The Chronicle's sports editor Isaac McIntyre was awarded the state gong by Netball NSW.

The Hunter Women’s Chronicle sports editor Isaac McIntyre has been award the Netball NSW Judy Dunbar Media Award for community media excellence, following his coverage of the continued and growing success of netball around the Hunter.

McIntyre and the Women’s Chronicle were recognised alongside Nine’s Sydney Morning Herald (Daniel Lane with Best Overall Coverage and Wolter Peeters with Best Photo) and national network SBS (Adrian Arciuli with Best Feature).

“I am extremely proud to be receiving this award, not least because of what it means to the Chronicle, and hopefully what it means to the region in terms of netball coverage over the past year and beyond,” McIntyre said.

“It was a surprise, to be honest. Newcastle Netball submitted my name without my knowledge, and the first I’d heard that my name was in the mix was when Netball NSW’s Shane DeBarra called me with the fantastic news that I’d won.

“This is my first award for sports coverage, both in women’s sport in the Hunter, and in my career, and considering everything that I’ve tried to give to netball, and the huge amount more the region’s netball scene has given back, it’s very special.

“It’s always nice to be recognised for the work put into articles, and telling the stories of the superstars that play the game here in the Hunter, and to see that organisations like Newcastle Netball, and Netball NSW, appreciate our work. Thank you.”

2019 has marked a stellar year for Hunter netball as a whole, from Newcastle’s invincible representative year, spectacular fundraising charities in Charlestown, and the continued success of Sam Poolman’s Aspire program.

This year also saw 30 teams represent the Hunter’s 11 netball associations at the Netball NSW State Titles, competing across 10 divisions in three age brackets.

Newcastle recorded an invincible 18-0 record in Campbelltown to claim their second state title in the last three years.

There, Newcastle finished 18-0 and lifted the crown, while top-division associations like Charlestown, Kurri Kurri, and Westlakes all battled for silverware. Overall, the Hunter shone on the state stage, proving again how dominant the region is.

McIntyre’s coverage also included individual features on the likes of Super Netball superstar Sam Poolman, Indigenous representatives and dress-designers Krystal Dallinger and Tarsha Hawley, state shooter Sabina Gomboso.

The representative stories also extended to rising stars like Rhiannon Stokes and Nakita Jackson, as well as aspiring locals like Emrah Manning, Claire Kowald, and many more.

Sam Poolman’s development program is set to grow again in 2019 as Aspire moves from strength to strength.

The Chronicle also had the opportunity, and the honour, to cover the departure of a Newcastle Netball icon in Dell Saunders, who took off the president’s cap for the first time in 40 years when she called time on an illustrious administrative career.

Finally, McIntyre’s main beat for the year was Newcastle Netball’s Greater Open Championship, which ended with a historic televised grand final at National Park between West Leagues Balance 1 and Souths Lions.

West Leagues clinched their third consecutive title in the decider with a 45-27 victory over Souths in front of grandstands of fans and the rolling cameras of NBN Television, a win championship coach Tracey Baggs said was “fantastic.”

West Leagues clinched their third Greater Open Championship title in a row this year.

The year also saw Hunter United change to Hunter Netball for the 2019 Metro League, with a host of new faces joining the squad as the regional team looked to build towards the future. The 2020 extended squad has also already been named.

For continued, and hopefully ever-improving, coverage of all things Hunter netball, make sure you keep a close eye on the Women’s Chronicle.

Read a few more of Isaac McIntyre’s favourite features