CHRISTIE Hillberg was named the overall winner of Netball Victoria’s ‘Wingman Off-court Champion’ competition during a State Dinner in Melbourne last Saturday night. The Korumburra-Bena premiership coach, Alberton League best and fairest winner and representative took home the coveted award ahead of four fellow nominees from the Victorian Netball League and around the state.
The wingman award recognises young adult netball players who demonstrate leadership behaviour off the court which sets an example for their peers. Acknowledging their behaviour within Victoria’s netball community will help set an example for young adult Victorians. The Department of Justice established the program in partnership with Netball Victoria in 2012 to engage with young women at a grassroots level. The campaign aims to address the issue of alcohol-related violence among young adults by encouraging them to look out for themselves and their friends when out having a good time.
The 21 year-old was announced as the winner of the award during the recent V/Line State Titles. Along with being a member of the state title winning team, Gippsland, Hillberg was also named in a State All-Star team selected from the titles. A delighted Hillberg was more than happy to reinforce the Wingman message about social behaviour and leadership. “It’s very exciting. I wasn’t there to accept the award which was a shame. I couldn’t believe it – I definitely wasn’t expecting it at all,” Hillberg said. “It was out of five people across the state and coming from such a small town I just was not expecting to win the big award. It was a nice shock.” Hillberg received a $1000 prize for winning the award, along with a further $1000 which will go towards the Alberton League. “I put in what I have to but I am really just taking over from what Mum (Julie) has done. I don’t like to be recognised, I just do it because that’s what I have been brought up to do and it’s who I am,” she said.
“The award is about being a leader and a role model on and off the court; but we have heaps of people around the club that are really good role models. “It’s nice they have brought this Wingman award in to recognise what everyone does.”
Hillberg was nominated for the Eastern Region award by representative coach Cath Chester who said she is an ‘exemplary leader both on and off the court’. “Christie’s studies in nursing, works as a pool life guard and plays netball with Korumburra-Bena, Gippsland Storm and Boroondarra Genesis netball clubs. She ensures she leads a healthy lifestyle and is a great role model to her teammates,” Chester wrote in her nomination form.
“Christie often instigates and organises team activities such as group dinners, training sessions and games nights to bring the team closer together. “Where there is alcohol involved, Christie often nominates herself as the designated driver and ensures her teammates get home safely – reasons why she is so well-respected by her peers.”