Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Lists 2014

Lists 2014
My Sporting Favourites from 2014
1. Easy choice for me in 2014!! 43 years... The South Sydney Rabbitohs won the Australian National Rugby League Major Premiership [the Grand Final v Canterbury Bulldogs] at Sydney's former Olympic Stadium at Homebush [sadly a night time kick off where 3pm would be preferable]!!
The folklore and real history around the team make them genuinely 'the pride of the league' and having been ejected from the competition in the TV rights wars, this original team needed the vision and private ownership of Russell Crowe to get to a point of success with the great coaching of Michael Maguire. The recruiting of Greg Inglis and the other jig saw pieces this allowed to fall into place have created a team capped off by the creativity of Luke Keary to go further than the two years before... a great win of the mental battle on the night too...

2. Newcastle's Wanderers Rugby Club benefitted from the system set up under a hard working committee and the Coaching of Todd Louden as we fulfilled a pre season goal of contesting every Grand Final on offer... 1st, 2nd, 3rd Grade and Colts, Women's Rugby and C Grade [throw in Under 18s and other juniors too]. 2nd fell just short with some field position pressure from a skilled opposition BUT 1st's was one for the ages... Having lost a tough Major Semi they made the personnel, positional and mental changes required to tough out a close game and triumph in a way they deserved after a long campaign. Wanderers 90th year saw me re-engage in a 'Player Welfare' role and I enjoyed the trips to Newcastle's No2 Sportsground and the Thursday Night Blue Room times...

3. NSW Blues Origin win in Rugby League was sweet if a struggle after the long maroon winters before... the side should have taken it the year before BUT I think it's no accident they made tough calls against players who committed to a standard and fell short behaviour wise this year... a sobering lesson perhaps!!

4. Brad Haddin's cricket last summer was superb and he saved the Aussie cricket team on many occasions in a summer of under achieving top order batsmen. Sometimes vulnerable to the straight ball that deviates ever so slightly, he was a mental giant!! This all wrapped up a 5-0 Ashes sweep.

5. The Retirement Celebration of the New York Yankees Captain Derek Jeter
Jeter was an MLB one club identity who was give surf skis, holidays and other unique memorabilia by opposition teams around the US as he played the usual level of baseball hitting and leadership despite the Yankees not making 'the post season.' Saw him wrestle a game away from Atlanta live in the Bronx in 1998!! Great player!!

6. The all conquering Australian Netball Diamonds had a brilliant 2014 including Commonwealth Games Gold and 13 undefeated Tests. One look at the defenders reminds you of what was needed in and post the Irene Van Dyke era for the Silver Ferns [height]... but the speed of the team and shooting percentages were amazing.

7. Waratahs win the Super 15 Rugby Union [and not just March] in a close but willing Final that crowned an appropriate winner. Michael Cheika went a huge way towards transforming a losing culture and now has that challenge with the Wallabies in the lead up to the 2015 Rugby World Cup in the UK

8. Rory McIlroy wins the British Open Golf [or the Open Championship] winning a few punters significant money who backed him to win it before he turned 25

9. Aussie Womens T20 World Champs 3rd time in a row and Meg Lannings continued good form with the bat through this summer.

10. What did I forget? Maybe Daniel Ricciardo

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