Standing in the Hall of Fame

Legends: Newly inducted Bocce Australia Hall of Fame members Maria Maselli, Anna Prezioso and Dianne Penney. photograph liam durkin



A TRIO of local bocce players are now officially some of the best to ever grace a court.
Italian Australian Club, Morwell members Diane Penney, Maria Maselli and Anna Prezioso were recently selected in the Bocce Australia Team of the Half Century.
The timing of the announcement was quite fitting, as it coincided with the recent National
Bocce Championships, held in Morwell.
The who’s who of Bocce Australia, and most of the Australian bocce fraternity, were on-hand to congratulate the ladies, who were formally bestowed with the honour during the nationals.
Penney, who plays both Bocce-Volo and BocceRaffa, has won and holds 10 Australian Bocce-Volo titles, and has represented Australia twice in world titles, in China and Argentina.
Penny said it came as quite a shock hearing her name called out.
“I was just gobsmacked, it was a great honour, something that I didn’t expect,” she said.
Maria Maselli has had a distinguished career in the sport, being a four-time doubles Australian champion and a two-time triples Australian champion.
Maselli also won a Gold medal at the Asia Oceania Sport Boules Championships, and represented Australia at the Women’s World Titles in China.
“To be put in the same team as some of the members that you look up to, because a lot have been playing a lot longer than us, to even think that we are in the same team as them is a big honour,” Maselli said.
“There were 10 inducted and three from Morwell so that is a big thing.”
Anna Prezioso has just about done it all in bocce, with four doubles Australian championships, two triples, a Gold medal at the Asia Oceania Sport Boules Championships, and an Australian guernsey at the Women’s World Titles leading her to already be inducted into the Hall of Fame for her services to the Morwell Club, Bocce Victoria and Bocce Australia.
“It was an honour, I never expected it,” she said.
“We have been playing for quite a while together, that is what makes it an honour … very proud.”
Bocce Australia president Frank Funari was on hand to make the presentations, and congratulated the trio on their induction.
“We have three from Morwell, which is a credit to the club; they have produced a lot of champions over the years, and to have three of the women inducted is a great achievement for them and the club, and we are so proud of them,” he said.
Away from the courts, Penney, Maselli and Prezioso have contributed greatly to the life and times of the Italian Australian Club, as has Franco Fava, who was also inducted into the Bocce Australia Hall of Fame as a General Member for his contribution to the sport as a coach, referee and athlete.
Fava has been a successful coach and referee and one of the most colourful performers in Australian Bocce history.
As a coach he has trained many successful junior, men and women athletes at the club at national and international level, and has won Silver medals in Raffa singles and doubles at the Asia Oceania Bocce Raffa Championships.
The new inductees were presented with a green badge sporting the Bocce Australia logo and the words ‘Team Of Half Century’ emblazoned across the front.
Those badges are set to be proudly displayed by Penney, Maselli and Prezioso whenever they are down at the Italian-Australian Club.