Boxing world champion Jeff Horn is among The Don nominees ©Getty Images

Seven of Australia's leading sports personalities have been shortlisted for one of the country's premier awards - "The Don". 

They will be recognised at this year's Sport Australia Hall of Fame induction and awards gala dinner on October 12 in Melbourne.

All of the finalists produced moments that brought pride to their country.

The Don Award is widely regarded as Australia's leading contemporary sporting award and is named in honour of cricket legend Don Bradman, the first Sport Australia Hall of Fame inductee.

Finalists this year include boxer Jeff Horn, who won the World Boxing Organization welterweight world title in July after a unanimous points decision victory over Filipino icon Manny Pacquiao, in what many consider to be one of the best‐ever wins by any Australian boxer. 

In football, the Australian women's team are nominated after they demolished Brazil 6-1 to win the Tournament of Nations in August.

Athlete Sally Pearson, who has received the Medal of the Order of Australia, has twice won the Don before, in 2013 and 2015.

She is nominated again after a remarkable comeback from a career-threatening wrist injury which saw her win her second world 100 metres hurdles title at the World Athletics Championships in London.

Sally Pearson, a former two-time winner, has been nominated again  ©Getty Images
Sally Pearson, a former two-time winner, has been nominated again ©Getty Images

Olympic basketball player Erin Phillips is another nominee after turning her hand to a new sport and proceeding to dominate the inaugural Australian Football League women's football season.

In swimming, Emily Seebohm is in contention having recovered from an illness that almost convinced her to retire.

She went on to win Australia's only gold medal at the World Aquatics Championships in Budapest, retaining her 200m backstroke title.

Rugby league star and 2016 Don Award finalist Johnathan Thurston is in the frame after once again leaving Australians on the edge of their seats at the 2017 State of Origin game.

After missing the opening match in the series, he returned to suffer a serious season-ending shoulder injury early in the second game.

Thurston played on, nailing a crucial and difficult conversion late in the match to keep Queensland's series alive.

Tyler Wright became the latest in a long line of Australian surfing champions when she won the 2016 World Championship title with a record score.  

Wright almost retired in 2015 after her brother Owen suffered a serious head injury during a competition warm‐up in Hawaii, becoming his primary carer.

Introduced in 1998, only two athletes have twice been awarded "The Don" - Pearson and pole vaulter Steve Hooker.

"The Don Award is the pinnacle of Australian sports awards," Pearson said.

"To be named as one of the finalists is a huge honour.  

"That being said, the night is also very special because all the superstars of Australian sports across many decades are gathered under one roof and I look up to them all."

Horn said winning The Don would be a career highlight, despite his achievement in defeating one of the greatest of all time in the "Battle of Brisbane" in July.

Emily Seebohm is nominated after her world title win in Budapest ©Getty Images
Emily Seebohm is nominated after her world title win in Budapest ©Getty Images

"I am deeply honoured to be considered by the Sport Australia Hall of Fame as a finalist," he said.

"After my win over Manny Pacquiao, I was invited as a guest to the ESPY (Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly awards) in Los Angeles, but attending the Sport Australia Hall of Fame night as a finalist is an even greater thrill."

Rob de Castella, the Sport Australia Hall of Fame Selection Committee chairman, added: "The Don Award is not an award for the most popular or the best performance of the year, but much more.

"The Don Award seeks to capture, celebrate, recognise and reward the individual or team who has ‘most inspired the nation’ through their performance."

Jockey Michelle Payne, the first female rider to win the Melbourne Cup, won the Don Award last year.