Sport: All hail the newly-crowned king

If the golden age of television - The Sopranos, Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones - has taught us anything, it is that all that matters is power. Who has power in New Zealand sport? Hayden Meikle presents the sixth annual Otago Daily Times sport power rankings.

This is not a scientific process - but it is always rather interesting.

Take a snapshot of the New Zealand sporting landscape and offer a ranking of the 25 most powerful people on the field or court or pitch or track.

The list is based on status, achievement, profile and something you might like to refer to as ''it''.

This is my list. I always ask my colleagues for their thoughts - my netball writer insisted Bailey Mes make the cut, but I just couldn't find room for her - but this is my list. Email me below if you agree or disagree.

The figures in parentheses represent where the athletes appeared in last year's power rankings.


The top 10

1. Brendon McCullum (2)
A new king arises

A stunner straight away! Yes, the god McCaw drops out of top spot for the first time since these power rankings started. This is not so much an indication McCaw is slumping as it is recognition of McCullum's remarkable rise in recent years. He's turned into a phenomenon, on and off the pitch, and is one of world cricket's heavy hitters, no pun intended.

2. Richie McCaw (1)
Legacy is secure

First, first, first, first, first, second - and presumably off this list completely next year if he retires after the World Cup. McCaw is our greatest All Black. He will set a record for caps that may never be surpassed. He won the World Cup. Two would be nice, but there is not much more for the great man to do other than play for Kurow and the Old Golds for a season.

3. Lydia Ko (4)
Just needs a major

Otago's biggest Ko fan will no doubt send his annual email arguing Lydia should be No 1. She's utterly brilliant, but her best years are ahead, hopefully.

4. Kane Williamson (10)
The future is here

He is, in some ways, the anti-McCullum in terms of approach and attitude. But they might be more alike than you think. Williamson is ready and waiting for the Black Caps captaincy and the title of our greatest batsman.

5. Steven Adams (3)
Centre of attention

How quickly we have come to take it for granted that a New Zealand basketballer is playing regularly in the NBA. That's a shame, really, because it's still very cool. It will be fascinating to see if Adams can progress from decent player to star in the next two or three years.

6. Shaun Johnson (12)
Move aside, Stacey

Part of a golden Kiwis generation helping expunge the awful memories of Anzac test shellackings over the past two decades. Super player, whose greatness will be assured if he can lead the Warriors to an NRL title in the next year or five.

7. Joseph Parker (8)
A baby no mo'

He still has a long, long way to go. But every New Zealand boxing fan is hoping he is the one.

8. Kieran Read (6)
Eight is enough

Does everything without fuss or bother. Is already the most important forward in the All Blacks (apologies to No 10 on this list), and will next year become our captain. If Read plays well, the All Blacks might just be able to retain the World Cup.

9. Valerie Adams (5)
Plenty of life left

It's not an Olympic or Commonwealth Games year, so Queen Val slips out of the public eye just a little. She also recently got beaten for the first time in five years, though there were mitigating factors. She's still great.

10. Brodie Retallick (19)
Lock holds key

Looks like a sort of over-sized Harry Potter off the field, but is a magnificent specimen on it. Could be our best lock since Pinetree.


The rest

11. Trent Boult (new)

No 3 in test bowling world rankings. That's impressive.

12. Hayden Paddon (new)

Extremely exciting times for fans of the rising rally ace.

13. Aaron Smith (new)

Highlanders fans worship their beloved Nugget - and the whole country might be calling for a knighthood in October.

14. Maria Tutaia (new)

If she is spectacular, the Silver Ferns MIGHT come within a bull's roar of Australia at the Netball World Cup.

15. Winston Reid (7)

Barely seen in primetime but he's still plugging away for an English Premier League team every week.

16. Hamish Bond and Eric Murray (13)

If only there was some way to combine ''awesome'' with a rowing term.

17. Danny Lee (new)

Went from No 432 on this list into the top 20 after a stunning couple of weeks on the PGA Tour.

18. Eddie Dawkins (new)

Like the rest of the national cycling team, the Southland rider is doing some special things on two wheels.

19. Casey Kopua (11)

The Silver Ferns captain is back in action at just the right time.

20. Simon Mannering (new)

Mr League might just be the most reliable person in New Zealand sport.

21. Ben Smith (23)

The Otago Daily Times has run out of words for our favourite Otago sportsman. Please send suggestions to the email address below.

22. Scott Dixon (21)

Second in the Indy Car standings and still driving fast.

23. Dexter Dunn (24)

Double D is now a world champion reinsman.

24. Lauren Boyle (9)

Never seems that happy, but perhaps that is to do with Swimming New Zealand being a mess.

25. Gemma Flynn (new)

She has 205 caps at just 24 and is the star of a very promising Black Sticks squad.


Dropping out

Ross Taylor (14)

Conrad Smith (15)

Dan Carter (16)

Lisa Carrington (17)

Sonny Bill Williams (18)

The Wells boys (20)

Marina Erakovic (22)

• Levi Sherwood (25)

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