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JackJumpers' NBL title was special - but where does it sit among Tasmania’s top ten sporting moments?

JackJumpers celebrate victory after game five of the NBL Championship Grand Final Series. (Photo by Kelly Defina/Getty Images)
Roar Guru
4th April, 2024
5

It’s a pretty good time to be a Tasmanian sports fan right now.

After years in the sporting wilderness with not much to celebrate, 2024 has been the complete opposite, with the JackJumpers’ recent crowning as NBL champions adding a cherry on top alongside some other recent statewide success.

But just where does the JackJumpers triumph rank amongst the top ten greatest sporting moments to have come from the Apple Isle?

10. Launceston Casino City NBL title (1981)

While Tasmania celebrates the JackJumpers winning their first NBL title, it is not the first championship for the state when it comes to the National Basketball League.

That distinction falls to the Launceston Casino City, who in 1981 defeated the Nunawading Spectres 75-54 in the grand final in only the third year of the NBL’s existence, and the second year for the Casino City. Despite the success, the team folded a season later.

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While the championship was seemingly forgotten by many, the recent success of the JackJumpers and revival of basketball in Tasmania has seen a surge of interest in the championship win, with several members of the team speaking publicly about the triumph to the media as well as the championship banner being recovered and unveiled at Launceston’s Silverdome last year.

9. David Foster wins 1000th title (1998)

If you were to ask who was the first athlete in the world to win 1000 titles in their discipline, chances are you would struggle to come up with the correct answer.

In 1998, David Foster achieved that feat, something that was widely considered to be the first of any sport in the entire world. For the man who is considered the GOAT in the sport of wood chopping, it only solidified his legacy.

Foster would go on to achieve more than 1800 titles in the sport, which included a whopping 186 world titles and 176 national titles. No matter how you look at it, there is no doubting the legacy that David Foster left in not only his sport, but the entire sporting landscape of Tasmania.

8. Marcos Ambrose wins Watkins Glen NASCAR Sprint Cup (2011)

Tasmania has had a rich pedigree in the Australian Touring Car Championship, with John Bowe winning the Championship in 1995 and Marcos Ambrose doing the same in 2003 and 2004. However, for Ambrose, success in Australia wasn’t good enough, and barely a year after his second Supercar title he made the shock switch to the US to try his hand at NASCAR.

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Making his way up through the various categories, Ambrose eventually cracked it into the top-tier Sprint Cup to varying degrees of success. He was on the podium in only his fourth Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen in 2008, a circuit in which he would go on to claim his biggest international success by winning the race in 2011.

In doing so he became the first ever Australian to win a top-tier NASCAR race and repeated the feat a year later at the same track.

While he was never able to replicate his Australian Championship success in NASCAR, his groundbreaking win in 2011 stands the test of time as an iconic moment in Australian motorsport history.

7. Tasmanian Tigers Men Gillette Cup title (1978/1979)

Tasmania has had a long storied history in the men’s domestic one-day competition, winning the title four times in its 54-year history. For context, that is one more title than South Australia has achieved and only two behind powerhouse Victoria.

But ask any cricketing fan in Tasmania what the best win was and that would be the first, which came back in 1979 in front of 10,000 raucous fans at Hobart’s TCA Ground.

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Inspired by cult favourite captain Jack Simmons, the team recovered from being 6-84 to set Western Australia a total of 180. While on paper that seems like a modest total, it was enough for Tasmania to successfully defend and win the game by 47 runs.

Simmons starred with both bat and ball, scoring 55 and taking 4/17 to guide Tasmania to their first piece of national cricketing silverware.

6. Ricky Ponting becomes Australia’s highest Test run scorer (2009)

In July 2009 at Edgbaston against the old enemy, Ricky Ponting ran for three runs after the ball clipped his legs to secure a piece of Australian cricket history: becoming the nation’s highest run scorer in test cricket history by surpassing Allan Border’s record of 11,174 runs.

Ricky Ponting of Australia works the ball to leg

Ricky Ponting. (James Knowler/Getty Images)

It was a monumental moment for the Tasmanian icon, who had already created history six years earlier by becoming the first Test captain to hail from Tasmania.

Ponting would end his stellar Test career with a total of 13,378 runs and still holds the record to this day. Among all of his incredible achievements in his cricketing career, this stands out as his greatest.

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5. Tasmanian Tigers Women WNCL three-peat (2021/22, 2022/23, 2023/24)

Earlier this year with a stunning knock of 111, Nicola Carey helped guide Tasmania to a third consecutive Women’s National Cricket League title.

In doing so, Tasmania became only the second team to win three consecutive titles in the WNCL and the first since New South Wales won three in a row between 2016 and 2019.

It capped off a stellar rise by the Tasmanian women’s team who only made their debut in the national competition in 2010, and ended the competition a decade later as the dominant team.

4. Tasmanian Tigers Men Sheffield Shield title (2006/07)

While success in the domestic one-day competition came within a decade for Tasmania, the state had to wait a bit longer to finally taste glory in the long form of the game.

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Only admitted into the competition in 1977 in a part-time capacity before a full-time admission in 1982, Tasmania struggled early on, finishing last out of the six teams ten times in its first 18 seasons.

However, after making the final for the first time in 1994 and losing to New South Wales, the team soon improved significantly through the late 1990s and early 2000s. It would lose another final in 2002, this time to Queensland, before making it to their third final in 2007 against New South Wales.

This time however it would host the final for the first time,and finally broke through for its first ever Shield title with a dominant 421 win off the back of stellar performances by Luke Butterworth, Damien Wright and Ben Hilfenhaus.

Two more titles have followed since in 2011 and 2013, and with the side narrowly missing out on adding a fourth after losing the 2024 final to Western Australia, it seems only a matter of time until another Shield title will be added to the trophy cabinet.

3. Ariarne Titmus 400m Olympic gold (2021)

Tasmania has produced a string of Olympians over the years and multiple Olympic medallists. The state’s first Olympian was boxer Ronald Gower, who competed in both London in 1948 and Helsinki in 1952. The state’s first medallist was runner David Lean who was part of the 4x400m relay team that won silver in Melbourne, while the first Olympic gold medallist to come from Tasmania was cyclist Michael Grenda who was part of the 4000m team pursuit gold medal winning team.

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It took till 2021 for the state to produce its first ever individual Olympic gold medallist, a feat achieved by swimmer Ariarne Titmus when she won the 400m freestyle at the Tokyo Olympics.

It was an incredible achievement by Titmus who knocked off the legendary Katie Ledecky to take the win and bring the state it’s long-awaited first individual Olympic champion.

Titmus would add a further three medals to her tally in Tokyo, including another gold in the 200m freestyle.

2. Tasmania JackJumpers NBL title (2023/24)

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 31: JackJumpers celebrate victory during game five of the NBL Championship Grand Final Series between Melbourne United and Tasmania JackJumpers at John Cain Arena, on March 31, 2024, in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Kelly Defina/Getty Images)

JackJumpers celebrate victory after game five of the NBL Championship Grand Final Series. (Photo by Kelly Defina/Getty Images)

In only its third year of existence, the Tasmania JackJumpers did the unthinkable and took home their first ever NBL title after an epic grand final series against the heavily stacked Melbourne United which included such luminaries as Matthew Dellavedova and Tasmania’s own Chris Goulding.

Only five years prior, a bid for Tasmania to return to the NBL looked well out of reach after the failure of the Southern Huskies campaign. However, with the backing of NBL owner Larry Kestelman, the JackJumpers were born and their meteoric rise from competition debutant in the 2021/22 season to league champion in 2023/24 is one of the greatest modern stories in Australian sport.

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In their three seasons in the competition, the team has made the grand final series twice and the semi-finals once, with their historic championship solidifying them as one of the most successful expansion franchises in Australian sporting history.

1. Tasmania State of Origin win vs Victoria (1990)

If you ask any Tasmanian sports fan what the greatest sporting moment in the history of the state is, chances are the answer will be this famous match in 1990.

In front of more than 18,000 fans at North Hobart Oval, Tasmania defeated a Victorian team stacked full of talent by 33 points.

In that Victorian team included such players as Gary Ayres, the year’s Brownlow medallist Tony Liberatore, that year’s Coleman medallist John Longmire, Ross Lyon, Matthew Knights, Terry Wallace and Mick Martyn and was coached by three-time, premiership-winning coach and hall of famer David Parkin.

However, the Tasmanian team was not exactly bereft of talent, featuring such players as Paul Hudson, Brendon Gale and Alastair Lynch and was coached by future Fitzroy and Adelaide coach Robert Shaw.

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A year earlier, the teams had met at the same venue with Victoria dominating Tasmania to win by 56 points, making it an even more remarkable win by the Tasmanian side.

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More than 30 years later as the state prepares to bring the famous map guernsey back to the national stage when it enters the AFL later this decade, the unforgettable win still stands as an iconic moment in both Tasmanian football and sporting history.

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