Sports Stars 5, 6 & 7: Tim Brown, Kyle Shaw & Jess Johnston

Recognition for Padel player Tim Brown, footballer Kyle Shaw, and track and field athlete Jess Johnston.

By Anthony Stavrinos*

AUSTRALIA’s top-ranked male competitor in the developing sport of Padel, one of the local area’s brightest young footballing prospects and a talented track and field athlete and representative netballer are the eighth, ninth and tenth 2022-23 Ryde Sports Foundation Sports Star of the Year monthly winners.


TIM BROWN, Australia’s number one competitor in the sport of Padel, is the fifth 2022-23 Ryde Sports Foundation Sports Star of the Year monthly winner.

Rugby Union was strangely the sport that helped spark Tim’s successful foray into Padel.

Tim, 32, from Lane Cove North, has been playing tennis for 25 years and showing was showing plenty of promise, claiming junior AMT titles and a junior state teams title.

Padel star Tim Brown

But he voluntarily ended his tennis career in 2015 at the age of 15 due to an ongoing wrist injury.
That’s when he had his moment of conversion.

“I converted from tennis to beach tennis to padel just by chance,” Tim said.

“My doubles partner and I found two beach tennis courts on Bondi beach, then two padel courts at Moore Park, while on our way to see a rugby game!”

What has followed is seven years of padel success, with four Australian Padel Tour Titles in 2022 (Indoor Challenge, Sydney Open, Perth Cup, Melbourne Classic), a runner-up title at the Gold Coast Australian Championships, seven club titles in 2022 and one club runner-up title.

More recently, Tennis Australia has embraced padel as part of the tennis family, with an inaugural padel tournament staged in Melbourne during the Australian Open tournament last month and the final played on Sunday.

The good news? Tim was in the final with partner Jarek Jozwiak. Unfortunately, the title was snatched from them by the Swedish pairing of Johan Fors and Linus John Carl Frost.

TWT Territory happens to now play a major role in padel’s development in Australia with Sydney Sport Management Group investing $500,000 into one of the nation’s largest Padel venues at its Tennis World North Ryde.

Created in the late 1960s, padel is most popular in Hispanic American countries such as Argentina and Mexico as well as in Spain, although it is now beginning to spread rapidly across Europe and other continents

Opened in October 2019, Padel Sydney North offers four padel sport courts and a social/clubhouse space occupying an area that was previously home to two full sized tennis courts.

Being just up the road from home, it’s also where Tim has based himself for training almost seven days a week. And it could also be the site of future glory for our padel star.

Matt Barrelle, President of the Australian Padel Federation (APF), is hoping that the site will host an Australian leg of the World Padel Tour (WPT).

NWS Spirit footballer Kyle Shaw
NWS Spirit FC footballer Kyle Shaw


EIGHTEEN-YEAR-OLD Kyle Shaw is the sixth 2022-23 Ryde Sports Foundation Sports Star of the Year monthly winner, as one of NWS Spirit FC’s rising stars.

Kyle played his junior football with Holy Cross College Soccer Club and North Ryde Soccer Club before leveling up to play rep football with NWS Spirit FC between under-10s and under-13s.

From under-13, Kyle played for Sydney FC’s youth sides in the top tier, state-based NPL competition before last year returning to play in the under-18 with NWS Spirit FC, which has just been promoted to the NPL’s top flight.

He was also a member of the Epping Boys High School (EBHS) first Grade football team, crowned State Champions in the NSWCHS Puma Football Cup 2022 Knockout, solidifying EBHS’s place as the most successful school in the competition’s 60 year history.

Among his other schoolboy football achievements, Kyle was captain of the Sydney North zone squad and NSWCHS State Championship Squad.

Kyle, 19, was also a member of the NSW All Schools Open Boys Squad, was named Under-19 Tri Series Interstate Football Championships’ ‘Most Valuable Player NSW’ and was also a shadow player for the Under-19 Australian Schoolboys squad.

Kyle is now a member of NWS Spirit’s First Grade men’s side, which had a fairytale 2022 season, including winning the Waratah Cup and qualifying for the Australia Cup.

There will be plenty of extra attention on the Spirit’s top men’s team this year and coaching staff are preparing for a big season.

They’ll be no pushover, with the 2022 Waratah Cup Champions preparing for an exciting season led by inspirational coach David Perkovic.

Perkovic has managed to retain several of his stars from 2022, including Chris Marques, Musashi Kokubo, Kota Odakura, Louis Bozanic, Michael Konestabo, Mitchell Davidson and Richie Darko.

There will be eight new faces at Christie Park, which is nicknamed the ‘Arctic Circle’, with former APIA Leichhardt FC players Simon Nicholas and Matthew Cahill, ex-Northern Tigers star Ollie Wiggin, former Wollongong United ace Jacob Madden, former Hakoah player Luiz Lobo, Sydney FC Academy product Frederico Gagliano, ex-Sutherland Sharks youth player George Kriezis and former Australian Youth International Jared Lum all signing up with the Spirit.

One huge loss for Perkovic and his troops though is the club’s skipper, Grant Cornwell, who unfortunately suffered an ACL injury and underwent surgery in December.


Track and field athlete, Jess Johnston

Talented track and field athlete and representative netballer Jessica Johnston is the seventh 2022-23 Ryde Sports Foundation Sports Star of the Year monthly winner.

Jess Johnston has been competing for Ryde Athletics since joining as an Under-6 little athlete.

In that time Jess proved herself to be an all-round athlete often taking out the age champion award for her group as well as winning state medals at the Little Athletics state championships.

Over the past four seasons, Jess has shown outstanding skill as a thrower and has grown to be one of the club’s most outstanding throwers, competing at national level across discus, shot put, hammer throw and javelin.

In the Australian Athletics 2020 Rankings Jess ended the year with 4 top ten rankings in Australia – 8th for shot put, 3rd for discus, 6th in javelin and 8th in hammer throw, an outstanding result.

At the Ryde Athletics 2021 presentation day in recognition of her excellent results, Jess took home the Mrs F. Downing Trophy for Most Outstanding Field Athlete & the E. Godfrey Trophy for Most Outstanding Under 16 Field Athlete trophies.

Injury saw Jess sit out the 2021 NSW All Schools but Jess was back on the podium in February 2022, first at the ACT Track & Field Championships where Jess won gold in the U16 discus, shot put and javelin and silver in the hammer throw.

At the ANSW Junior Championships Jess had her most successful NSW state medal haul of silver in both the discus and shot put and bronze in the hammer throw and javelin, again qualifying her to compete in all four throws events at the 2022 Australian Track and Field Championships.

Her state medal haul was added to by three more medals when she won gold in the shot put, silver in the discus and bronze in javelin in the Under-15 girls events at the 2022 NSW Little Athletics State Championships.

Jess’s second time at nationals again saw her rise to achieve great results, coming home with five top ten places in Australia results.

In the Under-16 discus Jess won the silver medal, placed 9th in javelin and hammer, 5th in shot put and competing up an age, 5th in the U18 discus.

At the Ryde Athletics Presentation day in May 2022 Jess’s achievements were recognised when she was awarded the Michael Atterton Memorial Trophy for Most Outstanding Female Athlete, the Mrs F. Downing Trophy for Most Outstanding Field Athlete and the E. Godfrey Trophy for Most Outstanding Under-16 Field.

”Given Jess had started the 2021/22 season in a wrist brace after surgery and spent the middle part of the season in a moon boot, her results were even more extraordinary,” Ryde Athletics spokeswoman Louise Bergfield said.

”The 2022/23 season started with the NSW All Schools and Jess had another successful meet securing silver in the 15yrs discus, bronze in the shot put, 4th in the javelin and hammer throw.”

Jess’ silver in discus saw her qualify for the 2022 Australian All School Championships in Adelaide in December 2022 where Jess again produced a personal best throw to finish just out of the medals, placing 4th.

As well as her outstanding athletics results, Jess is also an accomplished netballer, having played for ERNA in their Rep teams from 12-15yrs.
She also made the NSWPSSA netball team in 2019 and in May 2022 Jess made the NSW All Schools 15yrs team that contested the Australian All Schools Netball Championships in Canberra in July 2022 where the NSW team won the bronze medal.
More recently, Jess at still 15yrs of age, was announced as a member of the ERNA Hawks U23 Premier Team.

Jess is clearly a busy girl with her dual representative sport but has been a constant at Ryde Athletics’ fundraising events since the age of 12.

“Jess is always willing to be part of any Ryde team and has a quiet and somewhat shy nature that belies the amazing talent she has,” Ms Bergfield said.

“I look forward to seeing how far she goes in both of her chosen sports.”

*Story courtesy The Weekly Times