RMIT athletes celebrated at Redbacks Gala Awards

RMIT athletes celebrated at Redbacks Gala Awards

RMIT athletes of the year were crowned together with the most outstanding clubs as they we reflected on their sporting highlights of 2022.

The Redbacks Gala Awards gives the RMIT sporting opportunity a chance to celebrate their Elite Athletes, RMIT Clubs, Leaders and Representatives Sport Athletes for 2022.

It's been a long time since the teams and athletes were able to come together and acknowledge the achievements of the Redbacks community, and there was excitement in the air as students and staff sat down ready to hear who had taken out the top honours.  

Vice Chancellor Professor Alec Cameron opened the night, acknowledging the hard work, dedication and sense of community that RMIT students showcase in their individual and club sports.  

“Sport at university builds bridges across almost any social and demographic divide, and it creates community in a way which is unparalleled," he said.

"The friendships and relationships you get through sport at university are difficult to match in other fields."

Mighty Redbacks, you do more than make us proud of your physical achievements, you build community at this university, and I thank you very much for that.

"While I won’t pretend that winning isn’t great, there are lots of ways to win. And for the first time tonight we crown our most inclusive club of the year."

Over the past year more than 6000 students took part in 39 RMIT sporting clubs, including includes sport, gaming and more.

We’ve even had 86 students complete a formal Work Integrated Learning placement within our sports academy this year, and 27 students have gained sports media experience, while over 150 have taken on formal leaderships roles.  

Students attending 2022 Redbacks Gala Top left: Lara Refferty presents Club Leader of RMIT Lacrosse Laura Braakhuis with award for Inclusive Club of the Year. Bottom right: Vice Chancellor Professor Alec Cameron presents Female Athlete of the Year award to Stacey Hymer. Images courtesy of RMIT student Sofia Alessandra.

The past years have not been easy for the sporting community, as they battled the challenges of COVID lockdowns and separation from their teammates and friends.  

“After the past two years to see sport on campus, teams training and competing has been absolutely joyful,” shared Sally Tanner, Manager of RMIT Sport and Fitness.  

As the crowd buzzed with excitement, the first winners of the night were announced: Male Athlete of the Year awarded to Joel Baden and Female Athlete of the Year awarded to Stacey Hymer.  

“I had a very fun time competing overseas and training hard. It's been a bit of a crazy rollercoaster to be honest, but I competed well overseas, and I hope to continue and jump higher,” said Joel.  

Stacey was equally proud, having overcome many challenges to compete at the Olympics in 2021.  

“I had lots of injuries and lots of success as well, so it’s been a good year and hard year,” she said.

This year the Redbacks Gala introduced the first Inclusive Club of Year. Associate Director of Equity and Inclusion Lara Rafferty spoke to the audience about the importance of sport in fostering welcoming communities and championing RMIT values.  

We all know how good sport can be. It helps us to stay active, build social connection and community, improve skills, be part of a team and to win sometimes (or a lot!). But more than that it allows us to improve our sense of wellbeing and just have fun. 

To much cheering the Inclusive Club of Year was awarded to RMIT Lacrosse and welcomed Laura Braakhuis to the stage to accept the award. Laura is not only the club leader of RMIT Lacross but was also an individual award winner for Club Leadership in 2022.  

“When I started university in 2019 the Lacross club at RMIT didn’t exist, so we had the ability to start the club with the right attitude from the start,” said Laura. 

“We’re always looking to grow the game and get more people involved, and you can tell people feel more connected to the uni and that it’s a place for them where they really belong."

"Seeing the club grow and having that connectedness for all the students has been incredibly rewarding.”

After a stellar year of sporting and games across campuses and Australia, it’s no wonder the students were celebrating and basking in the community spirit.

Keen to be a part of RMIT Sports? Check out all the ways you can get involved.


  • Vice Chancellor Club of the Year – Cheer & Dance
  • Redback Athlete of the Year – Alastair Christie-Johnson
  • Male Athlete of the Year - Joel Baden
  • Female Athlete of the Year Stacey Hymer
  • Inaugural Inclusive Club of Year – Lacrosse
  • Sport Ambassador of the Year – Brock Sutton
  • Club Leadership – Laura Braakhuis
  • Indigenous Nationals Leaders: Joshua Medra
  • Redbacks Leadership – Caley Manzie
  • Contribution to Sports Media – Miller Marks-Boulton  
29 November 2022


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Acknowledgement of Country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.