10 January 2023

2022 Year in Review: A dozen of our sporting best

| Kim Treasure
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Gold and bronze medals, premierships and fame, sports stars from around the region proved they were among the best in 2022. Take a look at our top 12 sporting stories and relive some of the glory.

12. The Queanbeyan Tigers Football Club seeks to create a dynasty
by Tim Gavel

The Queanbeyan Tigerettes

The Queanbeyan Tigerettes Women’s First Grade Premiership team 2022 running onto the field for the Grand Final. Photo: Queanbeyan Tigers Facebook.

It’s the first time in the history of AFL Canberra that the men’s and women’s first-grade premiers have come from the same club in the same year.

The Queanbeyan Tigers men’s first-grade team had only lost one game through the season but had to withstand a fightback from Belconnen to win the grand final by four points after leading by 26 at one stage.

The final score was Queanbeyan 7-12-54 to Belconnen 7-8-50.

11. New multi-use squash courts in Pambula provide space for many activities
by Albert McKnight

Group of people cutting a ribbon at an opening

Bega Valley Shire Mayor Russell Fitzpatrick, Far South Coast Table Tennis Club president Danny David, Member for Eden Monaro Kristy McBain and Merimbula Squash Club president Matt Fanning officially open the Pambula multi-use squash courts. Photo: BVSC.

Bega Valley Shire Council hopes a wide variety of sports lovers will use a new multi-use sports facility in Pambula.

Able to accommodate everything from squash and table tennis to yoga and martial arts, the specialist squash and multi-use courts were officially opened in June as the latest addition to the Sapphire Aquatic Centre and Gym complex.

“From the outset, we wanted this facility to be flexible and be able to be used by a range of different sports and recreation groups,” Bega Valley Shire Mayor Russell Fitzpatrick said.

10. Looking at the life of The Legend: Queanbeyan cricketer Neil Bulger
by Tim Gavel

A framed tribute to Neil Bulger's cricket career. Photo: Supplied.

A framed tribute to Neil Bulger’s cricket career. Photo: Supplied.

The late Queanbeyan District Cricket Club great Neil Bulger was nicknamed ‘The Legend’.

Peter Solway has no doubt he had the talent to play for Australia had he taken up the opportunity to play for Queensland in the late 1970s.

Instead, Neil focused his attention on leading Queanbeyan to multiple ACT Cricket titles and establishing himself as the region’s premier all-rounder.

A left-handed batter and left-arm medium-pace bowler, Bulger’s record speaks for itself.

9. Thredbo basks in bronze glory after Tess Coady’s medal win
by Edwina Mason

Tess Coady on the Olympic podium

Tess Coady (right) is Australia’s youngest woman to win a Winter Olympic medal. She has been training in Thredbo. Photo: Tess Coady, Instagram.

The Snowy Mountains community was basking in bronze glory after one of their own adopted snowboarders – just months ago training at Thredbo – thrillingly jumped her way to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics podium.

In an excruciating final that saw Tess Coady pitted against an international star-studded field of slopestyle snowboarders including American legend Jamie Anderson, New Zealand gold medalist Zoi Sadowski-Synnott and American silver medalist Julia Marino, the 21-year-old clinched the bronze medal after qualifying in eighth position at the start of finals competition.

8. Junee Rugby League greats Daley and Warren reflect on a proud history on pause
by Glenn Pallister

Man and a statue

Laurie Daley with the statue of Ray Warren in Junee. Photo: Laurie Daley.

The saying goes, “a trophy carries dust; memories last forever”.

The Junee Diesels’ trophy cabinet will see season 2022 as a year of just that – dust collection, with memories the only reminder of what could have been.

Earlier this year, unable to field a full squad of players for first grade, the once-mighty rugby league team had to accept the Group 9 ruling that they would not be a part of this year’s competition.

7. Grounded by COVID, the Galah cricketers look to the skies once more
by John Thistleton

On the pitch at Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire. The Galahs defeated Blenheim Park Cricket Club in 2001. (The palace is Winston Churchill’s birthplace). Allan Boyd is second from the left. Photo: Galah Cricket Club.

When it comes to sport, Galah Cricket Club members are birds of a different feather. They have never had formal meetings, bank accounts or memberships but are keen to take flight again.

Some of the travel-loving, willow-wielding lads are restless, not having toured since 2019 due to COVID-19. Almost 130 countries play cricket of some description, and the Galahs have completed 12 overseas tours, playing in 44 countries.

6. Superbike champ Tom Toparis among four Goulburn Sporting Hall of Fame inductees
by Katrina Condie

Tom Toparis

Goulburn Sporting Hall of Fame inductee Tom Toparis is looking forward to getting back on the track after taking a year off to recover from surgery. Photo: Benro Racing.

Superbike champion Tom Toparis was one of four elite sportspeople inducted into the Goulburn Sporting Hall of Fame in August.

The 2022 class of inductees also included international cricket umpire Claire Polosak, kick boxer Amy Kolosque and target shooter David Wright.

At only 22, Tom says he’s “very humbled” to be included among Goulburn’s most outstanding sportspeople, and he’s particularly impressed to be named alongside motorcyclists Jamie and Ian Cunningham, and Troy Herfoss.

5. The selfless decision that effectively ended Sam Williams’ career at the Canberra Raiders
by Tim Gavel

Sam Williams

At just 31, there might still be some football left in Sam Williams. Photo: Region.

Sam Williams departed from the Canberra Raiders with selflessness and class in a way that provided the best opportunity for the club to develop its youngsters. Tim Gavel took a look at why – and what’s next for the fan favourite.

4. The thrills and occasional spills of Wagga’s most enthusiastic cyclist
by Chris Roe

Josef Winkler on mountain bike

Josef Winkler is a familiar sight on the Riverina’s mountain bike trails. Photo: Josef Winkler.

Josef Winkler has a reputation as Wagga’s most “enthusiastic rider”. The 23-year-old mountain biking devotee says it’s all about having the right attitude.

“If something goes wrong, I just keep doing what I’m doing. Just have a smile,” he says with a grin.

3. Mud, sweat and tears ends 43-year drought for Young’s Yabbies
by Edwina Mason

The victorious Young Yabbies after their historic win at Cootamundra last weekend. Image: Young Yabbies Rugby Union.

It was ironic that mud would mark the end of a 43-year drought for Young’s first grade rugby union team who sloshed their way to a victory over Cootamundra at Cootamundra Country Club’s sodden grounds.

The Young Yabbies prevailed in the wet conditions which saw the Tricolours defeated 12-5 in a closely fought game that had supporters from both sides tightly clutching their brollies until the final seconds.

Not the least of which was Yabbies head coach Justin “Sambo” Sampson who had driven some 2500 kilometres or – if you like – 30 hours – just to get there.

2. From hard early years, Yass coach wins the fight of his life
by Sally Hopman


Boxing trainer Aaron Reid has been selected as head coach for ACT Boxing’s Under 19s team at the National Championships. Photo: Yass Valley Gym Facebook.

For Aaron Reid, boxing is not about punching someone’s lights out. It’s a sport that gives its participants the best chance to be their true selves – and he should know.

1. Goulburn lawn bowler Ellen Ryan claims Australia’s first-ever women’s singles gold
by Katrina Condie

Woman with gold medal

Bowler Ellen Ryan proudly shows off her Commonwealth Games gold medal. Photo: Ellen Ryan.

Goulburn’s Ellen Ryan was on a high after winning Australia’s first-ever gold medal in the women’s lawn bowls singles at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

The win was a dream come true for the 25-year-old who held her nerve and narrowly pipped the competition favourite, Lucy Beere from Guernsey, in front of a capacity crowd.

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