Sports Dads

Philips recognises greatness on and off the sporting field with the ‘Philips Sports Dad of the Year’

This Father's Day, Philips will again showcase the contribution Australia's sporting elite make to their families both on and off the field with the Philips Sports Dad of the Year Award.  As the leading brand for male shaving and grooming products – which are popular Father's Day gifts – Philips is proud to recognise sporting fathers who are making positive impressions in the community.  

Now celebrating it’s 10th year anniversary, the Philips Sports Dad of the Year will highlight 10 elite athletes across a broad range of sporting fields, giving insights into how they juggle fatherhood with their sporting commitments. Previous finalists in the competition have included AFL superstars and premiership winners Trent Cotchin and Luke Hodge; NRL legends Cameron Smith and Johnathan Thurston; former two-time Grand Slam tennis champion Lleyton Hewitt; Socceroo hero Tim Cahill and World Cup captain Mile Jedinak; one of the world’s best batsman David Warner; former world surfing champ Joel Parkinson and Supercar star Mark 'Frosty’ Winterbottom just to name a few of our past finalists and winners.


Previous Winners & Ambassadors;

Johnathan Thurston, NRL - donated $5,000 to The Mark Hughes Foundation

Back in 2015 Queensland superstar Johnathan Thurston added another title to his amazing list of achievements after being crowned the Philips Sports Dad of the Year. Now a father to three girls, Frankie, Charlie and Lillie, the man known as JT beat a hot field of devoted sports dads to be crowned champion that year including fellow NRL stars Greg Inglis and David Klemmer, Richmond Tigers AFL captain and premiership winner Trent Cotchin, Socceroos captain and enforcer Mile Jedinak, two time Grand Slam winner and Aussie Davis Cup hero Lleyton Hewitt, Wallaby captain Stephen Moore, previous Supercar championship winner James Courtney, Test cricket star Brad Haddin and captain of the all-conquering Kookaburras Mark Knowles. 

Thurston claimed the title with an amazing 25 per cent of votes. "This is a great honour and I'd like to thank all the other contestants for giving up their valuable time to get involved," JT said. "You just have to look at everyone's profiles on the web page to see how great a father everyone else is." "We all make sacrifices to get where we are but our children and family are the inspiration behind whatever we achieve.” The win also enables JT to donate $5,000 to his charity of choice, The Mark Hughes Foundation. "I saw an interview Sterlo did about Mark Hughes and his family and how he's fighting brain cancer which really touched me," JT said. "Ever since then I've wanted to help and raise awareness of this disease and I'm really pleased winning this competition allows me to do that.”

Mark Winterbottom, Supercars - donated $10,000 to National Breast Cancer Foundation

Supercar star Mark ‘Frosty’ Winterbottom was crowned the Philips Sports Dad of the Year in 2012. ‘Frosty’ beat home NRL champions Cameron Smith and Nathan Hindmarsh. “It’s an absolute honour to be crowned the Philips Sports Dad of the Year,” Winterbottom said. “Being a father is so rewarding, thank you to everyone who voted for me including both Ford and Holden supporters” Other finalists included Collingwood big man Darren Jolly, Brisbane Lions captain and three time premiership winner Jonathan Brown and Kangaroos vice-captain Drew Petrie. Other finalist included NRL players Michael Ennis and long serving Rabbitoh John Sutton. The world game was represented by Socceroos and Sydney FC star Brett Emerton and rounding out the list was Olympic legend and long-time Tour de France competitor Stuart O'Grady. 

In a touching gesture, Winterbottom donated $10,000 to a cause close to his heart, the National Breast Cancer Foundation. The donation comprises the $5,000 allocated to a charity by the winner, plus Winterbottom’s a personal $5,000. “My mum was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was eight and battled it for many years before passing away from cancer in 2011,” Winterbottom said. “This charity definitely sits closely to my heart and looking at the statistics of how common it is, we clearly need to be doing as much research on prevention and cure as possible". 

Jude Bolton, AFL  - donated $5,000 to Redkite

In 2013 retiring Sydney Swans legend Jude Bolton caped off a remarkable career with his first individual honour outside the club, by being crowned the Philips Sports Dad of the Year. The champion Swans midfielder polled 30 per cent of the votes to become the third AFL player at the time – and second Sydney Swan – to win the title behind Hawthorn’s Sam Mitchell (2011) and former Swans premiership winning team mate Brett Kirk (2010). Jude played more than 300 games for the Swans and won premierships in 2005 and 2012, he beat home a field that consisted of Collingwood skipper Nick Maxwell and three time Geelong Premiership winner Corey Enright. NRL champion Danny Buderus, who holds the record for most appearances ever for the Knights, Broncos and Queensland Origin star Corey Parker, and NSW Blues try scoring freak Brett Morris. Other finalists included Socceroos' legendary goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, jockey Luke Nolen, World Surfing & boxing champions Joel Parkinson and Daniel Geale.

“I’m very proud of this honour ... it was something I didn’t expect.” Jude donated $5,000 to Redkite.  “We’ve had a long association with Redkite at the Swans,” Jude said. “To be able to donate this money to Redkite is great. They help families financially and emotionally while one of their kids undergo cancer treatment as many families incur huge costs along the way.” Jude now a father of two with Sierra and Piper said that the one thing about retirement is the chance to spend a lot more time with his young family. “It’s good to be there for all the little milestones and watch them grow up.” As for his fellow nominees Jude said at the time graciously: “I wish them all an incredible Father’s Day. I'm sure they are all great dads and loving every moment with their kids.” 

David Warner, Cricket  - donated $10,000 to Make-A-Wish Australia

In 2016 David Warner one of the world most feared batsman was crowned Australia’s favourite sports dad. “I am very proud and I am greatly humbled and honoured to win this award,” David said. “I would like to thank all the people who voted for me and supported the other dads.” David paid tribute to this year’s nominee’s which included Socceroo legend Tim Cahill, AFL’s Brent Harvey who has notched up the most AFL games in history, Fremantle star Matthew Pavlich and Swans co-captain Jarrad McVeigh, NRL and Origin stars Corey Parker and James Maloney as well as four-time Olympian Jamie Dwyer, V8 champ Garth Tander and world cycling star Simon Gerrans.

David generously doubled the prize money from his win and donated $10,000 to Make-A-Wish Australia. “I have been on board with them now for more than a year and Make-A-Wish gives very sick children and teenagers hope for the future, strength to face the challenges of their illness, and joy from their incredible wish experience. “Each wish is approximately $10,000 for the entire process to make a wish come true. “I am greatly humbled and honoured to win this award and be able to help out my charity”. Speaking about his family and being a father David went onto say “Juggling fatherhood and work is tough for anybody not just myself,” he said. “Some dads leave their kids 9-5, some leave to fight for our country for long periods and may not return. “I leave for a few weeks or months at times and I am fortunate enough to have them travel with me at times.” "My family means everything to me - I love my beautiful wife and kids"  

Anthony Minichiello, NRL  - donated $10,000 to Steggles Roosters Charity Nest

In 2014 Sydney Roosters legend Anthony Minichiello added yet another individual gong before he retired by being crowned the Philips Sports Dad of the Year. Anthony - who has played more games and scored more tries for the Roosters than any other player - beat home hockey superstar Jamie Dwyer and Sydney FC captain Alex Brosque to claim the award after a two week voting period. A dad to daughter Azura, Anthony paid tribute to the Roosters loyal fans. “This is a huge honour,” Anthony said. “I love being a dad. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done. I’d like to say thank you to all the people who voted for me – the support means a lot to my family and me.” As for the other nominees – that included champion Ironman Shannon Eckstein, Anthony’s brother Mark, and fellow NRL players Matt Ballin and Ryan Hoffman plus AFL premiership winners Luke Hodge and Brett Harvey - Anthony said graciously: “I’d like to congratulate all the nominees in the competition" 

Anthony donated $5,000 to Steggles Roosters Charity Nest – a group who supports a number of different children’s charities. Steggles also matched the donation to make it $10,000. “It’s a great charity that has raised more than $1.8 million for Australian Children’s Charities since the partnership started four years ago,” Anthony said. “Some of the charities supported include Children’s Cancer Institute Australia and Royal Children’s Hospital.” One thing about retirement has been the chance to spend a lot more time with his young family. “I’m very fortunate to have a close family who support me. “But I’m excited about the fact I’ll have a lot more time to spend with them – I can’t wait to spend my weekends with Terry and Azura.” 

Sam Mitchell, AFL - donated $5,000 to Ronald McDonald House

In 2011 Hawthorn star Sam Mitchell was crowned the Philips Sports Dad of the Year, Sam beat home nine other athletes to take the title, including two time grand slam tennis champion Lleyton Hewitt, and Olympian and world champion swimmer Michael Klim. The NRL representatives trying to emulate the awards inaugural winner in 2009 John Skandalis’ included NSW State of Origin skipper Paul Gallen, Dragons Grand Final hero Dean Young and Queensland Origin prop Ben Hannant. Representing the AFL’s hopes in the competition following Brett Kirk’s win in 2010 included Collingwood premiership winning skipper Nick Maxwell and Sydney Swans sharpshooter Ryan O’Keefe. Representing the round ball code was Socceroos World Cup star Jason Culina, while Wallabies excitement machine Mark Gerrard carried rugby union’s hopes.

The doting father of three, including twin girls said “This is a great honour, it’s the last thing on your mind as a parent to win an accolade like this, but it’s a nice bonus for doing something I love.” Asked what makes him such a great dad, Mitchell said it was engaging with his children. “It’s patience and enjoying the little things ... taking it day by day with each of them,” he said. "Having children really put my life into perspective.” He was flattered that the fans took the time to vote for him, and expressed his gratitude for the support he received. Mitchell will donate the winners cheque to Ronald McDonald House. "Having a sick child makes your appreciate all the good causes out there and Ronald McDonald House is one of them that helps kids and their families cope with illness, I'm so happy to be able to donate $5,000”. Mitchell thanked sponsors for their ongoing support of the popular competition. “This is a great idea and I enjoyed reading the other athletes’ profiles” he said. “All you see is these guys playing their sports and you have no idea what goes on in their home life so it's a good insight into how guys mix their sport and their fathering duties. I am very very lucky that my wife Lyndall is so supportive.” 

John Skandalis, NRL - donated $5,000 to the Starlight Childrens Foundation

Back in 2009 Wests Tigers prop John Skandalis was named the inaugural Philips Sports Dad of the Year winner, he beat a field that included NRL stars Brett Kimmorley, Steve Price, Sam Perrett, Tonie Carroll and dual Rugby code test player Wendell Sailor, AFL superstars Matthew Lloyd, Adam Cooney and Michael O’Loughlin, Melbourne Victory’s popular goal scoring machine Archie Thompson and Sydney FC’s championship winner Steve Corica while tennis was represented by David Cup player Peter Luczak.

Skando as he’s affectionally known donated his $5,000 winner's cheque to the Starlight Children's Foundation.  He went onto say "I’m honoured to be able to donate funds to such a worthy cause that’s able to brighten the lives of seriously ill children and their families that are going though tough times and during these special days like Father’s Day everyone should be happy” “I have two daughters (Olivia and Sophia) so it really hits home when you see these children in pain - as a dad I really enjoy every moment I spend with my girls, I just love it!”

Brett Kirk, AFL - donated $10,000 to Redkite

One of sports most popular figures Brett Kirk was voted Philips Sports Dad of the Year in 2010.  The Sydney Swans captain won the award from fellow AFL premiership winner Sam Mitchell, Eels’ legend Nathan Hindmarsh, Storm, Queensland and Kangaroos superstar Cameron Smith and New Zealand World Cup winner Sam Perrett rounded out the the three NRL finalist. The man who kicked the Socceroos to their first World Cup in 32 years, John Aloisi, represented soccer alongside talented Sydney FC’s player Nicky Carle while Wallabies champion Nathan Sharpe carried rugby union’s hopes. Also nominated as a finalist was international cycling superstar Robbie McEwen, the first Australian to win the green sprint jersey in the Tour de France; and Supercar series winner James Courtney. 

Kirk thanked everyone for voting and was honoured to have won ‘‘Being a dad is something I enjoy doing,’’ Kirk said. ‘‘It’s the most important thing in my life.’’ As testament to Kirk’s standing as one of the game’s good guys, he pooled his $5,000 winner’s cheque for the award with the $5,000 for his charity and donated the entire $10,000 to Redkite. He went onto say "Redkite provides essential services and support to children and young people with cancer, and their families throughout the whole cancer journey, from the moment of diagnosis until after treatment finishes”. “I’m so pleased to be able to have the opportunity to donate to such a great charity." 

Sports Dad of the Year 2018
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