FROM Olympic medals to grand ﬁnal victories, there have been many headline moments as our athletes continue to dominate sporting events around the world. In the ﬁrst of a two-part special series Michael Carayannis counts down the top 15 sporting moments of 2012
15: Scott Arnold wins ﬁrst tournament
Scott Arnold celebrated his ﬁrst professional golf win by taking out the Victorian Open in a dramatic ﬁnal hole in January. The former world No.1 amateur had to bide his time for a win since turning professional in mid-2009. ‘‘It proves that I can win,’’ Arnold said. ‘‘I think it’ll make it a bit easier because when I get in that position again I know I’ve won before.’’ On the ﬁnal hole when, with a one-shot lead, he chose a wedge instead of a sand-iron after his ball lodged in a bunker. ‘‘I had about 12 metres to the hole,’’ Arnold said. ‘‘It was a one-in-100 type shot.’’
14: Moises Henriques breakthrough 100
With a blistering, unbeaten, maiden, ﬁrst-class century, Moises Henriques ﬁ nally arrived on the interstate scene. Long earmarked to be a mainstay on the international circuit, the St George cricketer has battled injury and inconsistency since making his state debut as a teen. He scored a match-winning 161 not-out for NSW against Tasmania at Bankstown Oval in September. ‘‘‘I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t something that I really wanted to knock over,’’ Henriques said. ‘‘It was a massive relief and something I’ve wanted to achieve for a while.
13: League legends retire
St George Illawarra duo Ben Hornby and Dean Young retired at the end of last season while Cronulla junior Colin Best also hung up his boots after stints with the Sharks, Dragons, Raiders and South Sydney. Hornby finished as the most-capped Dragon of all-time while Best played 261 first grade games scoring 109 tries. Young, who featured in one State of Origin and a Test match, played 209 NRL games, highlighted by the 2010 premiership.
12: Sharks win Waratah Cup
Sutherland Sharks clinched the 2012 Waratah Cup title with a 4-1 win against APIA-Leichhardt Tigers in the Football NSW knockout competition at Cromer Park, Cromer, in July. Sutherland raced to a two-nil lead after just 23 minutes with goals to Chris Price and Matt Bailey. A-League players Blake Powell and Panni Nikas scored in the second half to hand the win to the Sharks. “The performance was wonderful, that is what we have been working towards all year and I am really pleased for the boys, who all worked very hard,” Sharks coach Robbie Stanton said.
11: Auprince part of Paralympics gold
Michael Auprince finished the 2012 Paralympics with a gold and bronze relay medals. Although he did not swim in the finals, Auprince’s performances in the heats of the 4x100 metre freestyle relay and the 4x100m medley relay was enough to secure gold and bronze respectively. Auprince finished fourth in the 100m backstroke. ‘‘I want to win,’’ Auprince said before the games. ‘‘I expect to at least make the top five.’’ In the medley race, Australia finished behind China, who swam a world record, and Russia, who broke a European record to finish second.
10: Sharks sign Luke Lewis
Cronulla Sharks bolstered an already impressive backrow by signing Australian player Luke Lewis to a four-year deal in July. Lewis joined the club after a 200-game stint with Penrith, where he went on to play 12 Tests and 11 games for NSW. ‘‘I felt the Sharks were the team that suited me professionally and personally,’’ Lewis said. ‘‘They’ve bent over backwards for me to make everything possible. I’m so happy to be coming here next year. The feel is outstanding, it’s a weight off my shoulders.’’
9: Sutherland break grand final drought
Sutherland Shire netball celebrated their first grand final victory in more than a decade in the State League Waratah Cup in August. In a thrilling finish, the Maria Lynch-coached team came from eight points down at one stage to hit the lead with just a minute to go to topple favourites, Eastwood Ryde, 45-43. Wing defender and nurse Paula Mitchell capped a big night in her swansong game after 11 years of State League representative netball by being named the most valuable player. ‘‘Both teams played exceptional netball, from the shooters right down to the defence,’’ Lynch said.
8: Record-breaking knock for Lenard
Maddison Lenard became only the second 15-year-old in Australian women’s baseball history to be called into the senior squad. Despite her youth, Lenard’s performances at the recent Australian titles proved irresistible to the Australian selectors after she helped NSW secure a silver medal, even pitching in the final against Western Australia. ‘‘The selectors had told me not to get too upset if I didn’t make the squad because of my age,’’ Lenard said. ‘‘But I guess I played so well in the tournament that they had to pick me. I couldn’t believe it.’’
What do you think of our top 15 to eight sporting moments of 2012? Do you agree?
See the next edition of the Leader for more.