Nikki, Sea Eagles and Parrots were the stars of 2017

Wonthaggi Club claimed another LDCA A Grade premiership, crushing Inverloch by 159 runs. In a changing of the old guard with names such as Hooper, Bolding and Britt all moving on, it was a new crop of Club players that stunned the Stingrays and bowled them out for just 38.

The rivalry between Dalyston and Korumburra-Bena in A Grade netball is well documented, with both sides trading blows in the majority of recent grand finals. This year was no different when the sides squared off against each other in the inaugural WGFNL A Grade grand final. Dalyston came to play, easily accounting for the Giants 34-26 in front of a screaming Magpie crowd. Captain Jarney Thomas was awarded best on the court. N183817

After 31 holes of a 36 hole final, Danny Crellin claimed an emotional Wonthaggi Golf Club championship in a high-standard match against Ian Baker. Crellin dedicated his win to his late father John Crellin who passed away earlier in the year. m324817

Phillip Island surfer Nikki van Dijk achieved what she called “a lifelong dream” winning her maiden World Surf League event in Portugal, taking out former world champion Carissa Moore in the final. The win saw Nikki jump to fifth in the overall rankings, ahead of six-time world champion Stephanie Gilmore.

In the inaugural West Gippsland Football Netball League grand final it was Inverloch-Kongwak’s super team that were far too good for Cora Lynn. Many predicted this game to be one for the ages with Cora Lynn winning the last three premierships in the old Ellinbank and District League, but the Sea Eagles crushed the Cobras by 95 points. Considered by many to be the rock stars of the league, Cora Lynn made sure there was plenty of feeling early on which sparked a quarter time melee keeping fans on their toes. But a magical performance from Toby Mahoney snagging seven goals sent the Cobras crashing back down to earth. Z153817

Fish Creek secured back to back titles in the Alberton league, defeating Toora by 43 points. Easily the best team all year, the Kangaroos continued their dominance into the grand final to secure their 19th Alberton league crown. Despite a late fight back from Toora, the Creekers stood tall thanks to performances from young guns Bailey Harfield-Park and Gareth Park. m233717

In a Cinderella story Mirboo North clinched the Mid Gippsland league premiership defeating Yinnar by two points. Just scraping into the finals, the Tigers had to work hard to even make it to the big dance. In a thrilling game of football that went right up to the final siren, Mirboo North clinched their fifth senior premiership since 2006.

The Bass Coast Breakers Women’s team was one of the best stories to come out of 2017, being the first open aged women’s football team in the area. Coached by Steve Kenny, the girls went on an amazing undefeated run winning every game in the home and away season. Unfortunately the Breakers just fell short in the grand final, however being only in their first year of competition the girls have a big future ahead of them.

Round 19 of the Alberton league saw superstar forward Kael Bergles slot five goals against Foster to bring up another 100 goal season. Earlier in the year Bergles reached another milestone, booting six goals against Fish Creek to bring up his 900th country football goal. A well-known performer in the local leagues, it will be interesting to see where the goal kicking master ends up in season 2018.

SOUTH Gippsland witnessed another great year in sport with amazing local performances as well those on an international stage.
Phillip Island surfer Nikki Van Dijk claimed her maiden World Surf League title in Portugal, defeating three time world champion Carissa Moore in the final.
Van Dijk tore through a solid field on the way to victory, eliminating US surfer Lakey Peterson before taking down fellow Aussie Sally Fitzgibbons in their close semi-final match-up.
Another local surfer got it done on the international stage, when local Fish Creek surfer and president of the South Gippsland Boardriders Association Paul O’Neill took out the over 50 Kneeboard World title.
Held in Somo, Spain situated on the famous Bay of Biscay, O’Neill was the ultimate ‘dark horse’ as he carved his way through the heats.
In addition to his title, Paul also finished third in the Open Men’s category in a tremendous effort.
Back on home soil, it was 71 year old Spartan Vicki Thompson who completed her 20th Melbourne Marathon, receiving the much sought after red 20 year singlet.
Vicki is showing no sign of slowing down, with her eyes firmly set on next year’s race.
Third time was the charm for the Leongatha Parrots as they finally realised their premiership dream, defeating Maffra in a one point thriller to claim the Gippsland League title.
It was the perfect finish to what would become the end of coach Beau Vernon’s stint at the club, deciding to move on to coach Phillip Island for season 2018.
A six goal performance from star forward Chris Dunne led the charge for the Parrots but it was far from a one man show with every man on the ground playing their role in securing the much celebrated premiership.
The year brought a change of landscape for the local leagues with the creation of the new West Gippsland league.
Inverloch-Kongwak thumped Cora Lynn by 95 points to take out the senior flag, while Dalyston defeated old foe Korumburra-Bena to win the A Grade netball title.
Fish Creek continued their dominance of the Alberton league, and defeated Toora by 43 points to take out the senior flag while MDU defeated Foster to claim the A Grade netball premiership.
Mirboo North came from the clouds in the Mid Gippsland league to secure their fifth flag since 2006, defeating Yinnar by two points.
Just scrapping into the finals, the Tigers had a tough run facing last year’s premier Newborough in the first final and minor premier Yallourn-Yallourn North in the preliminary final.
But much like the Richmond Tigers, everything just fell into place for Mirboo North who went on to win the flag in an absolute thriller.
A Yinnar player grabbing a loose ball and snapping it through the big sticks just after the final siren had sounded which meant it did not count and led to a dramatic finish to an amazing finals run for the Tigers.