So it has come to this, our annual rundown and catch up of the sporting year. Our second instalment features a sporting year that lacked for a bit of excitement at times. No big tournament (RWC doesn’t count), an underwhelming F1 season, an anti climactic AFL Grand Final, losing Ashes series and that all out for 60, and a regular NRL season of generally tedious football until the final series came around, meant that 2015 was not a classic.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t have our say on the highlights and lowlights of the 2015 Sporting Year.
The GOLDEN HOGG AWARD for SPORTSPERSON OF THE YEAR
JOHNATHAN THURSTON – by some distance the best rugby league player this year.
SEMI RADRADRA – somehow top scored for the Eels, always a joy to be called during games.
JASON DAY – Got the major he deserved after being so close for so long.
MIGUEL ANGEL JIMINEZ – 3 holes in one this year including consecutive weeks, breaking the all time Euro PGA record.
BRAD HOGG – when all the talk is about the imported superstars, Brad Hogg led Perth to the Big Bash title in his usual style.
The SUPER AGURI RIBBON for TEAM OF THE YEAR
MERCEDES F1 – as boring as it was for the neutral fan, respect must be given for the Silver Arrows dominance.
HAWTHORN – same applies to the Hawks who showed their class with a third straight Grand Final win.
IPSWICH JETS – played rugby league in a style that hasn’t been seen before and proved it can win multiple Grand Finals. Probably won’t be seen again as they’ve lost 8 of their best players. But we’ll see.
QLD ORIGIN – after the hype of NSW’s big win in Origin II in Melbourne – NSW now the future, Qld too old, too slow, too everything, the complete annihilation of the Blues in the third game was a statement of why the team won 8 series in a row until 2013. And a ninth in ten in 2015.
PNG HUNTERS – provided so much entertainment every time we got the chance to go along to a game.
The PLAY OF THE YEAR
IPSWICH JETS v PNG HUNTERS – hard to believe play of the year was in the Queensland Cup, but it was and regular reader of The Gurgler will know our love for the Intrust Super Cup.
Having scored against the Hunters to reduce a fast increasing gap, the Jets tried something different from receiving the kick off, as is their trademark under the coaching of the Walker brothers. Instead of the NRL Standard trudging back of the prop after the NRL Standard kick just to the left of the posts, the Ipswich five eighth took a few steps and then booted the ball over the charging Hunters players setting up a foot race over 70m+ involving the Jets players who knew it was coming, the Hunters players trying desperately to catch them, and the poor ball boy who looked up after picking up the kicking tee to see a number of giant men coming at him.
He made it off the field safely, and the ball went over the touchline deep into Ipswich’s attacking half to end an outrageous passage of play.
DISAPPOINTMENT OF THE YEAR – brought to you by New Year’s Eve
SOUTH SYDNEY – 1 Premiership is all that one could ask for as a long suffering Souths fan, but their end to the 2015 season was awful at best.
RED BULL F1 – Despite Mercedes being dominant this season, at least Ricciardo got a chance to shine in 2014. Red Bull blamed Renault all year and that behaviour plus a stand out performance in the rain at the USGP guaranteed that no one else would give them an engine in 2016.
AUSTRALIA @ THE ASHES – Despite some success, the manner in which we lost the Ashes was ordinary, highlighted by the embarrassing one session collapse. The silver lining was it was enough to jetsam some of the under performing players. After the standard wasted review of course.
TURD OF THE YEAR – brought to you by the Jeep Cherokee
FIFA – for the second year running FIFA makes the list, andwhat a year for them. At least with the continuing arrests, Sepp Blatter “stepping aside” and other being suspended it might get clean. World Cycling clean.
TENNIS JERKS – Tomic and Kyrgios were real turds throughout 2015, and a shame as the talent at their disposal could lead to another golden age of Australian tennis like the Woodies-Rafter-Hewitt-Arthurs golden era. On the flipside it did give us an opportunity to play Tennis Jerk Bingo. A wonderful side dish to play along with the young guns.
The Sepp Blatter Lifetime Achievement award for GOOD RIDDANCE OF THE YEAR
SEPP BLATTER – if he does in fact end up going, thank christ and good riddance. Champagne and party streamers on ice though. At least most of the people he can suck money from have been arrested.
SHANE WATSON – Thankfully dropped from the Test side and doing just enough to keep his place for season after season. Try and remember a great Shane Watson or pivotal moment that led to a win. Maybe review it first and still be unsuccessful.
NRL CEO DAVE SMITH – you don’t have to be a league man to run the comp, but you do need some idea. The fact Fox couldn’t wait for him to bugger off before signing up for TV rights is an indication what the rugby league world thought of him.
The BROS Bright New Comers Award
MAX VERSTAPPEN – showed age is no barrier to pace and entertainment in F1.
The MF LAGER Feelgood Story of the Year
NORTH QLD COWBOYS – finally won a title after 21 seasons of trying, worked out best way to avoid controversial exit is to finish in Top 4 and play in Queensland.
IPSWICH JETS – finally won a title after 30 odd years of trying. Doubled up for the State Championship too.
PRINCE OF PENZANCE / MICHELLE PAYNE – always good to see a combination of great battlers getting the ultimate dream result on the biggest day of their sport.
COMPETITION OF THE YEAR
ENGLISH CHAMPIONSHIP FOOTBALL – A League that sees fallen EPL giants, small provincial teams punching above their weight, and a variety of delightfully mediocre team fighting each week. A league where truly any team can beat another and form guides are best galnced at than studied. Hopefully won’t be wrecked by the parachute money after the record TV rights deal in the EPL. Pity the coverage is on BEIn sports in Oz, meaning an extra $17 a month min to watch.
INTRUST SUPER CUP – biased we know, but the standard was higher than ever, and even getting to the stage of the lower ranked NRL teams at worst. A good variety of teams and playing styles.
DARTS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP – one event on The Gurgler’s must see sporting bucket list. How can you not have a good time.
ASHES – still the best competition of all cricket, despite the end result.
The Goodwill Games presents THE BIGGEST WASTE OF TIME COMPETITION
MATADOR CUP ONE DAY CRICKET – played on Sydney suburban grounds before anyone cares about cricket and months before the International One Day Series starts. If they don’t care that much, why not at least share the venues from year to year or week to week. Unless it needs to be in Sydney so Ian Healy can bore us to death before the Test Series starts.
TEST SERIES v WI – looked on paper to be Adrian Griffiths weak, and the first Test did nothing to dispel that. Why not apply a little Jazz with our suggestions on how to increase interest in the Test Series.
The Murray Walker award BROADCASTING OF THE YEAR
WARREN SMITH on any Parramatta game – Loves saying Semi Radradra’s name. We love hearing it.
ROY and HG AFL GRAND FINAL – Punted to a digital ABC station but well worth the effort to pause both to allow simulcast. Anyone who said the GF was boring was not tuned in.
INTRUST SUPER CUP – proof that there is a future at Channel 9 NRL broadcasting with Mat Thompson, Peter Psaltis and Scott Sattler doing a brilliant job with the Qld Cup. Mat Thompson then reproduced that during the finals when no one else could be bothered coming to Brisbane. Fine by us, No Rays = No Problems.
ABC GRANDSTAND CRICKET – such easy listening in general, and certainly in comparison to the love fest, I did it better back in the day, rubbish on Channel 9.
Chris Conroy’s Boat World presents SPORTS TV SHOW of the YEAR
SANTO, SAM, & ED’s TOTAL FOOTBALL – another hit from Working Dog, a victim of their other success as it didn’t return for 2015-16. Perfect mix of sports talk and comedy.
The Footy Show Award for WORST SPORTS TV SHOW of the YEAR
THE NRL FOOTY SHOW – the term can’t polish a turd comes to mind. Never fear, it will win another Logie and the justification for another year will be reiterated. Pity the Channel 10 NRL show didn’t last. At least it was about the football and not them.
CH9 CRICKET COVERAGE – just about unwatchable without Mute.
SAGA OF THE YEAR proudly presented by Mrs Mangels
JARRYD HAYNE – whilst it was a great achievement to make the NFL within his first year of trying, the constant updates of very little get tedious after a while.
NRL TV RIGHTS – finally sorted and with Fox Sports back on board, and with simulcast on Fox for all games, punters no longer need the ambush advertising, biased, boofhead coverage of Channel 9.
JAMES HIRD – should have done everyone a favour by resigning much earlier. Only did his reputation damage by staying on.
ROBBIE FARAH / WESTS TIGERS – whilst Farah has his issues and may be difficult, the Tigers will soon learn where the problem lies, and Taylor will depart.
STINK OF THE YEAR – not presented by Rexona
Despite all the justifications in the world, the decision not to give the PNG Hunters a home final after their tremendous season sucked complete arse. Surely, with after the PNG Hunters have paid for all to travel up there in 2014 and 2015 they could have found a way to cap a brilliant season with a just reward. At worst, it would have provided a great nation wide story for the QRL’s competition that a loss could have justified.
STILL DON’T CARE
WALLABIES & RUGBY WORLD CUP – not going to jump on the bandwagon just because they’re sort of good.
ANTHONY MUNDINE – with just the inevitable rematch loss to Danny Green, maybe that will be it for The Man, Either way, still don’t care.
NBL – until the Bullets are back and Leroy Loggins and Andre Moore are involved.
HAVE YOUR SAY – TELL US OUR CHOICES SUCK OR CHOOSE YOUR OWN