2013 Sports Performers of the Year

Jono Dean

JONO Dean’s rise from talented Canberra grade cricketer to PM’s XI debutant and beyond has been well documented after his break out year in 2013.

Dean belted a quick-fire half-century for the Prime Minister’s XI against the West Indies in January before backing up with an unbeaten triple century for Queanbeyan against Ginninderra the following weekend.

The 29-year-old then signed a Big Bash League contract with the Adelaide Strikers before becoming one of only two batsmen in ACT Grade Cricket history to hit both a double and a triple century after smashing 234 not out against Weston Creek in November.

Dean’s younger brother Blake also deserves a special mention after making his Big Bash debut for the Sydney Thunder in December.

Angie Ballard

BUNGENDORE born Angie Ballard couldn’t quite manage to turn silver into gold but she nevertheless proved this year she remains among wheelchair racing’s elite on the world stage.

The 31-year-old was named Athletics Australia’s Femala Para-Athlete of the Year in 2013 after claiming three silvers and a bronze at July’s IPC Athletics World Championships in France.

The haul took Ballard’s World Championships and Paralympics medal tally to 12. And the results have her primed for a remarkable fifth Olympics campaign with Ballard have already turned her sights on Rio De Janeiro in 2016.

Queanbeyan Kangaroos

THE Queanbeyan Kangaroos made it three Canberra Raiders Cup premierships in four years in 2013. But even more impressive than the statistics alone was just how the side went about achieving the feat.

After being belted by the Queanbeyan Blues 30-12 in the major semi-final two weeks prior, the Kangaroos were all-but written off heading into September’s grand final rematch against their cross-town rivals.

But showing the grit and determination that has characterised the club under the tenure of coach Aaron Gorrell, the Roos rebounded in the most dramatic fashion possible; claiming the title 17-16 via a Jordan Macey field goal in extra-time.

Nic White

2013 saw 23-year-old Queanbeyan Whites scrumhalf become the youngest captain in ACT Brumbies history, make his run-on debut for the Wallabies and play in a Super Rugby grand final.

March also saw White extend his contract with the Brumbies until at least the end of 2014.

While the Brumbies 27-22 grand final loss to the Waikato Chiefs in August didn’t go to script, it was the one downside in an otherwise standout year for the livewire number 9.

Mark Webber

A DRIVER’S Championship proved elusive at the last but Queanbeyan’s Mark Webber exited Formula One this year as one of the sport’s great competitors.

As the oldest man on the grid, Webber drove his RB9 to third place on the driver’s standings in 2013 behind only four-time World Championship winning teammate Sebastian Vettel and long-time rival Fernando Alonso.

Webber’s final career statistics included 215 starts (ninth most in history) for nine Grand Prix victories in his 11-year career at the top of world motorsport.

In his final season, the 37-year-old secured eight podium finishes from 19 starts.

Brad Haddin

WHILE the scoreline of Australia’s most recent Ashes series reads as a comprehensive 5-0 whitewash of the old enemy, who can say what the result might have been if not for 36-year-old Brad Haddin.

Time and time again, the former Queanbeyan Bluebags batsman strode to the crease with Australia in trouble.

And time and time again Haddin turned the match back in the home side’s favour with his repeated displays of controlled hitting.

Haddin’s 493 runs at 62 (some of which were admittedly scored in 2014), saw him finish as the series’ second highest run scorer. Not bad for a bloke many believed destined for retirement 12 months ago.

Monaro Panthers WPL side

THE Monaro Panthers Women’s Premier League side was the feel good local sports story of 2013.

In the club’s first year competing in the ACT’s top flight women’s competition, the Panthers exceeded all expectations.

Under the guidance of rookie coach Angelo Maralit, the Panthers took out the pre-season Federation Cup before blazing their way into a shock WPL grand final berth.

While eventually falling 2-0 in extra-time to a heavyweight Belconnen United outfit in the decider, Monaro’s inaugural campaign could be considered nothing other than a stunning success. 

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