Morseu and Cox win Deadlys + VIDEO
Olympians Danny Morseu and Rohanee Cox were last night honoured before a capacity crowd at the 15th Deadly Awards in the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall.
Morseu received the prestigious Ella Award for his contribution to Sport while Cox won the Female Sportsperson of the Year Award for the third year running.
Morseu’s award has the added honour of induction into the Deadly Academy Hall of Fame.
[ AUDIO: 12 Good Minutes with Danny Morseu ]
Showcasing the strength, pride, talent and determination of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the who’s who of excellence in sport, music, health, education, employment, film, media, art, design, literature and theatre were announced in 20 categories; nominated by the community and voted on by the community.
[ See the complete list of winners ]
Former Australian Idol contestant Jessica Mauboy collected a swag of awards including Female Artist of the Year, Single of the Year for her hit Burn, and Album of the Year for her debut Been Waiting.
Morseu represented Australia at the 1980 (Moscow) and 1984 (Los Angeles) Olympic Games as well as the 1978 World Championship (Manila) and was the second indigenous athlete to represent the Boomers at an Olympic Games behind Michael Ah Matt (Tokyo 1964).
He is also the uncle of Australian Boomer Patty Mills.
Cox represented the Australian Opals at the Olympic Games in Beijing and won the Most Valuable Player Award for the Women’s National Basketball League season that concluded in February. She also represented the Opals with distinction throughout the 2009 program.
While Morseu and Cox came away with the hardware, nominees Patty Mills and Nathan Jawai did not get the gongs for Male Sportsperson of the Year.
That award, won by Mills at last year’s Deadlys, went to retiring Sydney Swans star Michael O’Laughlin.
Cox, Mills and Jawai are more than great basketball players; they are the poster children for Basketball Australia’s talent identification and fast-tracking program for Aboriginal kids, Finding Deadly Basketballers.
Introduced in 2007, the program involves going into remote and urban Aboriginal communities, finding gifted kids and offering them coaching and access to organised competition.
“We wanted to broaden the net of where we were looking and then, as we found people, bring them into the mainstream development programs," Basketball Australia's Michael Haynes told The Age’s Dan Silkstone last year.
"If you look at the AFL now every team has indigenous players. Young guys in these communities can look at them and say 'I can get there'. We want to be creating those heroes and those role models."
Basketball Australia conducts “prospects” camps — the equivalent of the AFL's draft camp – where coaches from around the country fly in to check out the talent, Silkstone wrote.
Already the program has been to Thursday Island and uncovered some exciting prospects. Some players have been relocated to boarding school in Cairns, where they will receive coaching and play in local competitions.
Testing has also been carried out in northern NSW, some in Sydney and some in Western Australia. There have also been links with the Victorian Aboriginal Sport and Recreation Organisation.
"In the whole year we have probably had 500 or 600 Aboriginal kids we've looked at," Haynes said. "What they offer the sport is as athletes … there is an intuitiveness about how they approach sport. I can't define why you see so many indigenous athletes that have great awareness of the court."
Ella Award winner Danny Morseu (2nd from L) with the 1980 Olympic men's basketball team