The Deakin Melbourne Boomers have toasted an amazing year at a glittering awards night.
After a much-publicised fight for survival and change of ownership during 2016, the Boomers bounced back to capture the hearts and minds of fans across Melbourne. Though a 5-19 season saw the Boomers miss the playoffs, a 47 per cent rise in crowd numbers signalled a strong return for the 33-year old club.
The awards night featured a number of accolades, the evening starting with the exciting news that Monique Conti had won the Betty Watson WNBL Rookie of the Year Award.
"Everyone at the club is delighted for Mon, she joins some greats of the game, including our own Lauren Jackson, as a winner of this prestigious league award," said Coach Guy Molloy when the announcement was made.
The big winners on the night included Brittany Smart (Michele Timms MVP and Players' Player Award), Maddie Garrick (Members' Player Award and High Performance Player Award), Bec Ott (Most Improved Player) and Tegan Cunningham (Coach's Award), while David Roberts and Kristy Moore were joint winners of the AVJennings Volunteer of the Year.
General Manager Justin Nelson gave a heart-felt speech when he was awarded the inaugural Boomers SpiritÊAward, named in honour of the late Linda Perry.
"I'm honoured and humbled to receive this award. Linda was passionate, dedicated and committed to the Boomers and I can only hope that I'm delivering those same traits in what we are working hard to do at the club," said Nelson in front of the large crowd.
"It's very surreal to be standing here, I honestly didn't know if the club would survive. Linda would be very proud of where we are today, and she would be excited for what the future holds at the Boomers."
Justin Nelson accepts the Boomers Spirit Award, named in honour of Linda Perry.
Maddie Garrick with David Crawford (Deakin University) accepting the High Performance Player of the Year Award.
WNBL Rookie of the Year Monique Conti celebrated her first season with the Boomers, supported as always by mum Simone and sister Gabby.
Tegan Cunningham pictured with Melanie Fineberg (VicHealth) and Coach Guy Molloy.
Bec Ott accepts her Most Improved Award with MC Jason Bennett.