanie Rice, Cheryl Salisbury and Emma Snowsill to be recognised at Thursday night’s event.


“I feel as athletes we all strive to be the best we can be and Sir Donald Bradman certainly embodied that.”


“(Bradman) is someone I have always looked up to, for his talent and the way he conducted himself throughout his life.”


“Given I spend so much of my life and so much of my career overseas, it is very special to be acknowledged in Australia this way by our elite sporting body alongside so many inspirational champions of Australian sport.”


“To be named as a finalist for the 2019 Don Award, to put it simply, is the most humbling honour in my sporting career.”


“Sir Donald Bradman is recognised for his excellence far beyond his sport in a way that inspires many and that is the importance of having this kind of role. I have always strived to do this in my own legacy and continue to.”


“It is an incredible honour, he was one of the greatest athletes our country has seen. To be recognised as a finalist for such a prestigious award among Australian sporting greats — it makes me both proud to represent my sport of Supercars, but also my achievements during my career.”


“I am deeply humbled to have been selected as a finalist in the Don Award for 2019. Any award carrying the name of Sir Donald Bradman, has great meaning for any Australian cricketer.”


“Bradman personifies the greatest ideals of sport and achievement, so to be nominated for an award named in his honour is very special.”


“For this award to be named after him, I believe he is arguably Australia’s greatest sporting hero. His achievements will continue to inspire our country for many, many years.”

Originally published as Inspiring feats put nine in running for The Don