Fearnley had been a finalist four times. This year, he beat motor sports stars Daniel Ricciardo and Will Power, cricketer Ellyse Perry, soccer star Sam Kerr, former Australian hockey captain Mark Knowles and para-athletes Madison de Rozario and Lauren Parker.
Also on Thursday night, the late, inimitable Richie Benaud was elevated from the Hall of Fame ranks to become the body’s 40th Legend. Benaud is a Hall of Fame original who was first nominated as a Legend in 2008, but asked for the honour to be deferred until he had retired from media work. He died in 2015.