Simon Orchard became the first and only hockey player to date to win the Maitland Sportsperson of the Year award when he claimed the trophy in 2008.
The 22-year-old from Bolwarra was recognised for his efforts on the field representing Australia.
The Kookaburras midfielder made his international debut at the successful Five Nations campaign and was part of the pre-Olympic squad for the Beijing Olympics.
At the time, the Maitland Rams product and former All Saints College student had 15 Tests and two goals next to his name while wearing the green and gold uniform.
Orchard has since notched up more than 100 Tests, scored a goal in Australia’s bronze-medal win at the 2012 London Olympics and claimed Champions Trophy, World Cup and Commonwealth Games gold.
Also at the 2008 awards a special elite prize went the way of Lochinvar equestrian Heath Ryan for representing Australia at the 2008 Games.
In the junior section, Lochinvar swimmer Matthew Roberts was judged the best athlete of the year, while Bolwarra Heights dirt track rider Alex Davies received the encouragement award.
The people’s choice awards, voted by Mercury readers, were collected by East Maitland bodybuilder Luke Belcher and Roberts.
Local sporting identity Gary Harley was the master of ceremonies at Maitland Leagues Club.
A magazine featuring all of the Maitland Sportsperson of the Year award winners from the last 50 years will appear in the Maitland Mercury this Friday.