Chelsea Baker scores against Canada during the 2017 Women's Rugby League World Cup.
Chelsea Baker scores against Canada during the 2017 Women's Rugby League World Cup. Gregg Porteous GLA09231117BAKER

The Year That Was: Gladstone sporting highlights of 2017

AFL

BITS Saints finish as runners-up after a 89-point loss to Yeppoon Swans in AFL Capricornia Grand Final.

It was always going hard task to knock over the undefeated Swans on grand final day and the Saints found that out very early in the contest with the hosts jumping out to a 38-point lead at quarter time.

The Saints can hold their heads high after finishing the regular season in second place with 10 wins from 15 games.

Meanwhile, the Gladstone Mudcrabs failed to make the finals, finishing fifth with three wins for the season.

Outgoing Muddies forward Stephen Eilola finished the year with 61 goals, while BITS' Ben Dempsey kicked 41 majors during 2017.

Muddies finished fourth in the women's competition, but were knocked out of the finals in week one by Brothers women. The BITS girls failed to make the finals after finishing in fifth place.

Stepping up a level, Boyne Island's Megan Hunt made her AFLW debut for the Brisbane Lions as they went through the season undefeated before losing to Adelaide Crows by six points in the grand final.

GROUNDED: Megan Hunt lunges desperately at the ball in slippery conditions.
GROUNDED: Megan Hunt lunges desperately at the ball in slippery conditions. Jonathon Searle GLA221217MEGANHU

The 22-year-old played in all of the Lions' eight matches and finished the season averaging 11.1 disposals, 7.6 kicks, four tackles and three marks per game.

She'll be back in the heart of Brisbane's midfield this season as the side looks to go one better in 2018.

BASKETBALL

IT WAS a mixed season for the Gladstone Port City Power with contrasting QBL seasons for the men and women.

The men showed glimpses of what they're capable of during 2017, especially at home on the floor of Kev Broome Stadium, but could only muster five wins from 17 games to finished 12th out of 14 teams.

Crowd favourite Ray Willis finished the season as the QBL's highest point scorer with 502 points at an average of 29.5 per game. Willis will play for Rockhampton in 2018, leaving the Power after three years of service.

Power's Ray Willis. Gladstone QBL between Port City Power and Sunshine Coast Phoenix.
Power's Ray Willis. Gladstone QBL between Port City Power and Sunshine Coast Phoenix. Paul Braven GLA140517BBALL

The Power will also say goodbye to key playmakers Remy Lawyer and Will Shackleford.

Brady Walmsley will take charge of the side, with the late Blair Smith stepping down from the role last season.

It was a different story - one of success for the Port City Power women - who enjoyed a deep run in the QBL finals after finishing the season fifth.

The Power women won 12 out of their 17 regular season games, before knocking off the Townsville Flames in the quarter finals.

However, a semi-final road trip against the Brisbane Spartans would prove the Power's undoing as they crashed out of contention with a 22-point loss to the eventual champions.

CRICKET

THE much-anticipated A-grade Gladstone Cricket Incorporated Grand Final between Boyne Island Tannum Sands and The Glen was washed out.

It meant BITS were awarded the premiership because they finished the regular season as minor premiers.

More than 300mm of rain fell in the Boyne Island area in the week leading up to the decider, making it impossible for the ground to be prepared.

BITS Cricket Club celebrate at the Gladstone Cricket awards.
BITS Cricket Club celebrate at the Gladstone Cricket awards. Paul Braven GLA270317CRICKET

RUGBY LEAGUE

2017 was a big year off the field for Gladstone Rugby League after October's confirmation that an official NRL match would be played at Gladstone in the 2018 season.

The Gold Coast Titans will call Marley Brown Oval home when they clash with the Manly Sea Eagles in Round Five on Sunday, April 8 at 2pm.

It wasn't the most successful season on the field for local teams in the Rockhampton Rugby League extended competition with none of the three Gladstone-based A-grade sides making the top-five.

Wallabys made the preliminary final in the reserves competition, while Brothers' under-20s made it into the second week of the finals.

Emu Park won the women's competition after defeating a gallant Tannum Seagals 30-6.

The 2017 Intrust Super Cup season was a long one for the CQ Capras who could only muster four wins for the year, leading them to claim the unenviable wooden spoon.

Bill Cullen playing for the Capras against Northern Pride at Marley Brown Oval during the 2017 season.
Bill Cullen playing for the Capras against Northern Pride at Marley Brown Oval during the 2017 season. Mike Richards

The Capras lost Calliope's Bill Cullen midway through the season after the talented backrower was signed on a short-term deal by NRL side Canberra Raiders.

However, perhaps the biggest on-field moment came during the 2017 Women's Rugby League World Cup when Gladstone's Chelsea Baker had her chance to shine on an international stage.

Baker played in three of the Jillaroos' five matches during the tournament, including Australia's victorious 23-16 World Cup Final win against New Zealand.

The 31-year-old mother of two scored three tries and kicked two goals and was praised for her professionalism by coach Brad Donald.

DOMINANT: Chelsea Baker of Australia scores during the Women's Rugby League World Cup match between Australia and Canada.
DOMINANT: Chelsea Baker of Australia scores during the Women's Rugby League World Cup match between Australia and Canada. CRAIG GOLDING/AAP

RUGBY UNION

THE Gladstone Goats' 2017 season was a classic tale of two halves. The side appeared in dire straits after losing four games, forfeiting two and having two byes during the opening eight rounds.

However, their fortunes spun around at the midway point of the season with the side winning four of its next five games, before a close 15-10 loss to eventual premiers Dawson Valley Drovers during the final round.

Gladstone Goats prop Dylan Johnson and Frenchville's Att Kleidon.
Gladstone Goats prop Dylan Johnson and Frenchville's Att Kleidon. Mike Richards GLA010717SFNT

The fourth-placed Goats took on Frenchville in a pulsating minor semi-final, prevailing 44-37 after being locked at 27-all after 80 minutes.

The Goats' season ended in the preliminary final against Rockhampton Brothers.

SOCCER

IT WAS a case of what might have been in the CQ Premier League as Clinton FC fell at the penultimate hurdle of the season.

After losing out on the minor premiership to Cap Coast on goal difference, Clinton were left stunned by Frenchville in the preliminary final, letting a two-goal lead slip and subsequently missing out on contesting the Wesley Hall Cup for the first time since 2008.

Soccer: Clinton's Mitch Innocend.
Soccer: Clinton's Mitch Innocend. Allan Reinikka ROK020917asoccer2

Mitch Innocend scored 16 goals with Matt Varnes (13) and Dominic Barra (11) also finding the back of the net without difficulty.

Central capped off an undefeated season in the Gladstone Division 1 competition after seeing off BITS Sharks 2-1, while a Tegan Van Vegchel penalty proved the difference as Meteor Rites defeated BITS 1-0 in the Women's Division 1 decider.

TIA-CLAIR TOOMEY

CHAMPION: Tia-Clair Toomey won a thrilling CrossFit Games in the US to be the world's best.
CHAMPION: Tia-Clair Toomey won a thrilling CrossFit Games in the US to be the world's best. Contributed GLA070817TIA

Gladstone athlete Tia-Clair Toomey was been crowned the fittest woman on earth after winning the world CrossFit Games at Madison, Wisconsin in August.

The 24-year-old from finished runner up at the international competition the last two years in a row, but refused to watch the title slip away as she edged out fellow Australian Kara Webb by just two points after the final event.

Toomey demonstrated her physical prowess in various disciplines, winning two of the 13 events.



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