Sport has an affinity for the four-year cycle.
No matter the code or country, so many of the sports we love flow in eras that long. World Cups, Olympics, Commonwealth Games. Hawthorn making four straight grand finals, Melbourne and Sydney divvying up the last four NRL premierships after the preceding period hadn’t had as much as a repeat grand finalist and, if the first half of this season is anything to go by, Richmond’s dynasty may well have expired after four years at the top.
So perhaps it’s fitting that, after a bit over four years at the helm of this wonderful site, I’m now stepping down as Managing Editor of The Roar.
It’s been an incredible time, littered with an abundance of the sporting highlights that turn followers into fans, and fans into tragics.
They’re highlights which are worth reflecting on now. Not in the form of an exhaustive list, which would be far too long and twice as boring, but instead just a collection of the moments which really stood out.
2017 was not a particularly eventful sporting year in Australia, at least by way of major events. No FIFA World Cup, while the women’s cricket and rugby showpieces were stuck in the British Isles, complete with shocking timezones and unsuccessful campaigns for the Southern Stars and Wallaroos. The Olympics had taken place the previous year, and the Commonwealth Games were locked in for the next.
We were treated to some wonderful sporting spectacles, but many of them fell into the business-as-usual bucket: Melbourne being good at rugby league, the Blues starting State of Origin with cries of “it’s our year” before bottling Games 2 and 3, the Australian men’s cricket team losing a Test series in India.
Still, the biggest moments on The Roar in 2017 were the ones you can set your calendar to.
Origin, always a time when our servers radiate a busy warmth, did its usual thing and brought thousands of new visitors to the site. And while New South Wales falling flat on their faces was nothing new, Queensland’s recovery from their Game 1 drubbing was memorable.
The series opener gave way to comparisons between Andrew Fifita and Arthur Beetson, but just one fixture later we were reminded that there’s no need to compare Johnathan Thurston to an Immortal because he’s going to be one in his own right. His perfect boot was the difference between the two sides, and while it’s a shame he didn’t get to farewell the Origin arena in Game 3 in Queensland, it’s fitting his last act in a Maroon jersey was nailing a clutch, go-ahead conversion in the dying minutes to set up the decider.
There was no such fairytale for the maestro halfback or his team in the NRL. Michael Morgan and Jason Taumalolo hauled North Queensland all the way from eighth to the final day of the season, but the grand final itself was a non-event: a Storm side featuring Billy Slater, Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk was never going to be troubled by the Thurston-less Cowboys.
The AFL decider was almost as uncompetitive but certainly more memorable, as Richmond won their first flag in 37 years. It’s a grand final remembered for many reasons: Dustin Martin becoming the first player to win the Brownlow, Norm Smith and premiership in the same year; Richmond winning their first of three flags in four years; vindication for the club after sticking by Damian Hardwick when sacking him would have been easy. But the one that sticks out for me surrounds one of their key forwards.
We’ve all had our share of days both good and bad, but I like to think that no one has ever had a day as good as what Jack Riewoldt did on September 30, 2017. Kick two goals in the grand final. Win your club’s first flag in almost four decades. Celebrate by getting up on stage with The Killers and, microphone in hand, belting out Mr Brightside to a throng of adoring fans. Hard to top.
The enduring theme of 2017 was that it was a year of progress and achievement in women’s sport.
It began with the inaugural AFLW season, and that opening-round fixture at Ikon Park. The scoreline mattered – 46-11 to the Blues over Collingwood – but what was more significant was the event itself, a moment that welcomed the start of something important. The enduring images of the night show a teeming crowd of 24,568 that exceeded the ground’s capacity, and of thousands more left wanting for a way in, unplacated by AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan’s admission that the game should have been moved to Docklands.
Now, with season number six just half a year away, AFLW is truly embedded in this country’s sporting identity. More than 50,000 showed up for the 2019 grand final. Nearly 42,000 welcomed Freo into the competition in 2019, then 35,000 turned out for a Perth derby two years later.
It is by no means a finished product. It hasn’t been helped by having finals clash with the opening rounds of the men’s season, nor the conference system used in years past. The haste for expansion has been admirable, and preferable to the opposite approach of sticking with a small number of teams, but it has felt rushed. The on-field quality can and will improve, and can only benefit from players being better paid.
What is unquestionable is that Australia’s sporting landscape is far better, far richer, for the competition’s arrival.
Jump to the middle of 2017 and it was the Matildas demanding our attention. The Tournament of Nations was contested by the four best non-European sides in the world not named Canada. Australia, ranked seventh, Brazil and Japan, either side of them in the rankings, and hosts the USA, top of the world on both the ladder and at the last World Cup.
Before 2017, Australia had played the United States 26 times for a grand total of zero wins. They’d been done on penalties by Brazil in a heartbreaking shootout at the Rio Olympics, and Japan had knocked them out in the quarter-finals of the last World Cup. Yet, in the space of a week, the Matildas beat the hosts for the first time, put four goals past their AFC rivals, then trounced the South Americans 6-1, all while playing a captivating brand of football.
By the end of the year, they were ranked number four in the world, and higher still on the list of Australia’s most beloved sporting teams.
In terms of global significance, it was hard to top Sally Pearson’s win in the 100m hurdles at the world championships – after a string of injuries that kept her out of the 2016 Olympics – but locally it was another Australian superstar who created the highlight of the year.
The 2017-18 summer of cricket was all about the Ashes, and inevitably the focus was on the men’s series. Would Steve Smith carry his side to victory, we wondered. Would Australia finally have their four first-choice pacemen available? How well would Pat Cummins go in his first Ashes series?
(Yes, no and very were the answers for those playing at home.)
But the moment of the summer came well before Mitchell Starc sent down the first ball at the Gabba. It came at the far more intimate confines of North Sydney Oval, and was so good it happened twice. Kind of.
By the end of the year, the Matildas were ranked number four in the world, and higher still on the list of Australia’s most beloved sporting teams.
The standalone Test of that year’s Women’s Ashes was, in truth, a dour affair. Not that it was ever likely to be something else – the players had and still have no domestic first-class competition to hone their red-ball skills, nor was a lively pitch on offer. With two wins from the preceding ODIs, Australia had far more to lose than gain by pushing for a result, knowing that a draw then a sole win from the three subsequent T20s would be enough to retain the trophy.
Even so, Ellyse Perry’s double century was my sporting moment of the year. With a deficit looming and the pink ball swinging under lights, she came in at number four and guided Australia to an unassailable lead. Runs didn’t come easily, particularly on the first evening. I remember watching at the ground alongside Geoff Lemon, and his remark that Perry’s technique is so correct, so perfect, and so the ball flies exactly where it’s expected to – and where fielders tend to be placed. A cover drive will go to cover because it should. A flick off the pads gets laced to square-leg because it must. A cut flies along the ground to point because it’s just where it’s meant to go.
Mind you, plenty of those shots still found the gap. Twenty-seven found their way to the fence, and one made it over.
One other didn’t quite clear the rope. On 194, Perry strutted down the wicket, depositing Laura Marsh over cow corner. Despite an English fielder signalling four, the crowd went up and so too Perry’s arms in celebration, only for the umpires to rightly decide it wasn’t a six. The double century remained two runs away.
A single put last batter Megan Schutt on strike for two balls, and her survival was rewarded with just as many huge cheers from the crowd. Not long after, they were celebrating Perry’s 200 a second time, even if the reaction out in the middle was far more subdued. Ten more runs in three balls followed, then the declaration with Perry on 213, the highest score by an Australian woman in a Test. Not at all bad for her first international century.
That innings poured cement around Perry’s name in households across Australia – not that she wasn’t already one of our best-known athletes. She’ll be remembered as one of the greatest sportspeople this country has ever produced: a dual international in football and cricket; an opening bowler; a goalscorer at a FIFA World Cup; a multiple Cricket World Cup winner; a run-making machine. An icon. And that innings one of her finest performances.
Look back at 2018 and there’s one scandal that is inescapable: ball-tampering.
On the surface, it was as drastic an overreaction as we’ll ever see. An offence that wasn’t classified in the highest tier of misconduct by the ICC led to a combined 33 months of suspension for three players, plus leadership bans on top of that. The IPL welcomed Ben Stokes despite the Englishman having a court case looming for his part in a street brawl, but there was no place for Steve Smith or David Warner after a teammate of theirs used sandpaper on a cricket ball. Politicians queued up to take their shots at the cricketers, with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull sanctimoniously declaring it a “shocking affront to Australia”. Our parliamentarians, of course, would never do anything to embarrass the country.
Of course, the reaction was about far more than what Cameron Bancroft tried to do to the ball in Cape Town. It was the dishonesty of it all: having a junior member of the team do the deed; trying to hide the sandpaper from the umpires; claiming it wasn’t sandpaper after the day’s play, and that the entire side’s leadership group was in on it. What happened in Cape Town was a failure of many things, but PR was right towards the top of that list. Had Smith and Bancroft not walked into that first press conference and lied while wearing the baggy green, the reaction would have been far less furious. Oh sure, there would have been outrage – they did, after all, attempt to cheat. But far better to be an honest cheater.
Safe to say we’ve not heard the last about the scandal. It’ll keep popping up each year, just as it did only a few weeks ago when Bancroft resuscitated it via an interview with the Guardian. He didn’t offer any new information at all – and it’d be quite shocking if we get any kind of complete run-down of that day’s events from its protagonists until well after they’ve retired, if at all. Everyone will still keep talking about it, new information or not.
While far from a sporting highlight, ball-tampering did pave the way for one later in the year. With Smith and Warner suspended, Australia’s squad to play Pakistan in the UAE was light on batting experience and lighter still on chances of winning. The last time the two sides had met in the desert, Michael Clarke’s far more impressive team lost 2-0, with neither match being remotely close. The same outcome was expected this time around, and would have eventuated had it not been for Usman Khawaja.
Khawaja has always copped more than his fair share of criticism, a case of the player who makes things look so easy when they’re in form being lambasted for laziness when they’re out of it. He’s been one of my favourite players to watch for many a year, what with his gorgeous cover drives and effortless flicks off the pads. In Dubai in 2018, it was another shot that stood out: the reverse sweep. Khawaja used it brilliantly to combat the spin bowling he’d so often struggled against, along with more assertive footwork than what the previously leaden left-hander had shown in the past.
There was nothing close to laziness, either. He spent 767 minutes at the crease that Test, the equivalent of more than two full days of play. He finished with 226 runs, including 141 in his incredible second, match-saving, innings. Australia had been asked to bat for 140 overs to save the match in conditions where getting half of that had been considered an achievement, and yet somehow managed it. That they did was thanks to Khawaja and his incredible innings, unquestionably one of the finest by an Australian in recent memory.
Closer to home and earlier in the year, NSW had themselves a new coach for State of Origin. It wasn’t Andrew Johns, who so many had hoped for, nor was it Phil Gould, who is always mentioned as a possible replacement. Instead it was Freddy, not blind but barefoot, leading the Blues to a much-needed series victory.
AFL fans were treated to one of the great modern grand finals, sealed for the Eagles – who looked to have capitulated against Collingwood in the first term – by Dom Sheed’s pinpoint boundary-line goal perilously close to the final siren.
In the NRL, Cooper Cronk somehow played in the decider with a 15-centimetre break in his scapula. In a sport that has a pantheon of players heroised for playing through injury, Cronk’s effort is one of the most remarkable efforts. It worked, too, with the Storm seemingly so intent on inflicting even more pain on their former teammate that they forget to stop Luke Keary, who played a blinder to take home the Clive Churchill medal for himself and the Provan-Summons trophy for the Roosters.
There was also the minor matter of the FIFA World Cup. For all the qualms about the tournament and its organiser, it remains the greatest sporting event on the planet, and Russia 2018 was a particularly fine edition.
There were brilliant matches throughout, from Spain and Portugal’s 3-3 thriller in the group stage to Belgium edging out Brazil in the knockouts. There were even more brilliant goals, and Neymar’s antics made sure the sport’s meme makers had ample material to work with. Plus, much as every Australian tends to enjoy seeing them lose on the sporting field, having England go so deep into the knockout stage did add something special.
Croatia were feelgood first-time finalists, but it was something of a shame that the biggest match of the tournament was won so decisively. Still, 4-2 was a welcome departure from the timid, low-scoring finals of the preceding years, and no one could deny France were deserving champions.
The Socceroos had matched it with Les Bleus, going down 2-1 as the eventual winners started the tournament slowly. A 1-1 draw with Denmark was the bare minimum required to keep up Australian hopes of a place in the Round of 16, but they were scuppered by Peru in the final group-stage game. It was a case of what might have been for the green and gold: what would the tournament have been like had Ange Postecoglou still been in charge?
Postecoglou had overseen successful qualification but attracted ample criticism for the manner it was achieved – much of it deserved, some of it less so. You do wonder how the Socceroos would have fared at Russia had they played under their former manager rather than the dour Bert van Marwijk. Probably not much more successfully, but certainly with more attacking purpose. That alone would have sat far easier with Australian fans than the performances they ended up offering.
One of the common misconceptions about The Roar is the size of the editorial team. When I first walked in the door I was surprised to be met by just three staff members who were responsible for keeping the site’s content running. By 2019 we had grown to roughly double that size, but were still a small enough outfit to be daunted by the unrelenting deluge of sport coming our way.
The Socceroos trying to defend their Asian Cup title was followed by the start of the footy seasons, which gave way to the overlapping Cricket World Cup, Women’s FIFA World Cup and State of Origin. Then the Rugby Championship and Ashes, footy finals and Rugby World Cup, AFL trade period and Melbourne Cup, before the first summer of cricket featuring Steve Smith and David Warner since 2017-18. From the start of the Cricket World Cup in May until the end of its rugby counterpart in November, there was scarcely a spare minute. Exhausted as we all were from the effort, the result was something to be proud of: more people visited The Roar that year than in any other, and by a decent distance, too.
Little surprise then that there’s an abundance of 2019 highlights to choose from. For a NSW fan so used to seeing Queensland snatch State of Origin victories, James Tedesco’s last-minute, series-winning try in Game 3 was special. It’s even better with some accompanying Titanic music.
James Tedesco's Origin game-winner is, of course, much better when accompanied by Titanic music pic.twitter.com/XVSMeg8MPr
— Daniel Jeffrey (@_d_jeffrey) July 11, 2019
The two main standouts for me were Steve Smith’s incredible Ashes and the Rugby World Cup. (And yes, there was the Cricket World Cup final too, but someone fell asleep during the innings break and missed the incredible closing stanza, and so doesn’t feel all that well equipped to write about it here.)
No one knew how Steve Smith’s return to international cricket would go (except this guy). There were so many unknowns. Would he take time to find form after so going long without facing first-class bowling? Would he be hampered by his recent elbow injury? Would he be in the right headspace to churn out runs by the hundred? How would he handle the pressure?
As it happened, the pressure suited him just fine. At the World Cup, his better contributions came as Australia struggled. 73 against the West Indies when the side had lost their first five wickets for less than 80. 85 in the semi-final loss to England, more than the rest of the top seven managed between them.
Even so, the scenario he walked out to on the opening morning of the first Ashes Test was precarious: both openers gone, just 17 runs scored, and not yet eight overs bowled. When Khawaja departed seven overs later it was downright dire, and at 8-122 on the stroke of 44 overs it looked like Australia’s campaign was over before their attack had even touched a ball.
We have another Ashes series on the way this year… We’ve heard this story before, and I’d not be at all surprised if it has a similar ending to the last telling.
Only it wasn’t. Smith’s 144 was impeccable, one of the best centuries from a player who has a habit of achieving the sublime. It accounted for more than half the total score, and while the English bowlers were at ease against all other Australian batters, they were impotent against the former skipper.
That he then came out and repeated the dose in the second innings was astounding. Again, both openers had been dismissed in the opening ten overs before the score had reached 30. The visitors were more than 60 runs in arrears when Smith walked out. By the time he walked back, the lead was 241 and he’d pocketed another 142 for his personal tally. A target just shy of 400 was eventually set, and England were never in danger of reaching half that.
Everyone knows how the rest of the series played out for Smith. Another century there for the taking at Lord’s before Jofra Archer felled him. Missing the Headingly miracle/disaster, then returning in Manchester with a double century. With the series unloseable and the urn retained, he could only manage paltry scores of 80 and 23 at The Oval.
Three centuries, one of them a double. Three half-tons, all of them closer to 100 than 50. Just one score without the need to raise his bat. A series tally of 774 at an average of 110. Truly remarkable for someone making his return to Test cricket, and yet somehow it wasn’t that unexpected – Smith has dominated England for some time now. In the last two series alone, he’s plundered six tons and more than 1400 runs. On the all-time list of Ashes centurions, Bradman and Hobbs are the only two names above his.
We have another Ashes series on the way this year. An Ashes series which just so happens to be preceded by a white-ball World Cup, and by both an elbow injury and a lack of Test match cricket for the greatest batter since Bradman. We’ve heard this story before, and I’d not be at all surprised if it has a similar ending to the last telling.
Rugby has always been at the heart of The Roar, going right back to when Spiro Zavos started writing the site’s first articles. Yet there hasn’t been much to get excited about for Australian fans for the last four years. Sure, there have been individual highlights here and there, but nothing close to sustained success.
That was the story for the 2019 World Cup campaign. Demolishing New Zealand beforehand had given hope that maybe Michael Cheika could again lead the Wallabies to a surprisingly deep run. Jordan Petaia shone in his debut tournament as a 19-year-old, and Michael Hooper, Marika Koroibete and Tolu Latu were all excellent.
But there was never a sense that the team knew exactly what their best XV was, with changes in selection almost as plentiful as rucks on the field. An outstanding match in the group stage against Wales – albeit a loss – showed the Wallabies were capable of matching the best teams in the world, but the quarter-final against England proved that just because they could, it didn’t mean they would.
Still, the World Cup itself was brilliant, and a friendly timezone made it only more appetising for Australian rugby fans. For the second tournament in a row, everyone fell in love with Japan as this time they won all four of their group stage games. Their reward for topping the pool? A meeting with South Africa. It was a product of bad luck and World Rugby’s penchant for absurdly early draws which had placed the Bokke, ranked seventh in the world when the draw was made in 2017 but fourth when the tournament actually started, in the same group as New Zealand.
Japan had stunned the Springboks before, but they weren’t much chance of toppling the 2019 outfit. This was a brutal South African side with a reserve forward pack that would batter most starters, a metronomic goal-kicker at flyhalf, a defence that rushed but never leaked, and a diminutive winger so good he stepped England’s captain out of the tournament when the two met in the final.
It was impossible to do anything but admire the way Rassie Erasmus turned around the Boks. Ranked seventh when he took over in 2018, they lost just one match in all of 2019. Few of the others had been even close. Everyone had England as favourites for the decider, having knocked off the All Blacks in a pulsating semi-final, but they found no way to breach the army of green jerseys that rushed up to them. Twenty-six phases they battered away for at one stage but never could they get more reward than a penalty goal, and never did they take the lead.
It ended in a 20-point thumping, and South Africa’s third World Cup win.
Maybe there’s a barely visibly glimmer of hope in that Springbok turnaround for Australian rugby fans. If one two-time champion can go from seventh in the world back to the top of it, is it not possible for another to? Maybe, maybe not – and probably not anytime too soon. But it’s still a nice enough thought for Australian fans.
If 2019 was the sporting year that never stopped, 2020 was the complete opposite.
In a year when we all could have done with a distraction from the pandemic, it was a bitter irony that sport was shut down across the globe for the first time since World War II – although complaining about its absence given everything else that was going on in the world seems entirely petty and small-minded. Still, for a small, ad-funded sports publication, a year when digital advertising spend was slashed and sport stopped for two months was hard work.
It was unpleasant for sporting CEOs, too. In the space of a single week, NRL boss Todd Greenberg and his Rugby Australia counterpart Raelene Castle were gone, and Cricket Australia’s Kevin Roberts lasted less than two months longer.
Roberts’ departure seemed a fairly straightforward result of CA bungling its pandemic response. COVID-19 hit at a far better time for cricket than the other major Australian codes, at the end of the summer with all the major fixtures complete. Yet the sport wasn’t able to take advantage of that, and CA’s 2020 was still marred by significant redundancies, strained relationships with state bodies, and a long-running, public spat with its free-to-air broadcaster.
Greenberg was a casualty of Peter V’landys’ arrival more than anything else, and far from the only change to the sport under the new ARLC chair. V’landys and his bullish ‘my way or
the highway also my way’ approach won him plaudits in 2020, and was well suited to such a challenging year. But the notion that he was somehow solely responsible for saving rugby league is absurd hyperbole that conveniently overlooks how other sports made it through the pandemic without the help of Saint Peter.
His rule amendments and reduction in the number of referees were implemented on the fly rather than through due process, and that approach is now starting to draw more detractors – the recent crackdown on high contact being a rather perfect example.
As for Castle, her demise was perhaps the most expected yet least deserved. In a game that has struggled to break free of its private school, north shore elites reputation, being a woman from the other side of the Tasman was only going to make running rugby more difficult. Certainly the letter signed by 11 (later ten) former Wallabies captains that precipitated her resignation shows she was never able to fully shake the tag of outsider.
Castle wasn’t a faultless CEO, but when looking back at her legacy, it’s worth considering how some key decisions made during her tenure are bearing fruit. Hiring Dave Rennie, changing talent identification processes, and, most significantly, taking the broadcast rights to market rather than staying with Fox Sports have all been justified, even in her absence.
As for the on-field action, it was a strange year to actually watch sport. Cardboard cut-outs instead of fans in the stands, fake crowd noise laid over the top of broadcasts (which was admittedly far better than echoing, empty grandstands), 16-minute quarters in the AFL… it was all a bit odd.
So too the timing of major events. State of Origin took place after the NRL grand final, a change V’landys said could be here to stay if “it rates the roof off”. Thankfully for both footy fans and roofers around the country, it didn’t. End-of-season injuries deprived both sides of star players. Others who hadn’t taken part in the finals came into the series desperately short of match practice, and so Origin 1, so often one of the most brutal, enthralling games of rugby league you’ll see, had all the intensity of a Round 2 match between two mid-table teams.
Sure, it improved as the series went on, and Queensland’s unlikely victory was remarkable. But Origin in three consecutive weeks? In November? It just felt wrong. So did the nighttime AFL grand final, even if a third Richmond flag in four years brought some normalcy. I’ll stick with the afternoon edition from now on, though, thank you very much.
The Wallabies playing late in the year wasn’t as foreign, and unfortunately neither was the scenario that unfolded at Stadium Australia: the All Blacks at their clinical best, gut-punching Australia early to end the contest by halftime. That’s not to say there weren’t promising signs for Rennie’s men. The bounceback win against New Zealand in Brisbane was an excellent performance, and the 2-1 Bledisloe Cup scoreline to the Kiwis was a Wellington goalpost’s width from being 2-2.
Origin in three consecutive weeks? In November? It just felt wrong.
That series opener was a riveting match, but the rugby highlight of the year was undoubtedly Los Pumas – despite having not played in more than 400 days, despite having members of the squad and coaching staff test positive for covid, despite having never defeated New Zealand on the rugby field in 25 years of trying – beating the All Blacks in Sydney.
Immediately after the game, coach Mario Ledesma said “If I tell you what it means, I won’t be able to talk”. His tears, and those of his players, told us everything that he couldn’t put into words.
My pick of the year, though, came before the pandemic had shut sport down – if only just in time.
Australia had stumbled to India in the first match of the Women’s T20 World Cup, but in the final against the same opponent they were unstoppable. Megan Schutt had been carted by Shafali Verma for 16 runs in one over when the teams first met. At the MCG she had her wicket in three balls. Alyssa Healy top-scored for Australia in the tournament opener but with the exception of taking Bangladesh apart had struggled since. Ever the big-game player, she carved out 75 from just 39, her 30-ball half-century making it the fastest fifty in any ICC World Cup.
It wasn’t a particularly good game in the sense it wasn’t at all close. The final margin was 85 runs, and it was past done as a contest after six overs of India’s innings, what with four batters out and another retired hurt. Australia’s perfect performance, though, was something to behold, and so too the attendance of more than 86,000 at the MCG. It was the highest ever crowd for a women’s cricket match, the best turnout for a women’s sporting event in Australia, and, thanks to the global events that immediately followed it, the biggest crowd we saw for many months.
So, four years worth of memorable sporting moments, with plenty more that could have been mentioned but weren’t. I won’t fit quite as many thank yous in here, but there are a few important ones which I would like to make.
First, to Zac and Zolton Zavos and particularly Paddy Effeney for giving me my start at The Roar. I wouldn’t have made it this far without your support.
To Ryman White, one of the unsung heroes of this site, for all your guidance in my first few years in this chair.
To Stirling Coates, for being the best assistant editor I could have asked for.
To everyone who’s been part of The Roar’s in-office team, particularly those on the editorial staff, for putting up with my ramblings and working your arses off to help make this site as good as possible.
To all the freelance writers and bloggers who’ve contributed their words and time, and to all the subeditors for carrying so much of the copy-editing load. Subs are the wicketkeepers of the editorial world: no one notices them unless they stuff up, and The Roar’s subs go unnoticed indeed.
More than anyone else, to Benjamin Conkey. Conks, I couldn’t possibly fit a sufficient thank you in here for everything over the past four and a half years. Instead, I’ll just say it’s been an absolute privilege to work alongside you.
And it wouldn’t be a proper Roar farewell without acknowledging you, the fans. No site can survive without an audience, but that is particularly true for The Roar, where readers are also contributors. That makes this a strange site, just as much a community as it is a publication, but it’s also what makes it so special.
I always got a kick out of telling people that if you want to find out what Australian sports fans are thinking, then you need to read The Roar. I got even more of a kick out of the stories of people who’d never met face-to-face yet became firm friends because of their interactions here. I’m thrilled to have made more than a few mates myself in just the same way.
So to all The Roar’s readers, commenters and fan contributors, thank you for making this such a special place. It’s your site, and it was my pleasure to take care of it for so long.
Words, design and layout by Daniel Jeffrey
Daniel was The Roar’s Editor from 2017 to mid-2021.
Image credit: All images are copyright Getty Images unless otherwise stated.