VALE - Sue Sofarnos (nee Mellis) ‘Melli’

VALE - Sue Sofarnos (nee Mellis) ‘Melli’

11 January 1961 – 19 September 2020 (59)

The Australian Lacrosse Association and the entire Australian lacrosse community, is mourning the passing of Sue Sofarnos, suddenly on Saturday 19 September 2020.

Sue contributed to all levels of lacrosse, firstly from a young age of 10 as a player for many years and then as a coach of Newport Ladies Lacrosse Club, with Lacrosse Victoria as a state player multiple times and then as a coach over several years; and with ALA as Australian Team player at 5 World Cup’s and as a coach at 3 World Cups. During the height of her playing career, Sue was one of the best female players in the world, as demonstrated with her All World Team selection at the 1982 World Cup and in Australian’s World Cup victory in 1986.

Sue’s contribution to the Australian Women’s Teams over many years, was instilling internal trust and self-belief and of each other. Her leadership and support of everyone was part of what she was and her care factor to those around her was unsurpassed. Sue’s passion, dedication and commitment to her team mates was unapparalleled. Her work ethics and pursuit of ‘an edge’ was always on show. Sue was always leading by example, proving support and encouragement to be the best you could be, every single day.  

Sue’s service to lacrosse has included several distinguished awards; the Nell Rawlins Award 1980 and 2019 (Lacrosse Victoria award, awarded to an individual who has made a significant contribution to women’s lacrosse in any one year). Sue also received the Women’s Lacrosse Australia Merit Award in 2008 and her services to lacrosse and the community were acknowledged earlier this year when she received the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM).

Sue was much loved in the Australian lacrosse community and will be sadly missed.

Sue is survived by husband John and daughters Hayley and Jessica.  And son-in-law, Chris.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Sue’s family and friends at this sad and difficult time.


Sue Sofarnos – Achievements

Australia – Player

  • Australian Women’s Team – 1978, 1981, 1982, 1986 (World Champions), 1989, 1993, 1997.
  • Australian Women’s Touring Team – 1983, 1988, 1992.

Australia – Coach

  • Australian Women’s Team - General Manager 2021
  • Australian Women’s Team - Team Analyst 2017
  • Australian Women’s Team - Head Coach 2009
  • Australian Women’s Team - Assist Coach 2005 (World Champions)

Awards and Recognition include:

  • Medal of the Order of Australia OAM, 2020
  • VWLA and Lacrosse Victoria - Nell Rawlins Award 1989 and 2019 (for outstanding achievement on and or off the lacrosse field)
  • Commonwealth Games - 2018 Baton Bearer Relay
  • Sport Australia - Hall of Fame, 2014 Nominee
  • Sport and Recreation Victoria, Community Coach of the Year, 2014
  • Victorian Government, Sports Development for Women Program, Grant Recipient 2006
  • Australian Sports Commission, Sport Australia Award 'for services to Women's Lacrosse', 2000.
  • Australian Sports Medal, 2000.
  • Women’s Lacrosse Australian, Living Legend, 1999.
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