CHAMPIONS: Matthew Denny, Laura Geitz and Stephanie Hancock at a tribute night in their honour last month at Allora. All three are in the top-30 in Warwick and District sport.
CHAMPIONS: Matthew Denny, Laura Geitz and Stephanie Hancock at a tribute night in their honour last month at Allora. All three are in the top-30 in Warwick and District sport. Gerard Walsh

THIS IS IT: Best of the best in top 10 sports stars revealed

TODAY we present the top 10 in our list of the 30 greatest sports stars in the Warwick area.

While there are many who have achieved at the highest level in state, national and international sport, the win by Laura Geitz of the Liz Ellis Diamond really stood out.

The diamond is the highest annual award in one of Australia's highest participation sports, netball.

Geitz, the goalkeeper from Allora, won the diamond in 2011, an award similar to the Brownlow Medal in Australian rules and the Allan Border Medal in cricket.

She also had the honour of captaining the team to many international successes.

One of her greatest achievements was returning to the sport this year after the birth of son Barney and winning silver at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and playing one more season with the Queensland Firebirds.

She has been supported by husband Mark Gilbride and parents Juanita and the late Ross Geitz.

Geitz was identified as a player of potential and for most of her secondary education, her parents took her to Brisbane for state team training once or twice a week between school days at Scots PGC College.

She was the only Warwick and district athlete in this year's Queensland top-100.

The top 10 is a who's who of sport.

Don Wright was the Daily News Sports Star of the 20th century, an award chosen from reader nominations in the year 2000.

He might have won two bronze medals at Commonwealth Games but his 10 successive national hurdling titles and semi final at the Olympics were career highs.

If a top-10 was done 10 years from now, odds are two of this year's top-30 athletes, Matthew Denny and Matt Campbell could be the top two. Both are much younger than what would be considered the prime years in their sports.

Wayne Bennett is the super coach, sometimes it is forgotten he played for Queensland for three years and on an Australian tour to New Zealand.

Dean Butler was part of the Koobaburras team which won an historic first Olympic men's gold medal and prop Greg Holmes played 144 games for the Queensland Reds.

The Countdown 10-1

10. Hugh McMeniman

HE played his first rugby union at Scots PGC in Year 8 and made the Australian schoolboys side in Year 12 at Nudgee College.

He is one of the toughest players to make it to the Wallabies and mainly played at blind side flanker, No.8 or in the second row.

Western Force's Hugh McMeniman rushes towards the touch line during the Round 17 Super Rugby match between the Western Force and the NSW Waratahs at NIB Stadium in Perth, Sunday, June 9, 2013. (AAP Image/Theron Kirkman) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Western Force's Hugh McMeniman rushes towards the touch line during the Round 17 Super Rugby match between the Western Force and the NSW Waratahs at NIB Stadium in Perth, Sunday, June 9, 2013. THERON KIRKMAN

Born in Warwick, McMeniman and his sister Clare, who played netball for Australia, were the two youngest in a family of four.

Hugh played 22 Tests for the Wallabies, 30 games for the Queensland Reds and 13 for the Western Force. Twice he travelled to Japan to play club rugby in one of the growth areas of world rugby.

His career would have reached greater heights if not for injuries, partly due to putting his body on the line in every game.

9. Lee Bodimeade

SCORING the first goal in men's hockey at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992 was Bodimeade's introduction to sport at Olympic level.

Australia finished second to win silver with Bodimeade on the right wing. He scored in the Aussies' semi-final win in Barcelona.

Hockey Queensland Hall of Fame inductee Lee Bodimeade. Photo Contributed
Hockey Queensland Hall of Fame inductee Lee Bodimeade. Contributed

He was a regular in Australian teams from 1991 to 1998 and won bronze at the world championships.

Bodimeade was a silver and gold medallist in the Champions Trophy.

He was United States Coach of the Year in 2006 and coached the American women's team to qualify and play in two Olympics. He has also coached the Queensland Scorchers women's side to national success.

8. Clare Ferguson

A PAST student of Warwick West State School, she was a medallist in the netball World Youth Cup in Florida before playing for the Canberra Darters in the national league while at the AIS in Canberra.

Ferguson (nee McMeniman) played in three Queensland Firebirds teams which won at ANZ Championship level, 2011, 2015 and 2016.

Clare McMeniman, captain of Australia with the trophy after defeating New Zealand during game 4 of the Constellation Cup netball test series between the New Zealand Silver Ferns and the Australian Diamonds at ILT Stadium Southland, New Zealand, Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016. (AAP Image/SNPA, Ross Setford) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Clare Ferguson (nee McMeniman), captain of Australia with the trophy after defeating New Zealand during game 4 of the Constellation Cup netball test series between the New Zealand Silver Ferns and the Australian Diamonds at ILT Stadium Southland, New Zealand, Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016. ROSS SETFORD

A defender who mainly played at goal defence or wing defence, Ferguson had a break from the sport for two years after the 2011 premiership.

She returned to the Firebirds in 2014 and was soon playing the first of her 15 internationals for Australia. Ferguson also captained Australia during her 2014-2016 international career.

She is a sister of Hugh McMeniman, from rugby.

7. Dean Butler

HE was part of the history-making Australian hockey team which won the Kookaburras first gold medal at Olympic level in Athens in 2004.

Butler also won a gold medal with Australia in the Commonwealth Games in Manchester in 2002 and Melbourne in 2006.

Australia's Dean Butler (left) and New Zealand's James Nation (right) in action during their Australia v New Zealand Oceania Cup and Olympic Qualifier finals match in Buderim, Qld, Sunday, Sept. 16, 2007. Australia won 3 - 1. (AAP Image/Grant Treeby) NO ARCHIVING
Australia's Dean Butler (left) and New Zealand's James Nation (right) in action during their Australia v New Zealand Oceania Cup and Olympic Qualifier finals match in Buderim in 2007. GRANT TREEBY

He won two silver medals at world championship level and gold, three silver and one bronze medal in the Champions Trophy.

Butler was Queensland Player of the Year in 2001 and won multiple national titles with the Queensland Blades and player of the final awards.

He played 203 internationals at open level for Australia after being in the winning Australian team in an under-21 World Cup.

Butler scored 1000 runs in one Warwick cricket season, a feat rarely achieved.

6. Wayne Bennett

REGARDED as the super coach for his success with NRL, Queensland and Australian teams. He has won series at all levels of rugby league and has also been assistant coach of the New Zealand side.

Bennett was coach of the England team which shocked favourites Australia to almost win the 2017 World Cup.

Men of League CEO Frank Barrett and Brisbane Broncos coach Wayne Bennett with Basil Nolan, Lily Nolan and Grace Ball at the Cowboys.

Photo Gerard Walsh / Warwick Daily News
Men of League CEO Frank Barrett and Brisbane Broncos coach Wayne Bennett with Basil Nolan, Lily Nolan and Grace Ball at the Cowboys in 2015. Gerard Walsh

He started his career with the Collegians club in Warwick and made Warwick and District teams.

A fullback or winger, he played for Queensland in 1971-1973 and toured New Zealand with an Australian side in 1973.

He has coached teams to seven NRL premiership wins, including back-to-back premierships with the Broncos and six flags in total for Brisbane. Bennett is now coach of the Souths Rabbitohs.

5. Greg Holmes

HE was a champion schoolboy athlete in shot put, hammer and discus winning medals galore at state and national level.

Holmes made a state merit team in rugby league after playing juniors for Wattles and played rugby union at Allora State School and then Downlands College.

Greg Holmes of the Queensland Reds look on after their Round 17 Super Rugby game against the Melbourne Rebels at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Friday, July 15, 2016. (AAP Image/Dan Peled) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Greg Holmes of the Queensland Reds look on after their Round 17 Super Rugby game against the Melbourne Rebels at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Friday, July 15, 2016. DAN PELED

After school, he signed with the Queensland Reds and played 144 Super Rugby games and won one championship title.

A prop, he scored a 60m try for the Australian Wallabies against Ireland in 2006, a try still discussed when the name Holmes comes up. He also scored in a 49-0 win against South Africa.

He played 27 internationals for Australia and has played with Exeter in England since 2016, a side he has captained.

4. Matthew Denny

A MULTIPLE medallist at state and national junior and schoolboys' level in shot put, discus and hammer, Denny qualified for his first Olympics in Rio de Janeiro at the age of 20 and was the youngest in the field. He was 19th in the 2016 Olympics after having earlier travelled to the United States to throw an Olympic qualifier past 65m.

Denny won gold and bronze in the World Youth Championships, silver in the World University Games and then silver in hammer at this year's Commonwealth Games at the Gold Coast.

Gold medalist Matthew Denny of Queensland is seen during the Mens Discus final the Australian Athletics Championships competition at Carrara Stadium on the Gold Coast, Friday, February 16, 2018. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Gold medalist Matthew Denny of Queensland is seen during the Mens Discus final the Australian Athletics Championships competition at Carrara Stadium on the Gold Coast, Friday, February 16, 2018. DAVE HUNT

He is giving hammer at break at present as he concentrates on discus in the run up to next year's world championships.

If he didn't choose athletics, he could have made top-level sport in rugby league.

3. Shane Webcke

ORIGINALLY from Leyburn, Shane Webcke played his junior and senior rugby league with Wattles Warriors.

He played in a winning under-18 Wattles side in the TRL grand final in 1991 and was spotted in that game by Brisbane Broncos coach Wayne Bennett who signed him at the Broncos, a club where he played all his NRL footy.

Bradley and Kerryn Piggott with Shane Webcke receiving their category one Work Safe award.
Shane Webcke (right) presents a Work Safe award to Bradley and Kerryn Piggott during one of his many public appearances in Queensland this year. contributed

He strapped up a broken arm to play in the winning 2000 grand final team. One of the tough men of league, he scored 18 tries in 254 NRL games.

Webcke played 26 games for Australia in the front row, four in Super League and 21 State of Origin games as well as captaining his state.

He now reads sport for Channel 7 but lives on the Darling Downs.

2. Don Wright

HE was selected as the Warwick Athlete of the 20th Century when the Daily News called for reader nominations in all sports in the 2000 year.

One of the best athletes to compete at Warwick State High School, he concentrated on the hurdles after he left school.

Don Wright home in Warwick after 20 years in the United States.

Photo Gerard Walsh / Warwick Daily News
Don Wright home in Warwick in 2013 after 20 years in the United States. Gerard Walsh

He competed in track and field and lived in America for a time but never missed the national championships where he was 110m hurdles champion for 10 successive years.

His greatest performance was making the semi finals of the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984. Hurdling is an event where athletes from America and Europe were dominant.

He won bronze in hurdles at the 1982 and 1986 Commonwealth Games. The 1982 win was in Brisbane. In recent years, he returned to Warwick to help his mother who was in her 90s.

1. Laura Geitz

GEITZ, from Allora, made Darling Downs teams in athletics and swimming. She played junior netball at Warwick Netball Association and Scots PGC College.

Geitz was a Daily News/Warwick Credit Union Junior Sports Star of the Year when she represented Queensland in age group netball teams. She played 71 games for Australia and more than 100 for the Firebirds, winning two ANZ Championship Player of the Year awards.

Laura Geitz (right) of the Firebirds is seen celebrating with team mates Romelda Aiken (left) and Mahalia Cassidy (centre) of the Firebirds during the Round 13 Super Netball match between the Queensland Firebirds and the Adelaide Thunderbirds at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre in Brisbane, Sunday, July 29, 2018. (AAP Image/Darren England) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Laura Geitz (right) of the Firebirds is seen celebrating with team mates Romelda Aiken (left) and Mahalia Cassidy (centre) of the Firebirds during the Round 13 Super Netball match between the Queensland Firebirds and the Adelaide Thunderbirds this year. DARREN ENGLAND

In 2011 Geitz was in the undefeated Firebirds team which won the ANZ title, in the Australian team which won the World Championships and received the Liz Ellis Diamond for best player in Australia.

She captained Australia to gold at the 2013 world championships and 2014 Commonwealth Games and had a 94% winning record as leader.