20 December 2021 | Tennis SA

South Australia claimed three awards at the 2021 Newcombe Medal, Australian Tennis Awards on Friday night, winning the Most Outstanding School, Coaching Excellence – Club and Coaching Excellence – Development awards.

Announced as winners of the prestigious awards during a gala virtual ceremony hosted by Casey Dellacqua and Todd Woodbridge, Cobdogla Primary School, Domenic Marafiote (East Torrens Kensington Gardens Tennis Club) and Sam Wall (Coromandel Valley Tennis Club) were recognised for their commitment and dedication to tennis in South Australia.

Principal David Ness was thrilled to accept the Most Outstanding School award on behalf of Cobdogla Primary School, seeing this award return to South Australia for the second time running.

In the home town of doubles world No.23 Luke Saville, tennis is just a part of the daily routine for the 134 students at Cobdogla Primary School. With a focus on accessibility and inclusion, the school has seen the benefits of year-round play with healthier and more active kids.

“Winning this award has been so exciting for our school. Not just the Cobby community, but the whole of the Riverland has got behind us,” Ness said.

“Tennis plays a huge role in our health and physical education curriculum. The skills transfer across to all aspects of our students learning, developing relationships, confidence and resilience.

“We are all just so excited and proud that our small country school has been able to win such a prestigious award.”

East Torrens Kensington Gardens Tennis Club Head Coach Domenic Marafiote was announced as winner of the Coaching Excellence – Club category, having previously been a finalist in 2018.

With a focus on creating a fun, safe and nurturing environment, Marafiote has developed clear development pathways and playing opportunities inclusive of all ages, backgrounds and abilities.

“It feels fantastic to have won this award, a little surreal. It’s a big team effort and this is recognition for everyone’s hard work,” Marafiote said.

“We love doing what we do. It is all about the community and providing opportunities for kids and adults, whatever their aspirations.

“I was a tennis player at East Torrens Kensington Gardens Tennis Club when I was eight years old, so to be club coach and now to have won this award, it really feels like a full circle moment.”

It was fourth time lucky for Coromandel Valley Tennis Club Head Coach Sam Wall in the Coaching Excellence – Development category, having been previously nominated for the award in 2017, 2018 and 2019.

While match play opportunities have been limited during a challenging year, Wall has continued to work hard to put programs in place to further develop the technical, tactical and physical skills of his players.

“It’s a great feeling to get the win after being a finalist three other times,” Wall said.

“I’ve been coaching since I left school, so I have had a lot of family support over the years. This is a great reward for everyone involved, including the kids that I have coached over that time.”

“We are so excited to have celebrated our six finalists and three winners at the Newcombe Medal, Australian Tennis Awards on Friday night,” said Tennis SA CEO, Debbie Sterrey. 

“Our congratulations to Cobdogla Primary School, Domenic and Sam, as well as all of our finalists; we are so very proud.”

The full list of award winners is as follows:

Newcombe Medal
Winner: Ashleigh Barty (Qld)
Winner: Dylan Alcott (Vic)

Spirit of Tennis
Winner: Louise Pleming (NSW)

Coaching Excellence – Club
Winner: Domenic Marafiote (East Torrens Kensington Gardens Tennis Club, SA)

Coaching Excellence Development
Winner: Sam Wall (Coromandel Valley Tennis Club, SA)

Coaching Excellence Performance
Winner: Francois Vogelsberger (Vic)

Excellence in Officiating
Winner: Marko Savic (NSW)

Female Junior Athlete of the Year
Winner: Taylah Preston (WA)

Male Junior Athlete of the Year
Winner: Philip Sekulic (Qld)

Most Outstanding Athlete with a Disability
Winner: Ben Weekes (NSW)
Winner: Timothy Gould (Qld)

Most Outstanding Club
Finalists: Fawkner Park Tennis Centre (Vic)

Most Outstanding Professional Tournament
Winner: Warrnambool Lawn Open (Vic)

Most Outstanding School
Winner: Cobdogla Primary School (SA)

Most Outstanding 35+ Tennis Senior
Winner: Glenn Busby (Vic)
Winner: Sue Willis (ACT)

Volunteer Achievement Award
Winner: Liz Tektonopoulos (Greenvale Tennis Club, Vic)

Please see below, full list of South Australian recipients at the Newcombe Medal, Australian Tennis Awards:

Cobdogla Primary School (Most Outstanding School)
Domenic Marafiote (Coaching Excellence – Club)
Sam Wall (Coaching Excellence – Development)

Darren Wunderer (Volunteer Achievement Award)
Elizabeth North Primary School (Most Outstanding School)
City of Playford Tennis International (Most Outstanding Professional Tournament) 

Henley South Tennis Club (Most Outstanding Club)
Darren Cahill (Coaching Excellence – High Performance)
John Pick (Volunteer Achievement Award)

Helen Rice (Coaching Excellence – Club)

Thanasi Kokkinakis (Junior Athlete of the Year – Male)

Lleyton Hewitt (Newcombe Medal)
David Grainger (Coaching Excellence – ANZ Tennis Hot Shots)

Luke Saville (Junior Athlete of the Year – Male)

Luke Saville (Junior Athlete of the Year – Male)
Lleyton Hewitt (President’s Spirit of Tennis Award)