Hunter Region Sporting Hall of Fame
The 31st Hunter Region Sporting Hall of Fame inducted six Hunter athletes on Thursday, 24th August at Newcastle Harness Racing Club. A full gallery of photos from the event can be found HERE.
The Hunter Region Sporting Hall of Fame is made up of over 350 top athletes who have represented Australia or competed in an international tournament and were born and/or played in the Hunter region at the junior or senior level.
The following athletes were recognized and receive the elite honour of being inducted into the Hall of Fame. Those inducted were:
Bridgette Starr (Football)
Bridgette was first selected into the Australian Women’s Soccer team in September 1994 for the one-off test match in Japan at 18 years old. She was the first indigenous woman footballer to represent Australia. She competed in the Oceania World Cup qualifiers in October 1994 in Papua New Guinea, and in the United States Women’s Cup in the following month. Bridgette was selected as one of the 20 national squad players to take a full-time residential scholarship at the Australian Institute of Sport Canberra for 1998, 1999 and early 2000. She scored her first international goal in the must-win final of the Oceania World Cup qualifiers in October 1998. Bridgette was a member of the Australian team for the 1999 World Cup and also a member of the Australian Youth Team which won the 1993 Dana Cup in Denmark; Australian Youth Team tour to New Zealand 1994. Bridgette won the 1999/2000 Ansett Summer Series national league le as a member of the NSW Sapphires. She also won the 1997, National Senior Championship as a member of the Northern NSW State Team. Bridgette was also a member of the Australian squad for the 2000 Olympics in Sydney - a highlight of her career.
Jessica Herring, Nee Malone (Judo)
Jessica is an Australian judoka, who competed in the women's heavyweight category. She held five Australian titles in her own division, picked up dozens medals in her career, including a single gold in her division from the 2004 Oceania Championships in Noumea, New Caledonia, and represented AUstralia as a 17-year-old teen, at the 2004 Summer Olympics. Jessica qualified for the Australian squad, as a 17 year old, in the womens heavy-weight class (+78 kg) at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, by topping the field of judoka and receiving a berth from the Oceania Championships in Noumea, New Caledonia.
Rebecca Young (Rugby League, Rugby Union)
Rebecca is a former Australian rugby league and rugby union footballer who played for the Sydney Roosters in the NRL Womens Premiership. Primarily a prop, she is an Australian, New South Wales, Indigenous All Stars and Prime Minister's XIII representative. In Rugby Union, she represented Australia at the 2006 Women's Rugby World Cup in Canada. She was also named in the in the Wallaroos 22-player squad that toured New Zealand in October 2007. In 2013, Rebecca was a member of Australia's 2013 and 2017 Women's Rugby League World Cup-winning squads. On 6 October 2018, she captained the Prime Minister's XIII and in 2019 she joined the Sydney Roosters NRL Women's premiership squad.
Siennah Pirona (Aerobics)
Siennah started her career in Sport Aerobics at the age of 10, in a school aerobics team at Jewells Primary School and moved into competing individually in 2012. Her first individual competition was the State championships that she placed 1st in, then followed placing 2nd in The National Championships in Adelaide. This gave her entry into her first World Championship at the tender age of 11 in Dordrecht, The Netherlands. She competed against 32 athletes from around the world and placed 1st winning her first Gold Medal of many World Championships. Siennah continued to represent her country for 8 consecutive years, winning 4 Gold Medals, 2 Silvers, and a 3rd place all around Europe.
Simon Orchard (Hockey)
Born in Muswellbrook, Simon is a former member of the Australia Kookaburras team. In 2008, he made his senior national team debut at the Five Nations men's hockey tournament in South Africa. He represented Australia at the 2009 Champions Trophy, where his team earned a gold medal. In 2010, he won a gold medal at the World Cup and went on to represent Australia at the 2010 Commonwealth Games. In the gold medal match against India that Australia won 8–0, he scored a goal. In December 2011, he was named in the 2012 Summer Olympics Australian men's training squad and then selected to play for Australia in the 2012 Summer Olympics, scoring two goals, including one in the bronze medal match where Australia beat Great Britain 3–1.
Troy Bayliss (Motorcycle Racing)
Troy began his racing career at his home in Taree, competing in motocross and dirt track racing before entering the Australian 250GP Championship and then moving into the 600 class. In 1997, Bayliss substituted for an injured rider at the Phillip Island Superbike World Championship event, which showcased his talent and was soon signed by GSE Racing to compete in Britain. ‘Baylisstic’ appeared in his first season in the UK, getting to grips with the tricky UK circuits before taking the title at the final round of the 1999 season, accumulating a total of nine race wins. He then moved to the American Championship, before he was called up by Ducati in the factory Superbike World Championship team. From there he didn’t look back, celebrating three World titles in the Superbike series and became a MotoGP race winner..