A decade after he received a South Coast Blues award of his own, former Illawarra Sports High student Tyson Frizell has returned to recognise the region's most talented junior athletes.
The St George Illawarra star and Australian middle-distance runner Jessica Hull were on hand at last week's South Coast School Sport Association Awards Ceremony at Kembla Grange Racecourse to offer words of wisdom to the emerging crop of youngsters.
Frizell said it was great to see the region kept producing outstanding athletes.
"It's nice to get invited back here," he said. "I was in this room 10 years ago and you don't think you're going to be in the position that I am today. It's nice to see the youth and all the award winners coming from the south coast in all their sports and to come and share my story.
"I've had some great memories down here, especially through school and all my sporting achievements. I know all of these kids are aspiring to succeed in their sport and hopefully they're lucky enough to do that. The journey starts now for some of them."
Among the recipients were President's Award winner Jaylah Hancock-Cameron, Most Notable Individual Primary Achievement winner Lilli Berry and Most Outstanding Individual Secondary Achievement winner Chelsea Jones.
Also receiving awards were rugby league players Michael Salafia and Noah Fien.
Frizell played alongside Noah's father Nathan during the final years of the premiership-winner's career and he has fond memories of his interactions with a very young Noah.
"It was pretty cool seeing Noah," he said. "Noah was a ball boy with the first grade team when I was playing with his dad. It's good to see his old man and Noah doing so well. I don't know if he knows me, but I do remember him as a kid running around as a ball boy for the Dragons.
"There's a few talented rugby league players here today, so hopefully one day, if I'm still around, I might be playing alongside them."
South Coast award winners
Multiclass Athlete of the Year in Primary School: Telaya Blacksmith, Shell Cove Public School
John Macintosh Trophy - Most Notable Achievement - Individual Sport: Lilli Berry, Austinmer Public School
Peter Dobson Trophy - Outstanding Performance in Primary School Sport: Noah Fien, Thirroul Public School
Sid Hayes Trophy - Most Outstanding Representative in Primary School Sport: Michael Salafia, Ulladulla Public School
Multiclass Athlete of the Year in Secondary School: Karlee Symonds, Nowra High School
Brian Downes Trophy - Most Outstanding Achievement in Athletics: Lara Check, Nowra High School
Laurie Constantine Trophy - Most Outstanding Representative in Secondary School Sport: Sam Wright-Smith, Shoalhaven High School
Ron Smith Trophy - Most Outstanding Individual Secondary Performance: Chelsea Jones, Woonona High School
The President's Award in Memory of Ray Truman for the Most Outstanding Representative in School Sport in Primary and Secondary School: Jaylah Hancock-Cameron, Moruya High School
Primary School Blues Awards:
Michael Salafia, Ulladulla Public School
Noah Fien, Thirroul Public School
Lilli Berry, Austinmer Public School
Telaya Blacksmith, Shell Cove Public School
Samuel McGregor, Crookwell Public School
Janaya Baroudi, Unanderra Public School
Brody McPhee, Woonona East Public School
Tilly Fikkers, Wollongong Public School
Secondary School Blues Awards:
Sam Wright-Smith, Shoalhaven High School
Lara Check, Nowra High School
Dylan Egan, Kiama High School
Logan Mathie, Figtree High School
Bronte Trew, Vincentia High School
Siwa Harvey-Aziz, Nowra High School
Rosie Tozer, Smith's Hill High School
Annabel Croker, Mulwaree High School.
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