The end of another year is always a time for reflection on what has happened over the previous 12 months. Sport is no exception as the year comes to a close.
2016 will be remembered for three things – the Rio Olympics, a year of fairytales and firsts, and underachievement for local sports teams.
As the dust finally settles on Rio, it is fair to say that this year’s edition of the Olympics will be remembered as a disappointment for Australia – where the era of overachievement propelled by the hosting of the games in Sydney 16 years ago finally came to an end.
By contrast, the Paralympics was a breath of fresh air for those who enjoy top level sport for the sport itself.
The understated optimism of the Australian Paralympic Committee in comparison to their Australian Olympic Committee counterparts was also stark – which at least came true as Australia completed a top five finish on their medal table.
2016 will also be remembered as the year of the fairytale – the year where the battling underachiever overcame the odds to win and break a long drought.
Started off by Leicester City’s remarkable English Premier League title, the year saw the Western Bulldogs (62 years), the Cronulla Sharks (49 years for their first ever title), and American baseball’s Chicago Cubs (108 years) all break long droughts to win their respective titles.
Locally, 2016 was a year of slim pickings. Started off by the Northern District Rangers narrowly missing the Sydney First Grade Cricket Finals by a margin equal to just four runs over a season, locally based teams struggled in their competitions.
The Asquith Magpies (rugby league), Hornsby Lions (rugby union), Northern Tigers and North Shore Mariners (soccer) all failed to make their respective end of season playoffs.
The Pennant Hills Demons found the task to defend their Sydney AFL title too great as they bowed out in the Elimination Final to the North Shore Bombers, who in turn were eliminated in the first semi-final the following week.
It was left to the Ku ring gai netballers to fly the local flag in winning their Sydney Metro League Grand Final as the district’s only outright winners this year, while Knox Grammar’s First Fifteen shared their CAS Rugby title with arch rivals Waverley College.
Here’s hoping that 2017 is a better one for our local teams. At least the Rangers start (unbeaten in second spot) to their year and the recent Asquith agreement with the North Sydney Bears of a renewed partnership for players are promising signs for a better year ahead.
Enjoy your Christmas, and see you at the game in the New Year.