I was there when: 2017 in sport

mds1970 Roar Guru

By mds1970, mds1970 is a Roar Guru

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    And so this is Christmas/ And what have you done?/ Another year over/ And a new one just begun.

    John Lennon’s classic Christmas song prompts reflection of the year that’s coming to an end.

    And for most of us hardcore sports junkies, we’ve been to a lot of sport. Because, while watching on TV is good, there’s nothing like being there.

    All of our experiences are as diverse as the permutations of matches we’ve attended. Whatever our sport, we’ve experienced the ecstacy of victory and the agony of defeat. Without it, and the unpredictability of what’s going to happen, sport wouldn’t be the same. It’s unscripted drama of the best kind.

    In AFL, the year belonged to Richmond. I wasn’t there for the grand final, but was there the week before, travelling to Melbourne to support my beloved Greater Western Sydney Giants against the Tigers in the preliminary final.

    There were 3000 of us, 90,000 of them. But we stood our ground.

    In the end, the Giants couldn’t get it done, and for the second year in a row finished one game short of the big dance. But you couldn’t begrudge Richmond’s long-suffering supporters that the long drought came to an end.

    Richmond Tigers Grand Final AFL 2017

    AAP Image/Julian Smith

    The Tiger fans are passionate, the ‘Yellow and Black’ in the team song is something special, and it was a memorable experience to have played a small part in that moment.

    The Richmond fans were great, and although we were outnumbered, there was never a hint of trouble and we were happy to congratulate them, and chat footy with them after the game.

    But next year it’s our turn.

    And we got one over the Tigers earlier in the year. I was at Spotless Stadium for that one, which came down to the final minute, as the Giants went coast to coast and Jeremy Cameron landed the winner on the run. Stevie Johnson got GWS over the line against Collingwood the week before, in a period of cliffhangers – at one stage, six out of seven games were decided by less than a goal.

    2017 will go down in history for the rise of women’s sport, where AFLW was instrumental. Memories of a dark and stormy evening at Blacktown will long live with me, as the Giants held on for dear life against the star-studded Demons to record their only win of the season.

    In the round-ball football game, I was at ANZ Stadium as the Socceroos took on Honduras for a spot in the World Cup.

    It had been an unconvincing campaign for the Aussies, forced into playoffs against Syria and Honduras. A scoreless first leg away was followed by a first half that was far from encouraging, seeing the nerves building.

    But nerves and despair gave way to elation as Mile Jedinak found the Honduran net and then twice converted from the penalty spot.

    Nothing like the sheer jubilation of 2005 – this time it was more like relief – but we’d made it through, and I was there.

    Mile Jedinak

    Photo by Matt King/Getty Images

    Most of the cricket I attended in 2017 was the T20 Big Bash, and there were plenty of highlights. Eoin Morgan smashing a six off the last ball to get the Thunder over the line, then the Sydney Smash at the SCG, when the Thunder demolished local rivals the Sixers after skittling them for less than 100.

    Just last week, in the opening game of the new season, the Thunder scored 15 off the last over for a first-up win.

    The Big Bash, with non-stop action over a short period of time, lends itself to the possibility of a close finish. And it’s the close games that are usually the memorable ones.

    But the cricketing moment I’ll remember this year the women’s Test at North Sydney Oval, where Ellyse Perry booked herself a place in the record books with a well-earned double century.

    Not just memorable for the innings itself, but this Ashes series saw the interest and awareness of women’s cricket rise substantially – and deservedly so.

    I didn’t get to much rugby league in 2017, but one I’ll remember was at ANZ Stadium, when Kevin Naiqama crossed in the last couple of minutes to get the crisis-ridden Wests Tigers a morale-boosting win over the Bulldogs.

    Everyone’s experiences are different, but in years to come, those who passed through the turnstiles will have cause to boast “I was there”.

    And it’s the being there that makes the difference.

    Have an awesome Christmas everyone!!

    A very merry Christmas/ And a happy New Year/ Let’s hope it’s a good one/ Without any fear.

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    The Crowd Says (13)

    • December 31st 2017 @ 9:16am
      Norad said | December 31st 2017 @ 9:16am | ! Report

      AFL must take a lot of the blame for this boring MCG test match. Drop in pitches to suit AFL are killing our test cricket. Rugby league was played on the SCG pitches for decades and you didn’t hear their players crying about it like AFL players have done to the MCG and other cricket grounds.

      • December 31st 2017 @ 9:55am
        Aligee said | December 31st 2017 @ 9:55am | ! Report

        Of course you could also argue that Australian Football has made cricket more popular due to the fantastic facilities it has fought for, so it can offer these to patrons around the country at the elite level and certainly at every level below where hundreds of community football and cricket clubs collude to upgrade facilities for year round use.

        I dont follow test cricket as closely as much as i used to, but didnt it rain yesterday in Melbourne.

      • Roar Rookie

        December 31st 2017 @ 11:36am
        Ryan Ranger said | December 31st 2017 @ 11:36am | ! Report

        This article had nothing to do with the Boxing Day test, yet you reply to the article anyway to bag the AFL for the poor pitch that the MCG curators dished up?!

        Despite the MCG reverting to drop-in wickets, the Boxing Day Test has almost always ended in a result. Very little has been said in the aftermath of previous Boxing Day Tests about the pitch, and certainly even fewer bemoaned the AFL when the Test ended in a result.

        Thanks for the read, MDS.

      • Roar Guru

        December 31st 2017 @ 1:33pm
        Wayne said | December 31st 2017 @ 1:33pm | ! Report

        Your right. Cricket should move away from the MCG and Adelaide oval. AFL actually fills the stadiums on a regular basis, rather than once every 4 years (Boxing Day) and 1 game in Adelaide. 😛

    • December 31st 2017 @ 10:02am
      not so super said | December 31st 2017 @ 10:02am | ! Report

      3000 or 300?

    • January 1st 2018 @ 9:21am
      Kangajets said | January 1st 2018 @ 9:21am | ! Report

      I was there in 2017! When gws had a home semi with a crowd that looked like 10000, of which at least 3000 were from the west coast,

      Meanwhile next parramatta v North Queensland had 40,000 fans

      • January 1st 2018 @ 10:21am
        Slane said | January 1st 2018 @ 10:21am | ! Report

        is 40,000 a big crowd? My team would be pretty dissapointed only playing in front of 40,000 people at home.

      • Roar Guru

        January 1st 2018 @ 11:19am
        Cat said | January 1st 2018 @ 11:19am | ! Report

        Wow, hand selecting a single select game to make your ‘case’ is so very not even close to impressive, nor enlightening.

        THE NRL has been rocked by a finals crowd-fudging scandal amid growing calls to bring the rugby league Grand Final to Queensland.

        Leaked crowd figures obtained by The Courier-Mail reveal a 15 per cent inflation on the NRL’s reported crowd attendance for Sydney games compared to actual crowd figures during this year’s finals series.

        A recorded 107,835 people walked through the gates of ANZ and Allianz Stadium in the past three weeks – almost 15,000 fewer than the 123,030 reported by the NRL.

        Crowd numbers
        for several games were inflated by as much as 5474 people in some instances (Cowboys vs Eels on September 16).

        The revelations about number fudging come on the back of figures showing ANZ Stadium averaged only 14,410 people per game, its worst year yet.

        The scandal will come as a major embarrassment to the NRL, which was yesterday forced to deny allegations it is giving away free tickets for Sunday’s Grand Final between the Storm and Cowboys.

        The Courier-Mail understands the NRL is relying on thousands of giveaways to ensure an 80,000 sell-out at ANZ Stadium.

      • Roar Guru

        January 1st 2018 @ 1:36pm
        Col from Brissie said | January 1st 2018 @ 1:36pm | ! Report

        I wonder if he was at the Manly v Penrith final that drew a whopping crowd of 15,408 and that does not take into account the 15% fudging by the NRL.

        • Roar Guru

          January 1st 2018 @ 1:55pm
          Cat said | January 1st 2018 @ 1:55pm | ! Report

          In 2017, the 9 AFL finals games averaged 61,535, while the 9 NRL finals games averaged 32,441. Clearly that one game kangajets points out is an aberration, not the norm.

          • January 1st 2018 @ 2:10pm
            Aligee said | January 1st 2018 @ 2:10pm | ! Report

            Well come on, Kanga has a million posts, any regular on here does not really take him seriously.

            Stats are not his friend (real)

            • Roar Guru

              January 1st 2018 @ 2:23pm
              Cat said | January 1st 2018 @ 2:23pm | ! Report

              I’m well aware. Post a bit myself. Slow time of year. What better to do than show, yet again, how fatuous people like kangajets posts are.

              • January 1st 2018 @ 2:40pm
                Aligee said | January 1st 2018 @ 2:40pm | ! Report

                I had to look fatuos up, but i would agree 🙂

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