Brisbane Bronco Patrick Carrigan and Australian swimmer Elizabeth Dekkers have been announced as The University of Queensland’s 2023 Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year.
The pair were honoured at the annual UQ Sport Club and Sports Awards, which recognises excellence in sport and contribution to university life.
It was an exceptional 2022 season for Carrigan who made his State of Origin debut for Queensland. Queensland won the series and Carrigan was also recognised as player of the series, receiving the Wally Lewis Medal.
The Bachelor of Physiotherapy (Honours) student also made his debut for the Australian Kangaroos at the 2022 Rugby League World Cup where Australia was victorious.
Carrigan is the first Rugby League player to be named Sportsman of the Year in the award’s 48-year history and said he was honoured to be recognised.
“I think it’s pretty special and I’m really grateful to the University that they have provided me the opportunity to study and play professional rugby league at the same time.
“This year I’m hoping to play more State of Origin for Queensland and also some representative games for Australia, but the big one would be to win a Premiership with the Broncos.”
Dekkers won gold in the 200 Metres Butterfly at the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games and joins Susie O’Neill, Melanie Schlanger, Lakeisha Patterson and Rachel Watsons as swimmers to have received this award.
The Bachelor of Advanced Science (Honours) student was competing in the Australian Swimming Championships at the time the award was presented, claiming the 200 Metres Butterfly national title for the second year in a row.
UQ Athletics Club Captain Natalie Otway received the Club All-Rounder of the Year award for a second time (2021 & 2023).
Awarded to a student-athletes who achieves excellence in both their chosen sport and studies, Otway said she was very grateful to be recognised.
“It’s so lovely to get the recognition for putting in all the hours of work.
“Our Club actually has its biggest team ever representing the University at the UniSport Nationals this week and I put a lot of hard work into getting that all organised.”
The UQ Mountain Club received the prestigious $5000 Hulbert Bursary, awarded for outstanding achievement, innovation and best practice in club management. This was also the first UQ Sport Award that the Club has won in its history.
Throughout 2022, the Club ran 100 different trips for their members, encompassing climbing, hiking, trail-running, bouldering, bike-packing and rogaining activities, despite the challenges they faced after their equipment was damaged in the February floods.
Club President Ruby Daly said the award would make a real difference.
“The prize money will make a massive difference, it’s going to allow us to buy new ropes and involve all these new members in our activities which is awesome.”
For the second year in a row the UQ Touch Football Club won the President’s Cup – awarded for exceptional event competition performance – after winning the 2022 Metro Cup Premier Men’s and Premier Women’s titles for the first time in the same year since 1990.
The Club was again represented by Renee Murphy who received the Club Coach of the Year award. Murphy impressively led the Premier Women’s Touch Football Team to a State title and Metro Cup title in the same year.
2023 UQ Club and Sports Awards – Winners
- Sportswoman of the Year: Elizabeth Dekkers (Swimming)
- Sportsman of the Year: Patrick Carrigan (Rugby League)
- Club All-Rounder of the Year: Natalie Otway (UQ Athletics Club)
- Hulbert Bursary: UQ Mountain Club
- President’s Cup: UQ Touch Football Club
- Club Coach of the Year: Renee Murphy (UQ Touch Football Club)
- Club Administrator of the Year: Scott Henry (UQ Cricket Club)
- Club Volunteer of the Year: Jeremy Wooldridge (UQ Beach Volleyball Club)
- Club Service Award: Michael Russell (UQ Boat Club), Michael O’Rielley (UQ Rugby Club), Michael Zaicek (UQ Rugby Club), Jason Boyd (UQ Touch Football Club), and Tyrone Bruce (UQ Touch Football Club).