Redemption of Silver Ferns may swing it

The Silver Ferns celebrate with the trophy after winning the World Cup. Photo: Reuters
The Silver Ferns celebrate with the trophy after winning the World Cup. Photo: Reuters
The best of the past year in New Zealand sport will be recognised at the Halberg Awards tonight.  Jeff Cheshire looks at who may emerge victorious.

Sportswoman of the year

Finalists: Courtney Duncan, Laura Langman, Lisa Carrington, Zoi Sadowski-Synnott.

You would not begrudge Duncan this one, winning the motocross world title after three years of horrible luck. Langman and Carrington were their usual classy selves. But it is hard to go past Sadowski-Synnott, the Wanaka snowboarder claiming a world title to go with X Games gold and a US Open win.

Prediction: Zoi Sadowski-Synnott.

Sportsman of the year

Finalists: Israel Adesanya, Kane Williamson, Scott McLaughlin, Tom Walsh.

Adesanya should win this. The UFC middleweight world champion shot to stardom and has become one of New Zealand’s most globally recognised sporting figures.

Prediction: Israel Adesanya.

Para-athlete/team of the year

Finalists: Cameron Leslie, Emma Foy and Hannah van Kampen, Lisa Adams, Sophie Pascoe.

In the eight years this award has been presented, Pascoe has won five of them. She will have a strong chance again, on the back of four gold medals at the para-swimming world championships. However, Leslie claimed two golds and a world record at the same championships, while also winning bronze with the Wheel Blacks at the Asia Oceania wheelchair rugby championships. That achievement in two sports may give him an edge.

Prediction: Cameron Leslie.

Team of the year

Finalists: Black Ferns Sevens, Black Caps, Silver Ferns, women’s rowing double (Olivia Loe and Brooke Donoghue), women’s rowing eight.

Plenty of high achievers here, but it is hard to go past the Silver Ferns. They left with very few expectations after a torrid 2018 and returned home world champions. The Black Caps may feel aggrieved — they did everything but get their name on the World Cup trophy.

Prediction: Silver Ferns.

Coach of the year

Finalists: Eugene Bareman, Gary Hay, Gordan Walker, Dame Noeline Taurua, Roly Crichton.

It was the ‘Taurua-effect’’ that shaped the Silver Ferns’ turnaround and it is hard to see anyone other than her winning this category.

Prediction: Dame Noeline Taurua.

Emerging talent

Finalists: Alice Robinson, Erika Fairweather, Laurence Pithie, Seb Menzies and Blake McGlashan.

Four talented youngsters and it could come down to the two Otago athletes — Robinson and Fairweather. Robinson won a senior event at the FIS Alpine World Cup in the giant slalom. Fairweather claimed 200m freestyle gold at the junior world swimming championships, and performed well against the world’s best at the senior championships. A truly global sport so she may get the edge.

Prediction: Erika Fairweather.

Supreme Award

Take your pick. There are several deserving winners as always, although the Silver Ferns will surely be hard to surpass.

Prediction: Silver Ferns.

Add a Comment