Superstar striker Sam Kerr was awarded ABC Sports Personality of the Year, an award voted on by the Australian public, while the Matildas won Public Choice Team of the Year with coach Alen Stajcic named Coach of the Year on Tuesday night.
It has been an incredible 12 months for Kerr, who won the Julie Dolan Medal as the W-League’s best player last season and since, was named AFC Women’s Play of the Year, Professional Footballers Australia Women’s Player of the Year and the Women’s Health Women in Sport Award Sportswoman of the Year.
Kerr was also short-listed for the FIFA Best Women’s Player but was controversially overlooked in the list of final contenders despite her incredible form throughout the year — including being the top goalscorer with 17 in the National Women’s Soccer League in the US.
Kerr beat out other 2017 superstars including Australian Kangaroos skipper Cameron Smith (who led his club, state and country to titles), as well as AFL star Dustin Martin and Paralympic champion Curtis McGrath.
As a team the Matildas have gone from strength to strength, with a breakthrough victory in the Tournament of Nations — where they beat the United States for the first time, and had big wins over Brazil and Japan.
They continued their amazing run with back-to-back victories over Brazil in September friendlies while most recently defeating China in two friendlies.
Under Stajcic, the Matildas are now seen as a favourites for the Asian Cup in April next year, and genuine contenders for the next FIFA Women's World Cup in France in 2019.
The Matildas were finalists in six award categories, including Best Sporting Moment of the Year for their historic victory at the Tournament of Nations, but they were beaten for that gong by world champion boxer Jeff Horn for his underdog victory against Manny Pacquiao.
AIS SPORT PERFORMANCE AWARD WINNERS
ABC Sports Personality of the Year - Sam Kerr (Football)
Female Athlete of the Year -Sally Pearson (Athletics)
Male Athlete of the Year - Scott James (Winter Sport)
Public Choice Team of the Year - Matildas (Soccer)
Best Sporting Moment - Jeff Horn's world boxing title (Boxing)
Coach of the Year - Alen Stajcic (Soccer)
Para Performance of the Year - Mitchell Gourley (Winter Sport)
Emerging Athlete of the Year - Kelland O'Brien (Cycling)
Team of the Year - Australian Freestyle Skiing and Snowboard (Winter Sport)
Award for Leadership - Susan Alberti (AFL)
Service to Sport - Glenn Tasker (Australian Paralympic Committee)