The sporting stars who captured my salutes for 2017

David Lord Columnist

By David Lord, David Lord is a Roar Expert

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41 Have your say

    As the curtain is drawn on 2017, these my podium awards for those who gave sports-lovers so much pleasure throughout the year.

    Gold goes to Cameron Smith for a stellar 12 months during which he totally dominated the 13-man code.

    He captained the Melbourne Storm to another NRL premiership, the toughest rugby league competition on the planet, he captained Queensland to another Origin series success despite losing Origin 1 at their Suncorp fortress and being behind 16-6 at half-time in Origin 2 and he led the Kangaroos to retain the World Cup, downing England in the final.

    On a personal note Smith reigned supreme. He played his 358th NRL game to take over from Darren Lockyer’s 355 as the code’s record holder. He won his second Dally M Medal 11 years after he won his first, and he won a second Golden Boot ten years after his first, the symbol of the world’s best rugby league footballer.

    Cameron Smith’s longevity is as spectacular as his ability, and he shows no sign of calling it a day.

    (Matt King/Getty Images)

    Silver goes to Ellyse Perry, having just won the inaugural Rachael Heyhoe Flint Award as the world’s best women cricketer.

    The award was fitting recognition for the multi-talented Perry, who became a dual cricket and football international as a teenager. The charismatic all-rounder had to decide on one sport, and cricket was the choice, highlighted by her 213 not out against England at North Sydney Oval in the recent Ashes series, which was won by the Australians.

    That was Perry’s first Test ton in seven Tests, even though she debuted in 2008 as a 17-year-old. She averages 61.71 in Tests and 50.27 in 94 ODIs, where a ton has so far escaped her, but there are four digs in the 90s, with a top score of 95 not out.

    At a time when women’s sport has started to gain some long overdue recognition and momentum, Ellyse Perry is the perfect standard bearer.

    (AAP Image/Daniel Munoz)

    Bronze for Steve Smith, who in any other year would deservedly win the gold.

    The Australian cricket captain is rightfully ranked as the number one Test batsman in the world, and the way he constantly scores big runs, nobody is going to deny him that status.

    So far in four Ashes Tests this summer he’s accumulated 604 runs at a whopping average of 151.00. That includes three tons and a highest score of 239. The closest Australian is his vice-captain, David Warner, with 395 runs at 64.16.

    But the number of balls faced highlights the difference – Smith has faced 1258, Warner 738, which is proof of not only Smith’s dedication but also his enormous powers of concentration.

    He shares with Cameron Smith and Ellyse Perry the honour of being a top-shelf Australian ambassador on the world stage,

    (Philip Brown/Getty Images)

    Honourable mentions
    Graham Arnold for coaching Sydney FC to the A-League premiership by the length of the straight, and he looks likely to repeat that dominance come the end of this season next year. The quicker Arnie takes over the Socceroos, the better, starting with Russia.

    Sam Kerr as the golden striker for the Matildas, the national women’s football team, as they keep climbing the world rankings on her boot. In keeping with the charismatic mode, her backflips after netting another goal would do credit to an Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast.

    Jeff Horn for capturing the world title by beating legendary Manny Pacquiao and safely defending it against Gary Corcoran with an 11th round TKO – a genuine champion.

    Jamie Whincup for winning an unprecedented seventh Supercars series, especially as Scott McLaughlin enjoyed a 73-point lead at the business end.

    Australian offie Nathan Lyon for ending the calendar year as the world’s most successful Test bowler with 63 wickets, six more than South African quick Kagiso Rabana and seven more than Indian offie Ravi Ashwin.

    Sally Pearson for ending a wretched run of injuries to regain her world 100 metres hurdling title. Now for the Comm Games on the Gold Coast.

    And last but by no means least, Winx and her 22 straight wins, including three Cox Plates, to capture the imagination, respect, and following of countless sports-lovers, many of whom have never been trackside nor had a bet.

    Happy New Year to all Roarers. May 2018 be healthy, productive and safe.

    David Lord
    David Lord

    David Lord was deeply involved in two of the biggest sporting stories - World Series Cricket in 1977 and professional rugby in 1983. After managing Jeff Thomson and Viv Richards during WSC, in 1983 David signed 208 of the best rugby players from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France to play an international pro circuit. The concept didn?t get off the ground, but it did force the IRB to get cracking and bring in the World Rugby Cup, now one of the world?s great sporting spectacles

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    The Crowd Says (41)

    • December 31st 2017 @ 8:24am
      Kangajets said | December 31st 2017 @ 8:24am | ! Report

      Cricketers and rugby league players.

      Seriously such a narrow look at what sports Aussie’s are good at .

      • Columnist

        December 31st 2017 @ 9:01am
        David Lord said | December 31st 2017 @ 9:01am | ! Report

        Instead of knocking Kangajets, which is your constant forte, give us the value of your massive sporting knowledge to name anyone who has performed better than Cameron Smith, Ellyse Perry, or Steve Smith – and why.

        • December 31st 2017 @ 10:40am
          Kangajets said | December 31st 2017 @ 10:40am | ! Report

          Sally Pearson and Sam Kerr participate in events that anyone in the world can enter .

          Yes u did them an honuarable mention .

          I would love to have the money David to take you to 100 countries around the world and show you what sporting excellence is in a variety of sports .

          But in Australia we just hear how good we are at cricket and rugby league, and they are great games they are . But Aussie’s excel at many sports across the world .

          Each their own


          • December 31st 2017 @ 10:48am
            Kangajets said | December 31st 2017 @ 10:48am | ! Report

            The headline didn’t mention it was an Aussie only award

            So change that to occurred in Australia this year . It would have to be roger Federer who would win imo

            • December 31st 2017 @ 11:35am
              Justin Kearney said | December 31st 2017 @ 11:35am | ! Report

              It was obvious kanga. Only you missed it.

              • December 31st 2017 @ 3:19pm
                664 the neighbour of the beast said | December 31st 2017 @ 3:19pm | ! Report

                Your just a sniper Justin…..and a sad one at that! Miserable sod!

              • December 31st 2017 @ 3:28pm
                Justin Kearney said | December 31st 2017 @ 3:28pm | ! Report

                Gee that stung. Another ID wasted bro.

              • December 31st 2017 @ 3:34pm
                Maddi Still said | December 31st 2017 @ 3:34pm | ! Report

                You’re spot on 664! I’m not too sure what his issue is?
                But lookimg at his comments history he does have a record of abuse.
                Best just to ignore him mate this is a celebration of 2017 sport

              • December 31st 2017 @ 3:39pm
                Justin Kearney said | December 31st 2017 @ 3:39pm | ! Report

                And a happy new year to you maddie and your multiple ids. It’s been a pleasure talking to all 45 of you!

              • December 31st 2017 @ 5:04pm
                Maddi Still said | December 31st 2017 @ 5:04pm | ! Report

                Multiple ID’s Justin? Haha
                Yea nice one! Atleast you didnt insult in this one. Thanks mate Happy New Year to you

              • December 31st 2017 @ 5:12pm
                Justin Kearney said | December 31st 2017 @ 5:12pm | ! Report

                Why would I insult this latest ID when I have laughed all year at all of your others? As long as we both realise it’s all a bit of fun and it really doesn’t matter. Have a great evening and I hope next year brings you lots of good things. Kind regards. Buster.

              • December 31st 2017 @ 6:18pm
                664 the neighbour of the beast said | December 31st 2017 @ 6:18pm | ! Report

                You really are a sad paranoid angry little man…on New Year’s Eve…your bitterness is strong! Hopefully 2018 is your year Justin and you can be positive instead of well, being a total jerk all the time….champ!

              • December 31st 2017 @ 6:19pm
                Justin Kearney said | December 31st 2017 @ 6:19pm | ! Report

                Hahaha this just gets funnier.

              • December 31st 2017 @ 7:20pm
                Maddi Still said | December 31st 2017 @ 7:20pm | ! Report

                Let him Be 664! As i said earlier its a celebration of 2017 sport dont let it derail this article!

              • December 31st 2017 @ 7:26pm
                Justin Kearney said | December 31st 2017 @ 7:26pm | ! Report

                My favourite moment this year on the roar was when you agreed with yourself forgetting to change IDs. That and attending footy matches in Liverpool that were played at Caringbah. And that moment you wrote under the wrong id about the state of origin tickets ‘billy ‘. Keep them coming in 2018. forums can be dull but a clown like you keeps them entertaining. Happy new year multi max.

              • December 31st 2017 @ 7:55pm
                Maddi Still said | December 31st 2017 @ 7:55pm | ! Report

                Justin the only footy they play in Liverpool is Association Football. ie Soccer. Ive never been to Origin nor Caringbah being a West Australian…
                Or was this another intelligent comment to 664?

              • December 31st 2017 @ 9:12pm
                664 the neighbour of the beast said | December 31st 2017 @ 9:12pm | ! Report

                The guy is delusional!!! Your right Maddi…I will have a drink for you in Singapore and happy new year!!!

      • December 31st 2017 @ 10:00am
        not so super said | December 31st 2017 @ 10:00am | ! Report

        yeah, cricket the major sport in a country of 1.3 billion in india, 200 million in both pakistan and Bangladesh

      • December 31st 2017 @ 12:59pm
        c said | December 31st 2017 @ 12:59pm | ! Report

        Based In:
        Favourite Sports:
        Cricket, League, Rugby,

      • December 31st 2017 @ 10:31pm
        Kangajets said | December 31st 2017 @ 10:31pm | ! Report


    • December 31st 2017 @ 9:03am
      Gfox said | December 31st 2017 @ 9:03am | ! Report

      Dustin Martin for Platinum!

      • December 31st 2017 @ 9:21am
        Justin Kearney said | December 31st 2017 @ 9:21am | ! Report


      • December 31st 2017 @ 10:20am
        Rasty said | December 31st 2017 @ 10:20am | ! Report


      • December 31st 2017 @ 10:43am
        Whiskers said | December 31st 2017 @ 10:43am | ! Report

        lord dislikes footy and this week said Melbourne is the worst city on the planet. There is a reason he writes for the roar. Ignore.

        • Columnist

          December 31st 2017 @ 11:03am
          David Lord said | December 31st 2017 @ 11:03am | ! Report

          Everyone to their own Whiskers, and you have a happy New Year, how about celebrating with a shave.

    • December 31st 2017 @ 9:50am
      JonD said | December 31st 2017 @ 9:50am | ! Report

      Mine? Sam Kerr and Elysse Perry, with Sally Pearson rounding out the trio.

      Yes the others are good, but I reckon 2017 was the year that female sport really took off in Australia …..

      • Columnist

        December 31st 2017 @ 10:50am
        David Lord said | December 31st 2017 @ 10:50am | ! Report

        JonD, you have nailed one of Australia’s more exciting moments with recognition, at long last, of the rich talent in women’s sports after languishing in the boondocks forever.

        Long may that continue, and improve, they deserve it.

        • December 31st 2017 @ 8:19pm
          Ret said | December 31st 2017 @ 8:19pm | ! Report

          You could add Tyler Wright to that list. WSL champ in successive years.

    • December 31st 2017 @ 10:11am
      Justin Kearney said | December 31st 2017 @ 10:11am | ! Report

      Don’t have a problem with that list at all David especially the top 3. Any of them could have been number 1.

      • Columnist

        December 31st 2017 @ 10:45am
        David Lord said | December 31st 2017 @ 10:45am | ! Report

        Good call Justin, and a happy New Year to you, but the entire nation is on the edge of their seats waiting with bated breath for Kangajets’ podium finish.

        The silence is deafening.

        • December 31st 2017 @ 10:50am
          Kangajets said | December 31st 2017 @ 10:50am | ! Report

          Clearly u didn’t read my response 10 minutes ago

          Roger Federer in Australia

          Sally Pearson as the Australian

          • Columnist

            December 31st 2017 @ 10:57am
            David Lord said | December 31st 2017 @ 10:57am | ! Report

            Your reply wasn’t there when I wrote my follow-up request, and it was quite obvious to everyone else all my selections were only Australians.

            So you go for Sally Pearson and that’s fair enough, but what about your other two selections for a podium finish?

            • December 31st 2017 @ 2:52pm
              Jordan c said | December 31st 2017 @ 2:52pm | ! Report

              Very poor look for an author to have a go at readers David, be the bigger/wiser man and walk or better yet let your articles do the talking.

              I say this as a proud non fan of your writing, this however was nice and cheery with no bullocked facts.

    • Columnist

      December 31st 2017 @ 10:57am
      David Lord said | December 31st 2017 @ 10:57am | ! Report

      Your reply wasn’t there when I wrote my follow-up request, and it was quite obvious to everyone else all my selections were only Australians.

      So you go for Sally Pearson and that’s fair enough, but what about your other two selections for a podium finish?

    • December 31st 2017 @ 11:17am
      Maddi Still said | December 31st 2017 @ 11:17am | ! Report

      Fair enough Cameron Smith for the premiership for the Storm and QLD State of Origin win but if the World Cup had any bearing on it its just not right. Winning an irrelevant liitle tournament played and watched in 3 countries is not much of an achievement

      • December 31st 2017 @ 11:21am
        Justin Kearney said | December 31st 2017 @ 11:21am | ! Report

        Love the new ID ‘maddi’.

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