The year that was

AS 2009 ends, it is the time to reflect on the sporting year that was in Gladstone.

We pick our top 10 moments.

1 – Power women win states

The Yaralla Port City Power women had a massive year to become champions of the Queensland Basketball League. Some excellent recruiting and a lot of belief enabled the Power to defeat South West Metro Pirates 102-98 in the final in Townsville. They defeated 2008 champions Townsville in double-overtime in the semi-final. It was a remarkable turnaround for the team, who won just a handful of matches in their two previous seasons. Women’s national league players Jessica Bibby, Natalie Hurst and Katie Rose and college player Diana Neves were the stars of the show. The four will be returning in 2010.

2 – Clinton win Cap League

After years of trying, and a painful grand final loss in 2008, Clinton became the first Gladstone team to win the Capricornia Football League. After a first-round loss to rivals Southside United, Clinton dominated the league to easily claim the minor premiership. After winning a nail biting penalties contest against Bluebirds in the semi-final, Clinton destroyed the Rockhampton team 7-1 in the final.

3 – Marley Brown is back

Gladstone’s rugby league field was off limits for two years, but on August 2 the sport was back at home. About 3000 people attended the opening matches at the field, including the all-Gladstone extended league final. The Gladstone Port Authority, state government and Gladstone Coal Exporters contributed to make sure the ground was returned to the city. The Central Comets will play a Queensland Cup match at the ground this year.

4 – CQ NRL Bid

The central Queensland region got behind a push for a Rockhampton-based team to enter the NRL in 2013. After launching in late April, the bid has drawn a lot of support from the local community between Mackay and Bundaberg and west to Longreach. A Gladstone launch was held on August 27 and a number of Gladstone identities are involved in the process.

5 – Nicolson heads to worlds

Tannum Sands boxer Liam Nicolson continued Gladstone’s proud boxing tradition when he was selected to represent Australia at the World Junior Boxing Championships in Yereven, Armenia. He was beaten in the first round, but the experience he gained was immense. He capped off the year with another Australian title.

6 – Williams’ national gold

Gladstone Gladiators swimmer Alex Williams created his own piece of Gladstone history, becoming the first swimmer from the region to win an individual medal at nationals in more than a decade. Williams won the 13 years 200m individual medley at the Australian age championships in Sydney in April. The gold was one of seven medals he won at the championships. In December, he won another swag of medals at the Queensland long course swimming championships.

7 - Harlee’s on target

Gladstone darts player Harlee Chauntler also created a little bit of history. When he won the U18 national championship in January last year, Harlee earned the right to attend the world championships in the United States. His father had won the same title in the past and represented Australia in Britain. While in the States he won a third place in mixed doubles. He also attended the Arafura Games in Darwin.

8 - Sports Star Search

The Yaralla Sports Star of the Year initiative recognised some of the best athletes in the Gladstone region. Coming from a wide range of sports, the Sports Star of the Week award gave the winner and their club a $500 weekly prize. Cricketer Luke Woof won the senior sports star of the year, netball coach Tracey Davis the club person of the year and paddler Talisha Buttsworth the junior sports star of the year.

9 - Brothers end drought

Gladstone Brothers A-grade rugby league team ended their drought in the CQ Challenge Cup with a victory over Wallabys/Valleys at Marley Brown Oval. The Fish have been regulars in extended league finals for the past eight years, but have been unable to pick up the prize. They won 18-16. They missed out on the double, going down in the local final to Wallabys/Valleys.

10 – Freediving champ

The sport of freediving is relatively new to Gladstone, but the city already has a national champion. Rookie John Pengelly claimed the national dynamic freediving championship at the TransTasman invitational in Sydney. After training for little more than five weeks with coach Fran Rose, Pengelly swam 172m without taking a breath to be ranked number one.

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