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Waterpolo - 08. May 2011.

Six new inductees into Australian Water Polo Hall of Fame

The Australian Water Polo Hall of Fame has six new members after Leanne Barnes, Peter Kerr, Ian Mills, Les Nunn, Michael Withers and Chris Wybrow were inducted during a glittering ceremony in Sydney tonight.

Those six join the 15 existing members of the Hall of Fame that were enshrined in 2009 and 2010 including legendary players Peter Montgomery, Andrew Kerr and 2000 Olympic Games gold medal winning players Bridgette Gustersen and Debbie Watson.

The night also saw Jeanette Gunn, a long time manager of the senior women's national team (including during their Sydney 2000 Olympics triumph) awarded the Harry Quittner medal for Services to Women's Water Polo.

Current players were also rewarded for their sterling efforts in the pool with Victoria Brown and Sam McGregor claiming the Senior Player of the Year awards, Nicola Zagame and Aaron Younger the Junior Player of the Year gongs and veteran mentor Les Kay the Coach of the Year prize.

But the night was focussed on the Hall of Fame inductees who have all contributed to the continued growth and success of water polo in Australia over many decades.

• Leanne Barnes has been a player, coach and administrator at all levels of the game both domestically and internationally. She was also one of the main lobbyists both internationally and within Australia for Olympic inclusion for women's water polo.

• Peter Kerr played 43 times for Australia and has been the President of AWPI from 1996 until the present. He was also an international referee and took the Official's Oath at the Sydney Olympic Games.

• Ian Mills represented Australia 222 times including at two Olympic Games that were twelve years apart, Tokyo (1964) and in Montreal (1976). Domestically he was also a longstanding representative for Victoria, being selected continuously from 1962 to 1980.

• Triple Olympian Les Nunn played for Australia at the Rome (1960), Tokyo (1964) and Munich (1972) Olympic Games over a career that spanned 159 internationals. Before his retirement Ian captained Australia in its first World Championship in Belgrade (1973).

• Michael Withers was the prominent goalkeeper for the Australian teams at the Rome (1960), Tokyo (1964) and Munich (1972) Olympic water polo tournaments. A veteran of 149 caps for his country, Mick was responsible for inaugurating the first (unofficial) Australian Club Championships at Manly in 1975.

• Chris Wybrow played a remarkable 370 Tests for Australia and competed in three Olympic Games - Los Angeles (1984), Seoul (1988) and as captain in Barcelona (1992) where he led the national team to fifth place to achieve Australia's best ever Olympic result.

The night also saw the men's and women's Team of the Decade honoured for performances from the 2001 international season until the end of the 2010 international season.

The women's team included Emma Knox, Gemma Beadsworth, Naomi Castle, Bronwen Knox and sisters Melissa Rippon, Kate Gynther and Rebecca Rippon.

The 2011 National Water Polo League Most Valuable Players were Bronwen Knox (KFC Queensland Breakers) and Rhys Howden (Brisbane Barracudas), while Howden with 67 goals and Cronulla Sharks' Mieke Cabout (82 goals) won the Highest Goal Scorer trophies.

NWPL Team of the Year honours went to:

Women - Kelsey Wakefield (Goalkeeper, Brisbane Barracudas), Mieke Cabout (Cronulla Sharks), Keesja Gofers (Sydney University Lions), Elly Goodwin (Hunter Hurricanes), Bronwen Knox (KFC Queensland Breakers), Glencora Ralph (Longmont Fremantle Marlins), Rowena Webster (Victorian Tigers).

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