South Lismore captain Paddy Kable embraced by teammates after winning the premier division soccer grand final. Ursula Bentley@CapturedAus
South Lismore captain Paddy Kable embraced by teammates after winning the premier division soccer grand final. Ursula Bentley@CapturedAus

Our best sport moments of 2019

Sports editor Mitchell Craig looks back on his 10 big moments of 2019

1. NRL stars on show

Former NRL stars Todd Carney and Jamie Lyon joined Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League as captain-coaches.

They played against each other twice with Lyon hanging up the boots after winning a premiership with Ballina in September.

Rib and hamstring injuries restricted Carney’s involvement at Byron Bay and he will be hoping to spend more time on the paddock in 2020.

2. Lismore hosts AFL game

A crowd of 4918 turned out to watch Gold Coast Suns take on the Sydney Swans in the regions first JLT preseason AFL game at Oakes Oval, Lismore in March.

The Swans fielded a strong side led by the likes of Josh Kennedy, Jarrad McVeigh, Isaac Heeney and Aliir Aliir.

The heat forced a lot of people to leave after halftime with the Swans going on to a convincing 19.9 (123) to 11.15 (81) win.

3. South Lismore breaks drought

South Lismore broke a 26-year premiership drought with a hard-fought 2-1 win over defending premiers Byron Bay in Far North Coast men’s premier division soccer.

It was a big effort from the Celtics, who returned to premier division only last year after a 15-year hiatus.

Midfielder Noah Coleman scored consecutive goals deep in the second half and was awarded the Terry Greedy Medal as player of the match at Crozier Field, Lismore.

4. Ballina wins another title in NRRRL

A hat-trick completed right on full-time to Ballina captain-coach Jamie Lyon capped a dominant 38-18 win for the Seagulls over Murwillumbah in the NRRRL grand final.

It was the fifth time Ballina had won since 2013 and the third time they have beaten Murwillumbah in an NRRRL decider.

The Seagulls were the best team all season and only lost two games along the way.

5. Wollongbar-Alstonville win six straight rugby grand finals

Wollongbar-Alstonville claimed its sixth straight premiership with a 48-14 win over Casuarina in the Far North Coast rugby union grand final.

Winning six in a row is the most consecutive of any current club in the competition.

They surpassed Lennox Head (2008-12) and Ballina (1997-01), which won five straight.

Coffs Harbour, which now plays on the Mid North Coast, won eight straight from 1973-80.

6. Cricketer wins top award

Cudgen all-rounder Caleb Ziebell was named NSW Country Player of the Year at the Cricket NSW awards in Sydney.

That award was presented by Australian fast bowler Josh Hazlewood who the medal is named after.

Ziebell was also named player of the carnival and selected in the merit side at the Australian Country Cricket Championships at Shepparton in Victoria in January.

He also helped Cudgen to a second straight premiership in Far North Coast LJ Hooker League cricket.

7. Brown wins Australian hockey title on home soil

Coraki product Tom Brown overcame a hamstring injury to play in the winning New South Wales team at the Australian Under-21 hockey championships at Hepburn Park, Goonellabah.

Brown missed the semi-final and quarter-final before taking his place in the final when NSW had a 2-1 win over Victoria to complete the tournament undefeated.

Far North Coast hosted the Australian under-21 men and women’s championships.


8. Wallabies at Rugby sevens

There was plenty of star power at the 30th annual Byron Bay rugby sevens this year with former Wallabies flanker George Smith entering an All Stars team.

He was joined by the likes of dual international Lote Tuqiri, Lachie Turner, Radike Samo and Mark Gerrard.

Former NRL players Todd Carney, Jamie Lyon and Chris Walker were also in the team.

9. First World Cup for Rodda

Far North Coast product Izack Rodda was a shining light in a disappointing Rugby World Cup campaign for the Wallabies in Japan.

The 23-year-old stood tall in most games before the Wallabies 40-16 loss against England in the quarter-finals.

The Ballina and Lismore junior has a big future ahead of him now firmly established in the Australian team and contracted at the Queensland Reds.

10. Bases loaded at Lismore

Some of the best junior baseballers in Australia came to Lismore for a final selection

camp ahead of the Under-18 World Cup in South Korea.

They were also joined by the Canadian team for a combination of training and practice games.

Far North Coast baseball also hosted the Australian Senior League and Little League Baseball Championships for the second straight year at the Albert Park complex.