The strength and quality of the North-West’s sporting exports in 2016 was apparent when the finalists for the Tasmanian Institute of Sport’s Athlete of the Year award were announced.
BIG ROO: Former Devonport football Ben Brown led North Melbourne’s goal-kicking in 2016. Picture: Getty Images
Three of the five in line for the honourcame from our region.
That trio were Olympic team pursuit cyclist Amy Cure, 1500 metre Paralympian runner Deon Kenzie and world champion enduro rider Matt Phillips.
While he didn’t win that award, Phillips, with that world title under his belt, in many ways did top the list of “best from the Coast”.
The Wynyard product in September collected the EnduroGP world champion and theE2 class title, to go with histitles in the junior category in 2013 and Enduro 3 category in 2014.
All after starting this yearwith a new team as well (Sherco).
Cure, originally from West Pine, was unable to achieve her ultimate goal of gold in Rio, with a training crash in the lead-up seriously hampering the chances of her team, which also included fellow Tasmanian Georgia Baker.
When you consider the fractured build-up, their fifth placed finish was something to celebrate, andCure was a key figure inthat.
After a post-Olympic break, Cure returned to the track for Oceania and national championships, tasting success in team pursuit, maddison and omnium.
Kenzie, however,did finish among the medals for his outing in Rio, with the Forth runner winningMen’s1500 metres (T38).
Devonport swimmer Jacob Templeton was also at those Paralympics, and while he didn’t collect a medal, he set plenty of personal bests in the pool.
Closer to home, our AFL population again impressed.
While Grant Birchall didn’t add a fifth premiership medallion to his collection, the running defender from Devonport’s year was strong enough to finish fourth in Hawthorn’s best and fairest.
THE CHAMP: Matt Phillips won the the EnduroGP world champion and the E2 class title last year. Picture: Brodie Weeding
Fellow Devonport man Ben Brown led North Melbourne’s goal-kicking with 41.18 and Burnie’s Lachie Weller picked up a rising star nomination and was Fremantle’s best young player.
That trio are expected to again be at the forefront for the coming season.
The departure of Jordan Lewis and Sam Mitchell has strengthened Birchall’s position as a leader at the Hawks, while without Drew Petrie, Brown’s responsibility inside 50 will grow for the Kangaroos.
And with another year under his belt, Weller should develop into a key player for Fremantle as they look to bounce back up the ladder.
His brother Maverick continued to be strong leader at St KIlda, while Colin Garland was hurt before failing to find his way back into the side at Melbourne.
Burnie’s Ryan Gardner spent the year in the VFL at Geelong, and put in some strong performances.
But it wasn’t all good news, with a Ulverstone’s Alex Pearce suffering a badly broken leg in round 9, which ended hispromising season for the Dockers.
Brady Grey (at Fremantle), Luke Russell (Gold Coast) and Eli Templeton (St Kilda) were all delisted, with Grey eventually getting a second chance at the Dockers on the rookie list.
Russell is now with the Northern Blues in the VFL, a competition where Templeton is expected to be as well.
Former Burnie Docker Robbie Fox found his way to Sydney in the rookie draft, but it was at the AFLW draft were the region really shined.
Three players were drafted from the premiership winning Burnie side, Emma Humphries (Melbourne), Ellyse Gamble (Western Bulldogs) and Brittany Gibson (Brisbane).
Former Ulverstone basketballer Brooke Howells is also at Melbourne.
To the summergame and the great Ben Hilfenhaus called it a day in February after taking262 first-class wickets at 29.54 in 68 matches, 58 one-day wickets at 35.68 in 51 matches and 17 T20 wickets at 21 in 14 games for Tasmania.
The number of Coasters on Cricket Tasmania’s list continued to decline when Smithton’s Tom Triffitt lost his contract, despite solid performances behind the stumps and with the bat forthe Tigers.
The duo are in theMelbourne Stars’ squad for the Big Bash League.
In a positive, Ulverstone’s Corey Murfet started the summer as a rookie, and toured England with a Cricket Tasmania development squad.
RIO: Amy Cure had a tough time at the Olympics. Picture: Cordell Richardson
Matt Knight won his second NBL title when he was part of the Perth Wildcats team that won last season’sgrand final series2-1 over the New Zealand Breakers.
He was joined by Mason Bragg, who was signed by theWildcats in November.
OUT: Ben Hilfenhaus retired from first-class cricket. Picture: Getty Images
Other Coasters worthy of a mention include Devonport’s Wade McLean, who tasted national Formula Vee success.
The golfing exploits of Burnie’s Ryan McCarthy saw him spend his second year on theLatinoamerica tour in South America, while 2017 will see him compete on theEuropean Challenge tour.
Meanwhile, Devonport’s Wayne Stubbs won the 2016 World Masters Seniors title at the World Eightball Pool Championships in England in June.
Fellow Devonport product Cory Cadby also had success in England, winning the Professional Darts Corporation World Youth Championships.
Members of the Coastal Outriggers Canoe Club brought home medals from the Va’a World Sprint Titles and King Island’s Stewart McSweyn set three state records and won the open Australian Cross Country Championship.
Devonport’s Macey Stewart got back on the bike after a year off, with the Commonwealth Games and the Tokyo Olympics her aim.
TOMORROW: Action closer to home.This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.