A special group of western suburbs athletes took to the stage to accept Don Deeble Sports Star monthly awards in 2017.
There was a vast array of sports represented, be it indoors or outdoors, on the table, court or field.
It showed that west is the best when it came to rising sporting talent.
In February, we found the first of our 10 finalists, with para table tennis star Nathan Pellissier claiming the first monthly award.
Pellissier is an inspirational athlete, not allowing cerebral palsy to hinder his progress in his chosen sport.
A super determined person, Pellissier overcame a number of injury setbacks to bring down Rio Paralympian Barak Mizrachi and claim a national title. It is just one step in Pellissier’s quest to reach the 2020 Paralympics.
Softballer Sam Reale was next cab off the rank in March.
Incredibly, Reale was the only Victorian selected to represent the Aussie Steelers at the International Friendship Games, returning home with a gold medal.
Also a talented baseballer, Reale has earned a sports scholarship for university in the US.
April nominee Julia Bourke is another one of this Deeble class to earn a sports scholarship to a US university in athletics for her excellence in the throwing events.
Bourke did just about everything she could in her age group in Australia, thus wanting the challenge of overseas competition, where she will be tested to the maximum against talented throwers in the NCAA athletics system.
It was a big year for soccer star Caitlin Greiser. She was a big part of South Melbourne’s all-conquering WNPL side. Our May winner represented Team Victoria and will be heading to the US to take up a sports scholarship in Miami.
The youngest of all monthly winners came in June in 14-year-old basketballer Paul Tsapatolis. The 205-centimetre starting centre of under-16 Vic Metro team is already fielding contract offers from Europe.
The finalist with the steadiest hand has to go to shooter Thomas Armstrong. The July winner is one of Australia’s top shooting prospects.
Teagan Newman is undoubtedly the top lifter of this crop of finalists. The August winner rocketed up the state, national, Oceania and Commonwealth rankings in weightlifting this year.
The most high profile finalist was our September winner Cameron Rayner.
He was a deserving No. 1 pick in the AFL National Draft and is seen as crucial to the Brisbane Lions rebuild in the AFL.
The penultimate monthly winner in October was taekwondo star Tayla Eckley.
Eckley is used to the fanfare having claimed more than 50 gold medals in the sport but it was her ability to translate her success from the local stage to national and Oceania competitions that earned her a Deeble nomination.
The November entrant was the most versatile of sports stars in Monique Conti.
Conti was not satisfied with being a star in just one sport, so she has ambitious plans to conquer two.
She has landed contracts with the Melbourne Boomers in the WNBL and Western Bulldogs in the AFLW.
The 2017 Don Deeble Sports Star will be announced at the annual awards at Allegra Function Venue in St Albans on January 31.
The winner will take home $5000 and the runners up will receive $2500, all donated by the Yarraville Club Cricket Club.
Bendigo Bank Strathmore has also donated a $1000 encouragement award.